Cities4Forests – Commitment to Social Equity

Cities4Forests, co-founded by Pilot Projects, REVOLVE, and World Resources Institute, is a voluntary coalition of more than 60 cities, supported by global, regional, and local partners including Norway’s International Climate and Forests Initiative (NICFI), the UK Government, and Fundación FEMSA. We work with cities to help them recognize their interdependence with the world’s forests and use their political, economic, and cultural power to conserve, manage, and restore them. We raise awareness of the benefits of trees and forests (especially for the climate, water, biodiversity, and human health and well-being), and catalyze forest-positive city actions, policies, and investments by providing tailor-made technical assistance.

We recognize the triple bottom line benefits of equitable, sustainable, and efficient projects. To help cities integrate social equitySocial equity: The absence of avoidable or remediable differences among groups of people, whether those groups are defined socially, economically, demographically, or geographically (WHO). Equitable processes call for acknowledging that individuals or groups may have unequal starting points and require different levels of support based on their specific needs to achieve fairness in outcomes (Center for the Study of Social Policy). considerations in their forest-related work and other nature-based solutions Nature-based solutions: Actions to protect, sustainably manage, and restore natural or modified ecosystems, which address societal challenges (e.g. climate change, food and water security, or natural disasters) effectively and adaptively, while simultaneously providing human well-being and biodiversity benefits (IUCN)., this Learning Guide presents the latest research and resources to guide global cities toward positive, equitable, and inclusiveInclusive: The multi-dimensional process of improving the terms of full and active participation in civic, social, economic, and political activities. Social inclusion also includes improving the terms of participation in decision-making processes for all people, especially those who are disadvantaged on the basis of age, sex, disability, race, ethnicity, origin, religion, or economic or other status, through enhanced opportunities, access to resources, voice and respect for rights. Thus, social inclusion is both a process and a goal. (adapted from UNDESA). forest-related projects.

This Learning Guide uses the Cities4Forests categorization of forest levels –

  • Inner Forests – Trees and green infrastructure within city boundaries, including street trees, parks, and open green spaces
  • Nearby Forests – Trees and forests adjacent to cities, such as in watershed areas
  • Faraway Forests – Large, remote, intact or otherwise ecologically important forests, particularly tropical forests
The three forest levels. Image: Cities4Forests, 2020.