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The Year in Review: AIPH Advancing the Global Green City Agenda in 2022

December is always a time to reflect on the year that was in preparation for what is to come. 2022 has been a year of significant growth for the global green city movement, and AIPH is proud to be at the forefront of leading, shaping, and inspiring this growth through our various Green City activities. We invite you to join us as we look back on the last year and look to the future with renewed ambition to showcase and demonstrate the power of plants. We need greener, healthier, and more sustainable cities now, more than ever before, and this vision is in focus if we are able to harness this power to deliver urban nature-based solutions to the challenges cities are increasingly facing. We can, and we must, act now if we are to leave a lasting legacy for future generations who will inevitably inherit the cities we build today.

So, what have we achieved in 2022? We invite you to join us as we reflect on the last year and look to the future with renewed ambition. Let’s take a look at some of the highlights which have been integral to the success of the AIPH Green City programme in  2022.

Showcasing Action for Nature

2022 has been a year where the ambitious actions of cities for nature have been front and centre in inspiring transformative change. AIPH has continued to provide a platform for cities to showcase that the solutions to common urban challenges lie in nature. Perhaps one of the greatest highlights of 2022 was the successful completion of the world’s first AIPH World Green City Awards. The inaugural edition of this unique, first-of-its-kind, flagship initiative showcased clearly that cities are taking action to implement nature-based thinking which demonstrate the power of plants and nature.

With close to 60 entries from leading cities around the world, the initiative quickly became highly regarded. Not only does it shine a spotlight on the award-worthy and inspiring work which cities are undertaking, it also provides a global stage to showcase the significant role that cities play in conserving, protecting, enhancing, and restoring urban ecosystems.

The two-stage judging process captivated a diverse global community of experts and influential, world-renowned representatives whose expectations were far surpassed in terms of the quality of the entries received. Firstly, a Technical Panel, boasting representatives with an advanced knowledge of green city principles, plants, and nature-based solutions were tasked with assessing and scoring each city-led urban greening initiative based on its technical capability to achieve its stated objectives.

Each entry puts forward an innovative and inspiring approach to achieving the city’s greening vision in response to key urban challenges.  The Awards slogan: Everyone wins- cities, people, planet, recognises that all entries deliver multiple benefits.. The highest three scoring entries in each of the six categories were selected as finalists. These 18 finalists were announced in June 2022, and then  placed before the prestigious Jury for the second round of judging.

The Jury was tasked with voting for the winners based on each finalist’s capacity for influence, replicability, and scope to inspire change in answer to the following question:

“Which entry do you feel may have the biggest transformational impact?” Following an independent voting process and facilitated consultation between Jury members, a winner in each of the six categories was decided, as well as the Grand Winner from the six category winners.

In addition to the 18 AIPH World Green City Awards finalists, six entries were nominated by the Technical Panel, and later accepted by the Jury to receive Certificates of Merit. These certificates are awarded to cities who were not selected as finalists, but whose entries demonstrated a particularly inspiring and innovative approach to city greening with the potential for replicability by other cities around the world.

On 14th October 2022, AIPH proudly announced the 6 Category Winners and the Grand Winner at a dedicated Awards ceremony which took place at a special gala dinner at the IUCN Leaders Forum in the Self-Governing Province of Jeju, Republic of Korea. The most prestigious award of the inaugural 2022 edition, the Grand Winner, was presented to the city of Hyderabad, India for their entry titled “Green Garland to the State of Telangana

Grand Winner - Hyderabad

At the Awards ceremony, AIPH and partners proudly announced the launch of the 2024 edition of the AIPH World Green City Awards, which will open for entries in early 2023. AIPH invites all cities, large and small, to register their interest today and be the first to know when entries open. The resounding success of the 2022 edition has left a lasting legacy which will shine through in future editions. Looking ahead, AIPH stands ready to continue demonstrating the critical importance of city-led action for nature in 2023 and beyond to ensure our cities are fit for a greener future.

Through the World Green City Awards, AIPH proudly celebrates the inspiring work of cities and showcases first-hand how cities are leading the way in implementing the global biodiversity, climate, and sustainability agendas. Recognition and replication of inspiring action leads to transformative change. As the global green city movement continues to grow, AIPH looks to the future with raised ambition, united with their network of partners to deliver a stronger commitment to shape a greener future in the coming years.

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Growing a Global Green City Network

Green City activities lead by AIPH have contributed significantly to the building of a global green city network, so much so that AIPH identified the need for a virtual platform where this network could gather and engage in discussion. In 2022, AIPH proudly launched theGlobal Green City Forum: A virtual space dedicated to driving transformative change in cities by harnessing the power of plants and nature.

