Mayor of Greater Manchester Andy Burnham has signed up the city region to Cities4Forests alongside 44 other cities across six continents.
They are the first city region in the UK to sign up to the Cities4Forests initiative which according to their website was set up to ‘catalyze political, social, and economic support among city governments and urban residents to integrate the inner, nearby, and faraway forests into city development plans.’
The initiative was launched at the Global Climate Action Summit in San Francisco on September 13.
At the summit, each city made a commitment to conserve and restore their forests while making residents more aware of the benefits of trees.
Greater Manchester will also benefit from a peer-to-peer exchange network to learn from other cities and highlight success cases, and a citizen engagement and communications package.
Mayor of Greater Manchester, Andy Burnham, said: ‘Our ambition is to make Greater Manchester one of the leading green cities in Europe and this year’s Green Summit put us very firmly on the path to achieving that vision.
‘We’re thrilled to be part of Cities4Forests and will be working with City of Trees and other partners to make Greater Manchester greener and healthier, the best place in the world to grow up, get on and grow old.’
The charity City of Trees has already pledged to plant 3 million trees across Greater Manchester and bring 2,000 hectares of unmanaged woodland back into use.
It’s estimated that at least 5 million hectares (12.3 million acres) of forest, an area the size of Costa Rica, are permanently converted to other uses around the world, and many millions more are degraded.
Cities4Forests say forest loss and degradation contribute more than 8% of global greenhouse gas emissions which has devastating impacts on local communities.
Tony Hothersall, City of Trees added: ‘For the first time in history, more than 50% of the world’s population lives in urban areas, and this is only expected to increase.
‘We need to utilise the important role trees and woods play in solving some of our more complex environmental problems and ensure as people we don’t lose our connection to nature that we are hardwired to need.’