A speech by The Duke of Cambridge at the launch of Canada's contribution to The Queen's Commonwealth Canopy

Published 26 September 2016

Her Majesty is immensely grateful to you, and the people of Canada, for the leadership you have shown in making this contribution

Ladies and Gentlemen, it gives me great pleasure to be here today as the Great Bear Rainforest is officially committed to the Queen's Commonwealth Canopy.  I would like to thank the Heiltsuk First Nation community for so welcoming us to their home.

Her Majesty has asked me to convey her sincere thanks to the Government of British Columbia, and the Federal Government of Canada, for nominating your innovative Ecosystem-Based Management programme in Great Bear to be part of The Queen's Commonwealth Canopy network. 

This is a substantial dedication which will highlight a more collaborative approach to sustainable forest conservation.  Other Commonwealth countries will benefit from sharing the knowledge and expertise you have gained by working together with First Nations, industry and environmental organisations to establish this unique forestry management programme.

The Queen's Commonwealth Canopy was launched by Her Majesty in Malta last year.  An appeal has been made to all 53 Commonwealth nations to contribute areas of indigenous forest, to be preserved in perpetuity in The Queen's name, marking Her Majesty's service to the Commonwealth.

I am pleased to say that more than 15 countries have already dedicated forestry projects or are planting new forests, with another 10 finalising their submissions.  By CHOGM 2018, it is expected that all 53 countries of the Commonwealth will have joined The Queen's Commonwealth Canopy, creating a global network of forests that will benefit indigenous communities, wildlife and tourism now, and into the future.  

The Commonwealth has at its heart always been about the values that bind its people. This project, focusing on our shared natural heritage, is no different. The establishment of the Canopy is a loud and unambiguous statement that the citizens of all Commonwealth countries believe that nature is fundamental to the health of our societies. When we protect our rivers, oceans, atmospheres, or like today,our forests, we are telling our children that their future prosperity cannot be disconnected from the health of the natural world.

Her Majesty is immensely grateful to you, and the people of Canada, for the leadership you have shown in making this contribution.  I have no doubt that other Commonwealth nations will be inspired by what you have achieved here.