Three European cities join the Trees in Cities Challenge

Three European cities are among the first to join the Trees in Cities Challenge, a bold new campaign launched at the UN Climate Action Summit calling on mayors to make tree-planting pledges and to put these into action.

The mayors of Bonn (Germany), Helsingborg (Sweden) and Malaga (Spain) were among the first onboard to announce their intention to join the initiative as part of their cities’ climate action agenda.

“The City of Bonn will plant around 25,000 trees in the city forest by the end of 2020,” said Mr. Ashok Sridharan, Mayor of Bonn, Germany.

Urban areas are responsible for an estimated 75% of C02 emissions worldwide, making city-level action critical for global efforts to address the climate emergency. Mayors and other key urban leaders can play a pivotal role in localizing climate action, with immediate impact on the ground and the ability to mobilize citizens and different stakeholders.

Logo of Tress in the Cities ChallengeThe Trees in Cities Challenge is a global campaign initiated by the UN Economic Council for Europe (UNECE) to promote climate action in cities.

“We need concrete, realistic plans for climate action at all levels – the message is clear. Critically, this includes action in urban areas, which are at the forefront of the battle against climate change”, stressed UNECE Executive Secretary Ms. Olga Algayerova.

Helsingborg has been elected for three years in a row as one of Sweden´s most environmentally friendly cities.

“To truly create change, strategies and plans are not enough. We all have to take action towards the Sustainable Development Goals, and I am convinced that the world’s cities and their mayors must lead the way,” says  Peter Danielsson, Mayor of Helsingborg who has pledged that  8,000 more trees will be planted by the end of 2020.

By taking the Challenge, cities can unlock multiple sustainability benefits – for the climate, environment and society:

  • a single tree can store up to 150 kg of C02 per year
  • trees help clean the air of harmful pollutants
  • trees can limit the effects of urban heat islands, reducing air conditioning needs
  • trees help control land erosion, reduce landslides and control surface water, and help mitigate flood damage
  • planting trees can boost biodiversity in cities
  • green spaces in urban areas can contribute to stronger communities and improved wellbeing
  • trees can increase surrounding property values by an estimated 2-10%.


Additional links:

Find out more:

UNRIC Backgrounder on Forests

Latest news