The AIPH Global Green City Forum is an online community for all individuals who are eager to engage with people with a shared passion for the plants and nature on which our increasingly urban lives critically depend. The AIPH Global Green City Forum provides a platform through which members of the global green city movement can unite, engage, and co-develop innovative ideas at the nexus of research, policy, and practice. The AIPH Green City Forum stimulates discussion and knowledge exchange between individuals from diverse sectors and disciplines who are working towards a shared vision of shaping a greener world for future generations, and who believe in the power of collaboration and co-creation.

It is also a powerful tool for promoting and sharing the wide range of AIPH Green City activities to a growing green city audience. For instance, the Global Green City Forum provides the space to share news of the AIPH Green City Briefings 2022/2023. It hosts the webinar recordings for on-demand viewing. The AIPH Global Green City Guidelines have been added as resources on the Forum for the benefit of members. The invitation to join the Forum is open to all, to participate, and benefit from engaging with this growing green city community. To coincide with the launch of the AIPH Global Green City Forum, a dedicated AIPH Green City Twitter account was established in July 2022. This presents a series of social media campaigns to grow and nurture a specific green city audience on social media.

At AIPH, we have learned that the success of our various initiatives lies in the power of collaboration.  As the AIPH Green City network continues to grow, so does the network of partners. This is particularly true for the AIPH World Green City Awards. AIPH is proud to have had Expo 2021 Hatay and Biblo as category sponsors for the inaugural AIPH World Green City Awards. AIPH is  grateful to the network of supporting and media partners for their ongoing collaboration  as we prepare to bring the 2024 edition to life.

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Knowledge Sharing and Learning

Briefings, GGCU, TNOC roundtable, FCI Green City Post articles

Knowledge sharing is a key component of the AIPH Green City programme. In connecting research and policy with practice, the dissemination of relevant information has accelerated significantly among our Green City network. The AIPH Green City team has passionately shared progress on their activities this year through a wide variety of knowledge sharing platforms and channels. In addition to the existing latest news web channels, key highlights are featured in Green City Posts and dedicated articles in each edition of the industry magazine, FloraCulture International (FCI) . Sign up to receive FCI by email.

Building on the success of these modes of dissemination, AIPH further positioned itself as a leader in the global green city space with the launch of the monthly AIPH Global Green City Update in April 2022: a monthly compilation of green city activities from around the world. Each edition contains the latest news and events from the AIPH network, partners, and other key organisations, case studies and stories of best practice from cities around the world, research findings which are made relevant to a diverse audience, new policy recommendations, green city principles, and much more. Each month, the Global Green City Update is distributed to over 2,500 readers, and this number continues to grow. You can subscribe to ensure you do not miss a beat here.

AIPH is proud to launch the second series of Green City Briefings, featuring world-leading cities demonstrating the power of plants. Last year, the City of London Green City Briefings saw 100s of attendees from 50 different countries join and participate in the AIPH vision for greener, more cohesive, and more resilient cities. Each of these new series of Green City Briefings provides expert opinion, features successful city implementation, and generates an in-depth discussion among participants.

The AIPH Green City Briefings 2022-23 feature winning cities from the AIPH World Green City Awards 2022. Each themed webinar, featuring world-renowned experts alongside global examples of best practices, aims to link up knowledge and practice. The presentations are suitable for an audience of policymakers, urban planners, practitioners, and the interested general public. Sharing practitioners’ and researchers’ experiences of the many ways to enhance cityscapes through the power of plants is vital to bringing about global change. AIPH Green City is proud to be at the centre of creating this conversation and will continue to deliver monthly webinars in 2023.

As the world’s champion for the power of plants, a key aim of the AIPH Green City programme is to enable engagement between the horticulture industry (the suppliers of plants) and the cities who use these plants. In a TNOC Roundtable hosted by AIPH earlier in the year, we asked 30 diverse participants from a wide range of backgrounds to respond to the following question: “Can we enable better decision-making when it comes to urban plant selection and preparation? Does urban ecology and the horticulture industry need to be better engaged with each other?”

This led to the hosting of a seed session at the TNOC Festival 2022, titled “Connecting Cities with the Horticulture Industry: Bridging the Divide to Harness the Power of Plants”. This was a significant highlight of 2022 in the sense that the conversation generated in this session epitomised the purpose of the AIPH Green City programme – to strengthen the linkages between the horticulture industry and cities committed to achieving their green ambitions. This connection is critical as it is increasingly known that with conscious and careful plant selection in collaboration with growers, cities can harness maximum benefits for urban populations.

There are many examples of leading cities who are harnessing the power of plants in the implementation of inspiring initiatives for nature. AIPH is collating these powerful examples in their Green City Case Study Collection, which has rapidly grown in 2022 with the addition of case studies from each of the finalist cities of the AIPH World Green City Awards 2022, organised across the six Awards categories, and six certificate of merit recipients. In 2023, AIPH will continue to grow this collection with the inclusion of all city entries from the 2022 edition, as well as a suite of new case studies which have recently been commissioned.

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The International Association of Horticultural Producers
The world's champion for the power of plants