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Cartagena Joins Forces with Cities4Forests

The city of Cartagena de Indias has joined the Cities4Forests initiative of the World Resources Institute (WRI), which provides cities with technical support to improve the conservation, management and restoration of their urban forests.

Cartagena thus becomes the fourth Colombian city to join the network, joining Bogotá, Medellín and Cali; and the 74th member of the global network.

Through WRI’s office in Colombia, active in the country since 2020, projects are promoted in three key areas: Climate, Cities and Forests. The WRI seeks to help contribute to a just transition to a low-carbon economy, protect forests, biodiversity and improve the quality of life and well-being of all Colombians.

Trees and forests are essential for cities and their residents, as they provide remarkable benefits for the climate, water, biodiversity, health and well-being for a city’s inhabitants.

This project is an example of how nature-based solutions can be used to fight climate change with the restoration and conservation of mangroves ecosystems to capture CO2 acting as a blue carbon sink, mitigating the effects of climate change in Cartagena and beyond.

“This project is an essential part of our goal to make Cartagena one of the most sustainable cities in Colombia and the world,” says Cartagena’s mayor, William Dau. “We thank the World Resources Insititute and Cities4Forests for inviting us to become part of this important international movement putting life back at the center of our cities. It is another example of how the international community has started to believe in and support Cartagena once again. Let’s Save Cartagena for future generations by planting more trees today.”

Cities4Forests will provide important knowhow to facilitate plans to restore the mangroves forests of Juan Angola Pipe, one of the main goals of the Water Resources Management project of EPA Cartagena. It will also support plans to introduce environmental services in the city’s mangroves forests.

“Being part of the Cities4Forests initiative we will be able to train the people of Cartagena to plant and grow a healthier city for their children,” says Javier Mouthon Bello, director of EPA Cartagena.

“As well as providing important ecosystems for biodiversity these fragile ecosystems create a natural buffer against flooding reducing the risk of disasters for the surrounding areas and will create opportunities for residents to learn about the environment, as well as recover areas for artisanal fishing and eco-tourism activities,” he said.

Cartagena Plans to Plant 100,000 trees

The Cities4Forests initiative will also support EPA Cartagena’s Urban Trees Project, which involves the planting of 100,000 trees in the city, providing support with the selection of species, as well as an inventory to prioritize the creation of green corridors; a nursery for saplings and a nursery plan that includes propagation, irrigation, fertilizer, growth monitoring, phytosanitary control as well as the maintenance of planted trees for at least 24 months.

This initiative is accompanied by training for the community with 30 workshops attended by 750 people, and the generation of at least 671 green jobs. The project is expected to have a direct impact on  30% of the city’s population.

EPA Cartagena’s mangrove restoration scheme involves the recovery of 1,620 square meters of mangroves; the planting of 1,250 red mangrove seedlings, as well as the collection of 4,000 red mangrove seedlings for the creation of new nurseries in the city.

The project will help 339 of the most impoverished homes in the Olaya Herrera neighborhood with the implementation of training days and workshops on the importance of caring for mangroves.

WRI and Cities4Forests provided technical support to the city to improve its reforestation plans and management. The organization helps cities with urban tree mapping, forest planning and monitoring.

Also with the collection and distribution of knowledge on best practices, establishing peer-group interactions and promoting a network that allows the efficient exchange of information and knowledge sharing.

ABOUT Cities4Forests:

Cities4Forests is a coalition of more than 70 cities from around the world involving mayors’ offices and other city agencies, such as public water utilities and offices of sustainability. Cities4Forests encourages peer-to-peer learning and connects cities with technical support from institutions with expertise in cities, forests, climate crisis, water, communications, finance, policy and social equity. This helps cities recognize their interdependence with the world’s forests and use their political, economic and cultural power to protect and manage those forests for human well-being.
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