United Nations is supporting an ambitious project to plant a band of trees across the Sahel region of Africa. The goal is to reduce the threat of desertification and combat climate change.
The Sahel region of Africa stretches eastward across the continent from the Atlantic Ocean and is located south of the Sahara desert.
It covers parts of Senegal, Mauritania, Mali, Burkina Faso, Niger, Nigeria, Chad and Sudan to Eritrea.
Planting has begun in Burkina Faso on what is known as the Great Green Wall.
In recent years, the Sahel has been in the global spotlight due to famines, religious terrorism, anti-state rebellions, and arms, drugs and human trafficking. These developments are the product of both local and global dynamics. They remain substantial challenges for the region.
The UN says 85 million people are expected to leave the Sahel by 2050 but the agency hopes that this initiative could break that cycle of migration.
Organizers want the tree planting project to kick-start crop development which could improve food security and create thousands of new jobs in agriculture.