Working Group on Urban and peri-urban forestry

“Mediterraneans feel closer to their cities than to their states or nations; indeed, cities are their states and nations and more”

(Predrag Matvejevic, 1999. “Mediterranean. A cultural landscape”, University of California press, ltd., London, England)

Why a Working Group on UPF for the Mediterranean region?

In a world where urban areas are rapidly expanding, sound management of resources in and around cities is of primary importance to assure the economic, social and environmental sustainability of urban development. This is also the case for the Mediterranean region, one of the most altered and urbanized areas of the planet, where 507 million people live (2010) and where urban population is expected to reach 626 million by 2050.

Growing evidence of the unsustainable manner in which cities have developed is now drawing attention to the need to focus efforts on a resilient urban model. The Urban and Peri-urban Forestry (UPF) approach can contribute to reach this goal by promoting the economic, social and environmental benefits provided by trees and green spaces in and around urban areas. When well-managed and integrated in the urban and peri-urban areas, trees and green spaces can contribute to solve a range of local challenges, including:

  • local climate-change mitigation and adaptation;
  • quality food and water supply;
  • communities’ health and well-being;
  • jobs and income generation;
  • environmental conservation;
  • disaster risk management; and
  • making cities a better and healthier place to live.

In spite of this, most cities in the Mediterranean region lack forests and trees, and UPF is not yet recognized as an established scientific discipline nor as a strategic factor for the sustainable development of urban and peri-urban areas. As a result, urban forestry-related issues rank low on the local agenda of Mediterranean cities, both in developed and developing countries. Therefore, there is a need for exchange of expertise, experiences and information on UPF in order to help build a common Mediterranean strategy to promote a “green vision” and raise UPF on the political agendas in the region.

The purpose and mandate of this group is to establish and consolidate a UPF networking strategy for the Mediterranean countries by acting as a neutral forum where nations can meet and negotiate agreements, as well as debate policy on UPF.

 

last updated:  Wednesday, July 2, 2014