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Mayors, unite for the Trees in Cities Challenge

Citizens can participate too by urging local governments to plant more trees

  • January 08, 2020 19:30
  • Author Aseniya Dimitrova
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The United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) has launched an initiative to stimulate mayors and local governments to plant more trees, and thereby increase the resilience and liveability of cities. Launched at the Climate Action Summit in September 2019 by the Executive Secretary of UNECE Olga Algayerova, this global campaign promotes climate action in cities and helps to share effective nature-based solutions to climate change mitigation and adaptation strategies.

Why plant more trees in cities?

The Challenge was launched with the understanding that cities are at the forefront of the battle against climate change,  acknowledging that nature-based solutions are the most cost-effective and accessible way to manage climate change-related challenges arising for cities. Now, the international community, represented by UNECE/FAO wants to support policymakers and mayors in implementing these solutions and share best practices, while giving them the platform to promote their achievements globally and to compete against each other.

How to join the Trees in Cities Challenge?

There are 5 easy steps to follow if you are a city representative:

  1. Express your interest by contacting the UNECE secretariat at treesincities.unece.org and you will get all the relevant information;
  2. Decide on the number of trees you want to plant;
  3. Decide on how this will be done by setting up a tree-planting approach, in line with the existing urban forest and greening strategy of your city and taking into consideration other local conditions and implications;
  4. Keep the world informed about your progress by sending data to the Secretariat or using the “tree-meter” on the UNECE website. The tree-planting process should continue throughout the year 2020;
  5. Spread the word and invite other mayors so as to maximize the effect of the initiative.

Planting trees and sustainable development goals

The Trees in Cities Challenge aims to contribute to at least four of the goals of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development (SDG goals), namely SDG3: Good Health and Well-Being; SDG 11: Sustainable Cities and Communities; SDG13: Climate Action; and SDG15: Life on Land. Its expected impact for cities include climate change mitigation and greater urban resilience, cleaner air, healthier, less stressful cities, improved public spaces, stronger communities and increased property values.

As we wrote earlier, several EU cities have already launched ambitious trees-planting projects, including Debrecen (Hungary), Zadar (Croatia), Algarve region (Portugal) , to name but a few.

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