In a unique distinction, Hyderabad has become the only city in India to be recognised as a ‘Tree City of the World’ by the Arbor Day Foundation and the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations. Hyderabad is placed alongside 119 other cities from 63 countries.
The United States, Canada and the United Kingdom are the countries with the maximum cities featured on the list, with 38, 15 and 11 cities, respectively. The countries have been recognised for their commitment to growing and maintaining urban forests in building healthy, resilient and happy cities.
In a statement, Dan Lambe, the President of Arbor Day Foundation said: “Your city is part of an important global network leading the way in urban and community forestry.”
He added that “now, more than ever, trees and forests are a vital component of healthy livable, and sustainable cities and towns around the globe, Hyderabad’s commitment to effective urban forest management is helping to ensure better future for its residents.”
The Municipal Administration and Urban Development department of Telangana said this recognition was a testament to its sustained and institutional efforts at planting, nurturing and celebrating trees; developing urban and peri-urban forests; and its strategic planning and commitment to building a healthy city now and for the future.
According to the official website, the ‘Tree City of the World’ programme provides direction, assistance, and worldwide recognition for communities’ dedication to its urban forest, and provides a framework for a healthy, sustainable urban forestry programme.
To be eligible as a ‘Tree City’, cities need to conform to the following five standards:
Standard 1: Establish Responsibility
The city has a written statement by city leaders delegating responsibility for the care of trees within the municipal boundary to a staff member, a city department, or a group of citizens—called a Tree Board.
Standard 2: Set the Rules
The city has in place a law or an official policy that governs the management of forests and trees. These rules describe how work must be performed—often citing best practices or industry standards for tree care and worker safety—where and when they apply, and penalties for noncompliance.
Standard 3: Know What You Have
The city has an updated inventory or assessment of the local tree resource so that an effective long-term plan for planting, care, and removal of city trees can be established.
Standard 4: Allocate the Resources
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The city has a dedicated annual budget for the routine implementation of the tree management plan.
Standard 5: Celebrate Achievements
The city holds an annual celebration of trees to raise awareness among residents and to acknowledge citizens and staff members who carry out the city tree programme.
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The MAUD department said, “Hyderabad City has pledged its commitment by meeting five programme standards that show their dedication and determination towards planting and conserving trees for a greener future. Hyderabad City is demonstrating leadership in management of its urban trees and is serving as part of the solution to many of the global issues we face today.”