Local TD, Denis Naughten today helped plant the first of thousands of trees as part of the Great Green Wall initiative, an African-led movement with the ambition to grow an 8,000km natural barrier to stop the progress of the Sahara desert right across the entire width of Africa.
As part of this initiative the Society of African Missions and the Irish Tree Council have developed the Laudato Tree project. The Laudato Tree project was formally launched by Denis Naughten on 8 August 2018 and aims to contribute to the Great Green Wall initiative by linking the planting of trees in Ireland with increasing support for the planting of trees along the Sahel region of Africa.
The first 13 trees to be planted in Ireland were planted today by Denis Naughten TD, Fr. Maurice Henry, SMA, Joseph McConville, President of the Tree Council of Ireland, with the assistance of the Cathaoirleach of Roscommon County Council, Cllr. Ivan Connaughton, Cllr Kathleen Shanagher, Cllr Orla Leyden and Sarah Scott on behalf of Roscommon County Council.
Speaking at the symbolic planting of 13 trees, (one representing Ireland and each of the African countries where the project will be delivered), Denis Naughten said “the Laudato Tree project will increase Irish biodiversity and contribute to our own climate mitigation efforts, while also raising Irish awareness of and support for the wider Great Green Wall initiative. The awe-inspiring concept of the Great Green Wall, a band of 8,000km of green and productive landscapes, which will halt the southward spread of the Sahara Desert, is one I have been keen to support.”
Commenting on his own support for the wider Great Green Wall initiative, Denis Naughten pointed out that as Minister he had progressed this initiative with the Executive Secretary to the UN Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) .
“I have conveyed Ireland’s support for the important work of the UNCCD in progressing the Great Green Wall initiative. I also allocated funding of up to €1.2 million to provide a solid foundation for the further development of this initiative within the UNCCD, to take this great concept and put a roadmap on it, towards delivering the project by 2030”.
“I am personally attracted to the Great Green Wall initiative because of the global challenge we have in relation to climate migration. In its recent Groundswell report, the World Bank stated that 140 million people could be forced to become migrants because of climate change by 2050. We are seeing this on a micro scale here in the West of Ireland where families who have lived for generations in their homes have been forced to move due to flooding”.
“The Great Green Wall initiative is not just about building a wall of greenery to hold back the desert; but also about providing opportunities and bringing economic development to communities along the route, giving people a future in their own home place and chance to contribute to their own economy.”
“This initiative is about growing a world wonder; once complete, the Great Green Wall will be the largest living structure on the planet, 3 times the size of the Great Barrier Reef. But what is really great about this is that the Wall promises to be a compelling solution to the many urgent threats not only facing the African Continent, but the global community as a whole – notably climate change, drought, famine, conflict and migration” concluded Denis Naughten.
Notes for Editors
UN Convention to Combat Desertification
The UN Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) came into force in 1994 having been adopted at the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development in Rio de Janerio in 1992 at the same time as the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change. The Convention is the sole legally binding international agreement linking environment and development to sustainable land management. The Convention addresses specifically the arid, semi-arid and dry sub-humid areas, known as the drylands, where some of the most vulnerable ecosystems and peoples can be found.
The Convention’s 196 parties work together to improve the living conditions for people in drylands, to maintain and restore land and soil productivity, and to mitigate the effects of drought. The UNCCD is particularly committed to a bottom-up approach, encouraging the participation of local people in combating desertification and land degradation. The UNCCD secretariat facilitates cooperation between developed and developing countries, particularly around knowledge and technology transfer for sustainable land management.
Great Green Wall Initiative
The Great Green Wall Initiative was launched in 2007 by the African Union, with support from the secretariat to the UNCCD and the UN Sustainable Development Goals Action Campaign. It aims to create 8,000 km of productive landscapes by supporting efforts from local communities to sustainably manage forests, rangelands and other natural resources in dry lands. Since its launch, the initiative has evolved into a more holistic programme of development targeting sustainable livelihoods, job creation and climate resilience in the countries concerned. For further information, see https://www.unccd.int/actions/great-green-wall-initiative
The Society of African Missions inaugurated the Laudato Tree project in March 2018. Laudato Tree was formally launched in Roscommon on 8 August 2018 and aims to contribute to the Great Green Wall initiative by linking the planting of trees in Ireland with increasing support for the planting of trees along the Sahel region of Africa.