The Prince of Wales has announced that all 54 Commonwealth countries have committed to the Queen’s Commonwealth Canopy (QCC), a project on forest conservation.
The decision was made known on Friday at the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) in Kigali, Rwanda.
The QCC project has the vision of creating a Pan-Commonwealth network of forest conservation projects.
When launched at the Malta CHOGM in 2015, only seven countries were involved.
All 54 countries are said to have now dedicated 115 sites and projects around the Commonwealth and have committed to conserve more than 12 million hectares of indigenous forests and botanical gardens.
While announcing the development, the Prince of Wales said: “Throughout her Reign, The Queen has placed, and continues to place, the greatest importance on the common friendship, humanity, and values that all of us share… and I know how grateful she is that, in recognition of Her Majesty’s unstinting service to our Commonwealth family, all Commonwealth Member States have announced that they have now committed themselves to The Queen’s Commonwealth Canopy.”
Linda Yueh, executive chair of the Royal Commonwealth Society, said: “The QCC is a truly remarkable example of the Commonwealth taking concrete action to create a brighter, common future for its 2.5 billion citizens
This initiative has seen government and non-government actors come together to conserve a vast range of forest types around the Commonwealth, including several UNESCO World Heritage sites and forests that our Patron, Her Majesty The Queen, has visited during her 70 years of service to the Commonwealth. It is a delight to announce this pan- Commonwealth commitment during this momentous year and we look forward to welcoming new members to the QCC as the Commonwealth family grows in the future.”
Alan Pottinger, executive director of the Commonwealth Forestry Association, said: “People and forests need each other, and it is this important concept that lays at the heart of this wonderful initiative. With project sizes varying from those covering millions of hectares to those covering just a few, the QCC demonstrates the ability of the Commonwealth to act together to conserve one of its most important habitats – forests.”