As the Commonwealth celebrates Commonwealth Day 2023, under the theme Forging a sustainable and peaceful common future,, it is premised on a combination of active commitment of member states to support the promotion of peace, prosperity and sustainability, especially through climate action. The Minister of Environment, Jeanne d'Arc Mujawamariya said, an example of Rwanda’s commitment towards climate action can be observed through the dedication of Ruhande Arboretum Forest to the Queen's Commonwealth Canopy (QCC) project. ALSO READ: PHOTOS: Commonwealth Umuganda puts focus on tree planting The Queen's Canopy is a flagship program in the name of late Queen Elizabeth II that aims to protect forests across the Commonwealth. It has strict criteria for participation, including the endorsement of the relevant government and forestry or conservation authority, clear objectives that include sustainable forest conservation, and participation of local people in project management. ALSO READ: Gishwati forest: Why illegal activities persist despite conservation efforts The Ruhande Arboretum Forest, located in the Huye District in Rwanda's Southern Province, was established in 1934 on Ruhande Hill. It surrounds University of Rwanda, Huye Campus, covering 200 hectares. The forest is devoted to conservation, scientific research, and educational purposes. The forest also hosts a variety of wild animal species, including monkeys, gazelles, birds, bats, and insects. What makes the Ruhande Arboretum Forest unique is its collection of 178 indigenous and non-native tree species, totalling more than 320,000 trees. The gardens offer a great place for outdoor activities and exercise with fresh crisp air. ALSO READ: Protecting and restoring Rwanda’s natural forests The Arboretum is recognized as the most reputable seed orchard in Rwanda where it is classified as the gene bank of forest germplasm and planting materials of Rwandan forests. According to the University of Rwanda, the forest plays a key role in their academic activities, their community is involved in the daily management and protection of the forest. Furthermore, the management of the Arboretum is directly linked to that of the National Tree Seed Center, responsible for seed collection, handling, processing, and distribution of forest planting materials. Cooperatives also play a prominent role in the management and protection of the Arboretum as it is the main source of forest planting materials in Rwanda. ALSO READ: COP26: More than 100 countries pledge to end deforestation by 2030 Given the significant role that the Arboretum of Ruhande plays in the management of forests and its substantial influence on the microclimate of the surrounding environment, the Government of Rwanda took action to conserve the area for the present and future generations. According to the Queen's Commonwealth Canopy, dedication of the Arboretum of Ruhande to the QCC project confirms the commitment of the Rwandan government to forest conservation while raising the general profile of the forest sector in Rwanda. The accreditation process for the Queen's Canopy Reserve was coordinated by the Royal Commonwealth Society in consultation with Cool Earth and the Commonwealth Forestry Association to ensure that the Arboretum of Ruhande met the criteria for QCC inclusion. ALSO READ: Govt turns to agroforestry to increase forest cover The designation for the Ruhande Arboretum is a significant achievement for Rwanda, which has shown its commitment to forest conservation and sustainability. The selection of the Ruhande Arboretum as a Queen's Canopy Reserve is a recognition of Rwanda's efforts to protect its natural resources and support sustainable development, which will benefit the current and future generations.