Urban forests can make cities healthier, safer and wealthier, but their potential is not fully realized, according to the ‘Guidelines on Urban and Peri-Urban Forestry’ launched by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN (FAO) on the sidelines of the UN Conference on Housing and Sustainable Urban Development (Habitat III), held from 17-20 October 2016, in Quito, Ecuador.
The publication explains how cities can maximize the contribution of urban forests to addressing local and global sustainable development challenges, including climate change mitigation and adaptation, food and nutrition security, and human health and well-being, in the face of increasing urbanization. It outlines ways in which urban forests can contribute to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), from making cities more sustainable, to reducing poverty and hunger, enhancing natural habitat and fostering sustainable economic growth. Other key issues addressed include: biodiversity and landscapes; green economy; risk management; mitigating land and soil degradation; water and watersheds; wood security; and sociocultural values.
The publication also presents an overview of how to develop an enabling environment for urban forestry through appropriate governance, policies and legal frameworks, and sets out measures required for successful urban forestry programmes and how to implement them. These include measures on communication and awareness-raising, community engagement, building alliances and partnerships, and identifying research needs.