About the "Trees for Life"
The former president and current First Vice-President of the European Committee of the Regions (CoR), Apostolos Tzitzikostas, and the new chairwoman of the CoR’s
ENVE commission and
Green Deal Going Local working group, Kata Tüttő, on 17 February launched Trees for Life, a call to action for all CoR members – but also cities and regions across the EU – to share their ongoing projects and new commitments in reforestation and the greening of urban areas.
Apostolos Tzitzikostas said: “It is our pleasure to announce that the 'Trees for Life' initiative is now a reality. We ask our members to share their delegation's tree planting initiatives, as well as their own, by filling in the dedicated
survey. By participating, you will be able to demonstrate the leadership of Europe's local and regional governments in building a greener and more sustainable future for our planet.”
The deputy mayor of Budapest and new chairwoman of the CoR’s ENVE commission and Green Deal Going Local working group,
Kata Tüttő, said: “In Budapest we value trees by all the good they provide: not just by the CO2 that they capture, but by the dust they can bind, the shadow they cast in hot summer days and the vapour they release to the atmosphere. We made it a priority, by creating also a registry to log trees as part of our monitoring of the Sustainable Development Goals. Greening urban areas is something concrete we can all do to fight air pollution, stop biodiversity loss and make our cities more liveable. Even smaller actions are needed to halt the climate and biodiversity crisis.”
How to join
Step 1: Every CoR member can contribute to the Trees for Life initiative by completing the
online survey, accessible in all the European Languages. The contributions under Trees for Life will count directly towards the 3 Billion Additional Trees Pledge and support the new EU forest strategy for 2030.
To be counted as part of the EU pledge, trees must be planted or sprouted after 20 May 2020 and must follow the guidelines on biodiversity-friendly afforestation, avoiding inappropriate afforestation of sensitive habitats such as peat lands and wetlands and prioritising native tree species when possible and varieties, ecotypes and provenances which take into account the need for resilience to climate change.
Guidelines and participation criteria are accessible here.
Step 2: In addition to completing the survey, the call to action ‘Trees for Life’ encourages every participant – and CoR members in particular – to show their participation by planting a symbolic tree in their region, city or village, preferably on 30 May 2022 and no later than 5 June 2022, during the EU Green Week 2022, and to share a photo to publicise each commitment and promote it as a contribution to Europe’s reforestation.
Step 3: The CoR will promote and give visibility to all shared commitments, reinforcing the message that global warming is a global challenge that needs local solutions
The call to action Trees for Life comes after the announcement made by the former president and current First Vice-President
Apostolos Tzitzikostas and
Virginijus Sinkevičius, European Commissioner for Environment, Oceans and Fisheries, in a
joint letter in October 2021.
Trees for Life is one of the 10 calls to action of the CoR’s
Green Deal Going Local campaign. Green Deal Going Local was launched in June 2020 with the creation of a
working group and a set of communications and engagement initiatives, which aim at placing cities and regions at the centre of the EU’s transition towards climate-neutrality and provide local and regional authorities with first-hand tools to engage with and accelerate the implementation of the European Green Deal in every territory.
Tackling the climate emergency, preserving our precious natural environment and delivering sustainable growth is a priority for the CoR. It is estimated that one tree can absorb up to 150kg of CO2 per year. According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, forests are essential for our health and the wellbeing of the planet. They are essential to preserve biodiversity and are greatly important in fighting climate change.
Under the European Green Deal, the EU's biodiversity strategy proposed planting 3 billion additional trees by 2030, double the current estimated planting rate. This ambition will enhance the resilience of our forests, reverse biodiversity loss whilst mitigating and helping us adapt to climate change. Among other benefits, planting 3 billion additional trees across the EU will also help to
- Cool the air by between 2ºC and 8ºC when planted strategically in urban areas,
- Provide food, such as fruits, nuts, and leaves,
- Provide habitat, and protection to plants and animals, increasing urban biodiversity.