SMA Nominated for major United Nations Award

In recognition of your excellent work, we… nominate the Society of African Missions for the 2018-19 UNCCD ‘Land for Life’ Awards, which provides global recognition to individuals and organizations whose work and initiatives have made a significant contribution to scaling-up action in protecting and rehabilitating land resources worldwide.
Monique Barbut, United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification

One of the main exhibits at the World Meeting of Families, Dublin, is ‘Planting Trees of Hope’ (Hall 4) created by the Society of African Missions (SMA). The exhibit, inspired by the environmental encyclical of Pope Francis, Laudato Si’, aims to combat the threat posed by Global Warming through increasing biodiversity in Ireland and championing Africa’s epic Great Green Wall.

The Laudato Tree Project has engaged both the Irish Presidency and the Irish Government, both of which, through the efforts of one of Ireland’s oldest missionary society’s, have committed to champion the cause of Africa’s Great Green Wall.

Cardinal John Dew, Wellington, Australia, experiencing the Great Green Wall virtual reality film at the SMA Stand

In March 2018 the Executive Secretary of the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification, Monique Barbut, attended the inauguration of the Laudato Tree and Great Green Wall Project by President Michael D. Higgins.

The following day the SMA arranged for Madam Barbut to meet with several Government Ministers, including the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment (CCAE), Denis Naughten, TD. Earlier this month Minister Naughten announced that the Irish Government are providing the UNCCD with €1.2 million for a major inventory of the Great Green Wall project, after which the Government of Ireland will work with the UNCCD to help upscale the project for its 2030 delivery date.

The nomination will be formally announced tomorrow evening (Friday) at a special multi-faith Laudato Si’ vigil service on the eve of Pope Francis’ visit to Ireland, which the SMA and partners are organizing at Christ Church Cathedral, Dublin, in the presence of the Managing Director of the UNCCD’s Global Mechanism, Mr. Juan Carlos Mendoza.

Announcing the nomination of the SMA for the UN award, Madam Barbut stated:

During our meeting in Dublin earlier this year, I was deeply impressed by the passionate commitment of the Society of African Missions’ in supporting worldwide efforts to achieve the 2030 Great Green Wall vision.

President Michael D. Higgins and Mrs Sabina Higgins welcome Madam Monique Barbut to Aras an Uachtaráin for the inauguration of the SMA Laudato Tree Project

In recognition of your excellent work, we would like to nominate the Society of African Missions for the 2018-19 UNCCD ‘Land for Life’ Awards, which provides global recognition to individuals and organizations whose work and initiatives have made a significant contribution to scaling-up action in protecting and rehabilitating land resources worldwide.

The Society of African Missions has learned that the Irish President will, during his meeting with Pope Francis on Saturday at Aras an Uachtaráin (during which Pope Francis will plant a tree) speak about the SMA Laudato Tree Project and Africa’s Great Green Wall.

The SMA has asked President Higgins to speak to Pope Francis about an invitation from the President and religious leaders of Burkina Faso to visit the Sahel region of Africa to see for himself the impact of Global Warming and how the people of Burkina Faso and the region are working to combat the impact of desertification through growing the Great Green Wall.

Editor’s Note: For further information on the Great Green Wall, please refer to the following links:

For the Great Green Wall click here.

For the SMA Laudato Tree Project click here. 

The full letter sent by Madam Barbut to Fr Maurice Henry SMA stated:

Dear Fr Henry,

I would like to express my sincere appreciation for the support of the Society of African Missions in helping to advance the Government of Ireland forthcoming contribution to the UNCCD in support of the Great Green Wall.

Fr. Maurice Henry SMA engages with Nigerian visitors at the SMA/UNCCD stand the World Meeting of Families

During our meeting in Dublin earlier this year, I was deeply impressed by the passionate commitment of the society of African Missions’ in supporting worldwide efforts to achieve the 2030 Great Green Wall vision.

In this regard, I am most grateful for your plans to fundraise on behalf of the UNCCD, through the Laudato Tree programme, both during the World Meeting of Families and beyond. I have no doubt that the funds raised will make a tangible difference to many of the communities living on the very frontline of climate change in northern Ghana and southern Burkina Faso, who are faced with the looming threat of natural resource degradation, poverty, migration and impending climate breakdown.

In recognition of your excellent work, we would like to nominate the Society of African Missions for the 2018-19 UNCCD ‘Land for Life’ Awards, which provides global recognition to individuals and organization whose work and initiatives have made a significant contribution to scaling-up action in protecting and rehabilitating land resources worldwide.

The winner of the Award will be announced on World Day to Combat Desertification on June 17, 2019, and invited to attend the award ceremony at the next UN Global Desertification Summit – know as the UNCCD Conference of the Parties – in the autumn of next year. My team will be in touch with further details on this matter.

The African Union Coordinator of the Great Green Wall is interviewed by Austrian journalists at the SMA stand

Finally, I would like to reserve a special thank you to Mr. Don Mullan, who has shown relentless determination, energy and passion for this project, and whose original interest has been so fundamental in mobilizing support at the highest levels of Government and civil society within Ireland.

I look much forward to our continued engagement. Due to previous commitments, I will not unfortunately be able to attend the World Meeting of Families in person; however I have designated my colleague Mr Juan Carlos Mendoza – Managing Director of the Global Mechanism of the UNCCD – to represent me at the event.

Yours sincerely,
Monique Barbut
Executive Secretary
United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD)
UN Campus, Platz der Vereinten Nationen 1, D-53113, Bonn, Germany