Hyderabad, the capital city of Telangana, has been recognised as a “Tree City of the World” by the Arbor Day Foundation and the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations. With this unique achievement, Hyderabad becomes the only city in India to get this recognition so far. The city has got the acknowledgment in the Foundation’s second year of the programme along with 51 other cities globally, and cumulatively 120 cities from 63 countries. The other cities featured in the list were largely from the US, the UK, Canada, and Australia.

Through this recognition, the efforts of the countries towards growing and maintaining urban forests with ecological balance, have been honoured. The Municipal Administration and Urban Development Department of Telangana applied for this recognition on January 31. The municipal administration said that this recognition was a testament to Hyderabad’s sustained and institutional efforts at planting, nurturing, and celebrating trees.

Hyderabad pledged its commitment by meeting five programme standards that showed its diligence towards planting and conserving trees for a better future. Other than this, urban forest blocks are also being developed in identified pockets.

Acknowledging the dedication of Hyderabad towards the environment, Dan Lambe, President of Arbor Day Foundation said, “Your city is part of an important global network leading the way in urban and community forestry. 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 a better future for its residents.”

The Tree Cities of the World programme is an international effort to recognise cities and towns committed to ensuring that their urban forests and trees are properly and sustainably managed and duly celebrated.

During the 2018 World Forum on Urban Forests, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations and the Arbor Day Foundation launched the Tree Cities of the World programme. In addition to celebrating cities which make efforts to improve their urban forest, the initiative also aimed to connect cities around the world in a network dedicated to sharing and adopting the most favourable approaches to managing community trees and forests.

Tree city needs to conform to 5 standards

1. Establish Responsibility

The city must have a written statement by city leaders delegating responsibility for the care of trees. It should be within the municipal boundary, a staff member, a city department, or a group of citizens called a Tree Board.

2. Set the rules

The city needs to set a law or an official policy that governs the management of forests and trees. These rules must describe how work must be performed with best practices or industry standards for tree care and worker’s safety. 

3. Know What you have

The city has an updated assessment of the local tree resources so that an effective long-term plan for planting, care, and removal of city trees can be established.

4. Allocate the resources

The city has a dedicated and pre decided annual budget for the routine implementation of the tree management plan. 

5. Celebrate Achievements

The city must hold an annual celebration of trees to raise awareness among residents. Achievements need to be celebrated to acknowledge citizens and staff members who carry out the city tree programme.

Municipal Administration and Urban Development Minister K.T. Rama Rao expressed his contentment over the recognition by tweeting, “This is an acknowledgment of our efforts to improve green cover as part of Haritha Haram programme.” Haritha Haram is a programme of the state government for large-scale plantations across the state to increase green space. The Telangana government has spent 4572.94 crore on the Haritha Haram since its launch in 2015.