The United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the Arbor Day Foundation have named Mumbai the “2021 Tree City of the World.” The city is second in the country to receive the title after Hyderabad which was awarded with the honor for the second consecutive year. The award was given to the two Indian cities for their “commitment to developing and maintaining urban trees and greenery in order to build healthy, resilient, and happy cities.”
Arvind Kumar, Hyderabad’s Special Chief Secretary for Urban Development, tweeted that it was a “matter of immense pride.”
What are the Tree Cities of the World?
The ‘Tree Cities of the World’ initiative was launched by the United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization and the Arbor Day Foundation, a non-profit organisation based in the United States.
It is a global initiative “to recognise cities and municipalities that are committed to ensuring that their urban forests and trees are properly preserved, sustainably managed, and rightly acknowledged.”
The initiative gives guidance, support, and international acknowledgment for a community’s commitment to its urban forest. The programme establishes the foundation for a healthy, long-term urban forestry programme in a town or city. In the coming years and as the network grows larger, Tree Cities will be able to share ideas and promote best practices in urban forestry with more and more global citizens.
What is the Criteria for Being Awarded the title of Tree City?
If a community satisfies five fundamental conditions to demonstrate its dedication to caring for its trees and forests, it is designated as a “Tree City.”
1. A written statement assigning responsibility for the care of trees within the municipal boundaries to a staff member, a city agency, or a group of citizens – known as a Tree Board – is required to be recognised as a Tree City.
2. The city should have a statute or an official policy in place to oversee forest and tree maintenance.
3. The third core criteria is to have an updated inventory or assessment of the local tree resource in order to develop an effective long-term plan for city tree planting, care, and removal.
4. The city should set aside a portion of its annual budget to implement the tree management strategy.
5. To be recognised as a Tree City, it should hold an annual tree celebration to enhance public awareness and thank locals who participated in the tree program.
What qualifies Hyderabad and Mumbai as Tree Cities?
Under the initiative, a total of 138 cities have been recognised for the year 2021. In 500 volunteer hours, Hyderabad planted around 3.5 crore trees, whereas Mumbai planted 42,5000 trees in 25,000 volunteer hours.
In 486,015 volunteer hours, the 138 cities planted 38,787,795 trees. The United States, the United Kingdom, and Canada have the most tree cities, with 37, 19, and 18 cities, respectively.