The Kochi Municipal Corporation in association with the World Resources Institute India organized a ‘Mapathon’ in coordination with the Centre for Heritage, Environment and Development, as part of the Cities4Forests project from 9 to 11 January, 2020 at St. Teresa’s College, Kochi to develop monitoring mechanism in Kochi and enhance community participation in restoration.
Kochi is the only city in the country to have been selected for the project last year. In the first phase of the project, councillors from the Corporation’s 74 divisions along with local experts participated in the mapathon which identified the current land use in the divisions using satellite images. The purpose of the mapathon is to establish baseline and assess the trends in tree cover and identify potential areas for restoration in the city. Buildings, green patches, open spaces, waterbodies and roads were also mapped by WRI in consultation with the councillors after which they identified the areas in their divisions where trees can be planted. The three-day exercise will result in a map that can suggest spaces in the city that are conducive to the growth of green patches.
In the second phase of the project, the Corporation will determine the implementation of the project and which trees are to be planted.
Cities4Forests is a movement conceptualised to catalyse political, social, and economic support among city governments and urban citizens to integrate the inner, nearby, and faraway forests into city development plans and programs. Cities4Forest helps cities from around the world connect with and invest in forests. The project is initiated by a consortium of international agencies like World Resource Institute (WRI), Pilot Projects and REVOLVE with the involvement of mayors’ offices and supported by other sub-national agencies from around the world. The project will be implemented 45 cities from across the world for the project which aims at incorporating forests into the urban strategy to address climate change issues. Kochi is the only city selected from India on the list.
The Initiative was launched on 7th August 2019, in Kochi. The launch witnessed stakeholders from various walks of life – City Administration, engineers, city planners, conservationist, civil society, educational and research institutions come together in a bid to use the platform of Cities4Forests to leverage green infrastructure of the city to improve resilience. Participants shared an aspiration to help reduce deforestation, restore forests (including more trees in cities), and manage forests more sustainably. The goal of the project is to amplify current best practices and extend the deliberate city-forest relationship to the global scale on which cities and forests interact. On behalf of Kochi Municipal Corporation, the Centre for Heritage Environment and Development (c-hed) supported the organization of the event.