President Higgins hosted a reception in support of the "Laudato Tree" project.
Inspired by Pope Francis' 2015 environmental encyclical "Laudato Si" and the "Great Green Wall" project across 11 African countries, the "Laudato Tree" project aims to build support for climate action and tree planting, in Ireland and the Sahel region.
You can read, or listen to, the President's speech, by clicking on the links below.
President Higgins has spoken on many occasions of the importance of tackling desertification, and its causes, including poverty, food insecurity, climate change, land degradation and policies that marginalise people, while highlighting that our future prosperity and well-being depend fundamentally on our ability to protect and restore our natural environment.
"All of us with our different capacities and resources must challenge ourselves to come up with solutions to the unresolved issues of global poverty, food insecurity, desertification, unsustainable levels of debt, distorted trade and well-documented abuses of power."
- President Higgins, Edinburgh, June 2016
"Desertification, soil degradation, water contamination, increased frequency of storms and other extreme weather events are all caused by climate change resulting from emissions in the industrialised world, and all disproportionately affect the poorest regions, who are deprived of the capacity to respond, sometimes strangled by debt and often too excluded from the benefits of science and technology, not only in food security, but in health itself."
- President Higgins, Washington, October 2015