Urban and peri-urban forests, which can be understood in the context of this event to include all forests, trees, and associated vegetation in and around urban areas, are key nature-based solutions with an essential range of ecosystem services. They contribute to more resilient, healthy and vibrant urban communities.
A recent study of 1000 European cities indicates that greening them could save 43,000 human lives annually. The current COVID19 pandemic highlighted the importance of urban and peri-urban forests as outdoor recreation environments. They play an important role in protecting biodiversity and are increasingly recognized as critical urban infrastructure, for example, for urban climate action, or for preparing cities for extreme heat events. Likewise, the economic impact of the urban forestry industry can be substantial. A recent report shows that the urban forestry sector in the United States alone has an annual sales and employment footprint of 64 billion USD.
Today, international and national policymakers and planners are also turning their attention to expanding the role of urban and peri-urban forests to create positive impact and advance sustainable development. In this context, management, governance, and funding need strengthening. Given their wide-reaching impact within countries’ national strategies and international commitments, urban ecosystems are no longer only the responsibility of local authorities. They often need support from national or regional authorities as well as international organizations and other partners.
UNECE is engaging cities to strengthen sustainable urban forestry targets in support of SDG-15 through localized action via its Trees in Cities Challenge and the recently established Informal Network of Experts on Sustainable Urban Forestry. The network provides a platform for policy dialogue, collaboration, and cross-regional peer exchange and learning between city representatives, policymakers, and experts. UNECE’s Policy Brief on “Urban and Peri-urban Forest Ecosystems for Resilient, Healthy and Green Recovery” will provide a basis for discussion and stakeholder input during the side event.
The event will:
- Highlight the importance of urban and peri-urban forest ecosystems for sustainable recovery and development.
- Emphasize the opportunities and challenges associated with the governance, development, and management of urban and peri-urban forest ecosystems.
- Call attention to localizing actions in support of SDG-15 by linking actions and interventions at national, regional and international levels for urban and peri-urban forestry agendas.
To join the event, please register at: https://forms.office.com/r/knrr7dhHVC