Novi Sad is the European Forest City 2023
The City of Novi Sad was awarded the title of European Forest City 2023 during the welcome reception at the Novi Sad City Hall on 19 September 2023. The award is in recognition of the city's commitment to preserve and increase urban green areas and its continuous collaboration with scientists and experts in the field of forestry.
City of Novi Sad continually takes steps to improve its green infrastructure, the quality of its environment and the quality of life of its citizens. In the previous period, they have put a lot of effort to increase the area of green surfaces and to improve the quality of urban forests, which is why they can proudly say that today their green surfaces cover approximately 38% of urban areas in the city, along with urbanized parts of suburban settlements.
During the last decade they’ve planted approximately 42000 new trees throughout the city territory. In order to maintain their existing green surface as efficiently and as successfully as possible, but also in order to create new such surface, they've established the Green Cadaster, whose database is gradually filled with data, providing them with assistance when creating guidelines for further development and improvement of urban greenery.
Under the climate change conditions, urban greenery is gaining significance, since it impacts the improvement of their environment, as well as the preservation and improvement of both physical and mental health. Nature within the city is of paramount importance in maintaining its touch with people, and also a requirement for creating a healthy and sustainable urban society.
Expert opinion is something that they cherish dearly, which is why City has established constant cooperation with the academic community, faculties, institutes, university, thereby significantly improving their public companies.
Long time ago, a poet said “if you plan one year ahead, you plant a seed, if you plant 10 years ahead, you plant a tree”. Equally so, their wish is to think not 10, but many more years ahead, which is why they consider greening of their urban areas particularly important, while the European Forest City award means a more aware and active relationship of the City of Novi Sad towards the boons of forests, and also towards the concerns of soil, air, and water pollution – all of which need to be addressed as soon as possible.
The European Forest City award
Forests are the most important and versatile ecological infrastructure in Europe. Today, forests cover 35% of the pan-European landscape, hosting an important share of biodiversity and providing products and services which support the resilience of rural areas and the wellbeing of urban ones. Forests provide crucial ecosystem services, supporting the sustainability of critical resources like water and soil, and play a key role in adaptation and mitigation to climate change.
In urbanized European societies, the role of forests in providing commodities, welfare, health and other social benefits is easily forgotten. The European Forest Institute wants to increase awareness amongst the general public and decision makers about Europe’s forests – and promote their versatility, significance and social impact.
From 2014, the European Forest Institute has granted the title of ‘European Forest City’ to the city which hosts the EFI Annual Conference. The 2023 EFI Annual Conference was held in Novi Sad, Serbia in September 2023.
The title is given annually, and lasts for one year. During this year, the city can utilize the title in its promotional materials and communications. EFI provides a special logo for this use.
To meet the original goal of increasing awareness of Europe’s forests, it is expected that the city will include other forest-related activities for professionals and the public in their programme for the year.