Prague Became the European Forest City
On 18 May 2021, the Capital City of Prague received the Forest City Award 2021 from representatives of the European Forest Institute. Every year, the Institute, which brings together representatives from forest research, industry, forest owners and international forest organisations, awards a city that has most efficiently contributed to the maintenance and expansion of its forest fund and environmental protection. The award is a confirmation of the Czech capital's efforts towards the sustainable direction of the city, which in recent years have been closely watched by the organizers of international events when choosing the next host destination for their events.
"I sincerely appreciate the "Forest City Prague" award. It confirms that we are going the right way and we are succeeding in fulfilling our promise: to plant one million trees in eight years. We have already planted 370,000 of them, and we do not stop planting. General public can also participate in the planting events planned for this autumn. Volunteers can find more information about the event on ZastromujPrahu.cz (“plant trees in Prague”) web. We must continue to be ambitious and proactive in the matters of tree planting and environmental care," says Zdeněk Hřib, Mayor of Prague.
Representatives of the capital city and its authorities act responsibly within the framework of the climate commitments adopted, and they increasingly do take the necessary specific steps to mitigate climate change. This also provides a significant opportunity for the city itself, municipal organisations and the private sector. However, as Zdeněk Hřib, Mayor of Prague, has stated, it is also important to involve the inhabitants of the Czech capital themselves, since Prague needs to set its own way to address the issue of sustainability. The recently launched "Adopt a Tree" program, which will allow citizens to take care of a tree they choose, can also help to do so.
"Trees in the city have an irreplaceable role, especially in adapting the city to climate change. In the place where they grow, the trees create a more relaxed microclimate, both by providing shade that reduces the apparent temperature, or by evaporating water, cooling the surroundings like natural air conditioning, but also by cleaning the air from pollutants. Forests and parks thus play an irreplaceable role in the everyday life of Prague residents. That is why we have a plan to plant a million trees, and the Prague climate plan also includes other ambitious adaptation targets. We also focus on the care of trees and greenery, which are already in the city," adds Deputy Petr Hlubuček.
In 2019, Prague adopted a climate commitment to reduce CO2 emissions by at least 45% by 2030 (compared to 2010) and to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050. The city also set up a Committee on Sustainable Energy and Climate, which prepared a comprehensive Prague Climate Plan valid until 2030, which has recently been approved by the city councillors. This strategy document outlines 69 specific measures, projects and opportunities to meet the climate commitment. Prague also supports the European Green Deal.
If we also take the launch of the "Adopt a Tree" programme into account, Prague is well on its way to spreading awareness of the need to protect or improve the environment among its own inhabitants. The Czech capital prides itself on improving the climate and its chances of achieving the goals set are very realistic.