• UN Secretary-General António Guterres was speaking at the ordinary session of the African Union at its headquarters in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, on Sunday.
  • The UN official linked climate change to the locust crisis currently affecting East Africa.
  • The locusts have devastated food supplies in Kenya, Ethiopia and Somalia, with the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) describing the situation as the worst in 25 years.

The international community needs to roll up its sleeves and come to East Africa’s aid as the horn of Africa fights a losing battle against climate change and its severe effects.

UN Secretary-General António Guterres has bemoaned developed countries’ contribution to climate change, commending Africa for its political and moral leadership on the climate emergency.

Speaking at the ordinary session of the African Union at its headquarters in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, on Sunday, Guterres said developed countries’ need to respond with speed and generosity.

“The past 10 years have been the hottest recorded and globally, greenhouse gas emissions continue to rise. Africa is the least responsible for climate change disruption yet is among the first and worst to suffer. Its nations need assistance to build resilience to adapt to the inevitable impacts to come,” Guterres said.

António Guterres speaking at the ordinary session of the African Union at its headquarters in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, on Sunday. (twitter/antonioguterres)
António Guterres speaking at the ordinary session of the African Union at its headquarters in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, on Sunday. (twitter/antonioguterres)

The UN sec gen added that more ambition on mitigation, financing and adaptation to build the resilience of African countries was needed to allow for effective recovery and reconstruction.

Linking climate change to the locust crisis in East Africa, Guterres told heads of state in attendance, the UN was expanding its work to respond to the challenge with a development of analytical and programmatic guidance to address security risks in the horn of Africa, central Africa and the Sahel.

Last month, the Inter-Governmental Authority on Development (IGAD) warned countries within East Africa to fasten their belts and brace for food shortage after the biblical desert locusts invasion which have wreaked havoc in its path.

The locusts have devastated food supplies in Kenya, Ethiopia and Somalia, with the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) describing the situation as the worst in 25 years.

FAO confirmed that the locusts have damaged about 70,000 hectares of land in Somalia and neighboring Ethiopia, threatening food supplies in both countries and the livelihoods of farming communities.

Somalia declared a state of emergency this month as unusually large swarms of the hungry insects gorged on crops.

Desert Locusts
Desert Locusts

Meanwhile, the destructive insects have moved into Uganda.

"The locusts entered Uganda today" from Kenya, said Moses Kizige, the minister in charge of the northeastern Karamoja border region where the insects were spotted.

The desert locusts were first sighted in two sub-counties of Loroo and Kalita in Amudat on Sunday.