EFUF 2016 Report: First Asia-Pacific Urban Forestry Meeting

In April 2016 the First Asia-Pacific Urban Forestry Meeting took place! Missed it? No reason to worry – find out all about it in this new blog by Dr. Andrej Verlič, head of the EFUF 2016 organizing committee.

The First Asia-Pacific Urban Forestry Meeting took place between April 6 and 8, 2016 in Zhuhai, China. It was hosted by FAO, the Urban Forestry Research Centre of the State Forestry Administration of the People’s Republic of China, and the City of Zhuhai. It was a major event, attended by about 200 delegates from 17 Asian countries, Europe and North America, who represented around 60 government institutions, NGOs, universities, international organizations and professional associations.

The meeting explored the role of urban forestry in helping to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals. Representatives from various region countries shared their experiences, case studies and information on the status of urban forestry in their homelands.

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Delegates of the First Asia-Pacific Urban Forestry Meeting 2016 (FAO Photo Archive)

Divided into five working groups, delegates on the last day examined the role of urban forestry in health and wellbeing, cultural heritage, green economy, urban planning and provision of ecosystems services. The meeting ended with a round table, where the main challenges for development and inclusion of urban forestry in the region were discussed: knowledge sharing, capacity building, education & research, awareness raising, advocacy and funding sources.

On the last day of the meeting, the Zhuhai declaration was unanimously adopted. The declaration is submitting eight recommendations for consideration and awareness raising, by which delegates are conveying their willingness to work together with policy- and decision makers, practitioners and other stakeholders.

The declaration is sending a message to national and local governments, international organizations, funding agencies, universities and research institutions, NGOs, civil society, urban forestry specialists and practitioners, urban planners, private sector and local communities, expressing delegates’ concerns, calling for action, proposing solutions and reaffirming delegates’ belief that forests and trees in and around cities are the key element to make cities in the Asia-Pacific region greener, healthier, happier and more resilient to climate change. Hopefully, the message of the First Asia-Pacific Urban Forestry Meeting will get across.

Author: Dr. Andrej Verlič, Slovenian Forestry Institute

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