The Queen’s Commonwealth Canopy (QCC), was launched last year in Malta at the Commonwealth Heads of Government meeting. It was conceived by the charity, Cool Earth and led by the Royal Commonwealth Society who worked in partnership with the Commonwealth Forestry Society Association and Cool Earth.
This initiative seeks to bring together all 52 countries of the Commonwealth to help preserve indigenous forests through this pan-Commonwealth network of conservation initiatives.
During the initial appeal at the conference, all Commonwealth countries were encouraged to donate areas of indigenous forest to this conservation movement. These areas of forest are to be, as stated by Buckingham Palace: “preserved in perpetuity to mark Her Majesty’s lifetime of service to the Commonwealth.”
Tuesday evening at Buckingham Palace, The Queen and The Duke of Edinburgh hosted a reception focusing on the forestry projects of the QCC. Since it’s inception, 20 Commonwealth countries have participated, donating land or planting trees to contribute to the preservation effort. 10 other countries are finalising their plans. For instance, in Mauritius, five sites have been dedicated to increase forest cover.
The Princess Royal acknowledged the first QCC dedication when she visited Singapore recently. Canada’s contribution was the Great Bear Rainforest, which was unveiled by the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge during their Canadian tour. During his upcoming lengthy tour of the Caribbean, Prince Harry will visit several QCC dedication sites.
Prince Harry is to visit Antigua and Barbuda where a six-acre site is to be developed into an urban green space. In Belize, the QCC will collaborate with The Maya 2020 Project which aims to end all illegal deforestation and degradation within four years. Finally in Fiji, the Emalu Forest Conservation Area & Colo-i-Suva Forest Park have also been dedicated. Projects have also been dedicated in Jamaica, Malta, Namibia, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, The Caribbean & the UK.
During the reception, The Queen acknowledged the High Comissioners from the 20 participating countries by presenting them with a certificate of QCC partnership. Illustrations from various projects from countries were on display, such as Seychelles mission to plant 20,000 new trees and Australia’s to plant 20 million.
Also in attendance was Beyond Theatre award winner, multi-BAFTA award winner, British naturalist and broadcaster, Sir David Attenborough. Sir David had this to say to Her Majesty: “I am immensely grateful to Your Majesty for showing great leadership by putting your name to the Commonwealth Canopy. We are fortunate that you are still thinking about the future and how to make this a better world.”