The City of Victoria has pledged to plant 5,000 trees by the end of 2020 as part of the United Nations Trees in Cities Initiative. It is the first Canadian city to take the pledge. (Black Press Media file photo)

Victoria first Canadian city to join United Nations tree planting challenge

The City of Victoria pledges to plant 5,000 trees by the end of 2020

The City of Victoria will be planting 5,000 trees by the end of 2020 as part of a global campaign launched by the United Nations.

The city is the first in Canada to join the pledge, which will see trees planted on public and private land with the help of the community.

Victoria Mayor Lisa Helps was in New York City on Saturday to participate in the launch of the initiative which was hosted by the U.N. Executive Secretary, Under-Secretary-General Olga Algayerova.

READ ALSO: City of Victoria celebrates first woman to serve as Mayor with tree planting ceremony

“We know there is a climate crisis and we’re committed to everything we can as a City to mitigate the impacts,” said Helps. “Participating in this U.N. initiative allows Victoria to join in a global movement of communities. City staff are currently designing ways in which we can harness the power of our community to meet this goal.”

Over the summer, Algayerova wrote to Helps.

“I believe there is a lot we can learn from the progress your city has already achieved in this area, and I would like to help you share this achievement with other cities and allow them to learn from it,” Algayerova wrote, according to a City of Victoria news release.

Currently, Victoria’s Urban Forest Master Plan identifies 26 recommended actions for the improved management of trees on public and private lands over the next 50 years.

The news release says a new investment of $1 million annually will speed up the implementation of the Urban Forest Master Plan and help maintain and plant new trees.

READ ALSO: Trees Matter Network pushes planting on National Tree Day

In 2019, a total of almost $3 million will go towards maintaining and enhancing the city’s urban forest.

“We hope all Victorians are proud of our city’s leadership on the urban forest and we are delighted the city has accepted this challenge,” said Frances Litman, a spokesperson for local tree advocacy group Community Trees Matter Network. “Since three-quarters of our urban forest is on private land, we will certainly do all we can to spread the word and encourage homeowners to plant trees.”

Litman notes in the news release that planting season is coming soon, with late-fall being the best time to plant trees in Victoria.

For more information about the initiative, visit treesincities.unece.org.


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