As our cities develop and grow, the demand for urban services will continue to increase. India’s commitments at the global level, including the NDCs, as well as strategies towards fulfilling the SDGs, we will have to rethink our environmental and developmental goals. City officials, private sector players, civil society, and others will have to inspire growth that is sustainable and equitable, which will feed into an enhanced quality of life for all urban dwellers.


  • Future of Urbanisation

This session will focus on the growth in peri-urban areas, and the strategies cities could employ to ensure better planning. Using the case of India’s top 20 metropolitan areas, empirical evidence and modelling will be presented to show how development can be planned, while ensuring quality public services and the protection of natural resources. The World Resources Report on urban expansion will be presented at this session.

  • Inspiring, Enabling and Mobilising a Cities4Forests Initiative in India

In India, the current proportion of urban population is 31 percent and it is projected to double in the next 25 to 30 years. Past experience has shown that unplanned urban expansion leads to unsustainable production and consumption patterns and overexploitation of natural resources in and around urban areas.

Achieving the SDG targets require supporting a landscape approach to restoration that can inspire, enable, mobilise a restoration movement in the urban and peri urban areas for its, inner, nearby and faraway forests, with careful attention to the underpinning enabling conditions, as sustainability of interventions is contingent on it. Achieving these targets is crucial, as forest and tree cover provide multiple regulatory, cultural and provisioning services for cities and its population. World Resources Institute (WRI) recently launched Cities4Forests, a new voluntary coalition of 52 cities involving mayors’ offices— and supported by other subnational agencies such as public water utilities and offices of sustainability— from around the world. Cities4Forests seeks to catalyse political, social, and economic support among city governments and urban residents to integrate forests into city development plans and programs. Globally, there are currently 52 cities members’ of Cities4Forests, including Kochi, in India. As India develops its strategies to fulfil its SDGs and NDC commitments, as well as domestic environmental and development goals, Cities4Forest alliance provides an opportunity to protect, maintain, and increase forest and tree cover in peri-urban and urban areas to inspire a movement around restoration for inner, nearby and faraway forests.

This session would discuss:

The challenges and opportunities, that urban and peri-urban areas are facing in India which is a barrier to developing a strong bond between forests and its population for inner, nearby and faraway forests.

The knowledge gaps that are barrier for cities to prioritize and integrate principles of protecting and increasing forest and tree cover in planning for sustainable urban development.

The current institutional framework of urban governance and development and opportunities to synergise urban and rural development using a landscape approach.

Innovative participatory approaches, that could catalyse a movement on protecting and increasing forest and tree cover in urban and peri-urban areas.