U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres drew a direct link between climate change and a locust crisis in East Africa, speaking in Addis Ababa ahead of an African Union (AU) summit due to start Sunday.
"There is a link between climate change and the unprecedented locust crisis plaguing Ethiopia and East Africa. Warmer seas mean more cyclones generating the perfect breeding ground for locusts. This is getting worse by the day," Guterres said Saturday.
An infestation of locusts is making its way across East Africa in the worst outbreak in 25 years and could lead to famine in a region already struggling with food insecurity.
The infestation has affected Ethiopia, Somalia, Kenya, Eritrea and Sudan and threatens to spread to Uganda and South Sudan.
At a press conference, Guterres also expressed concern about instability in the Sahel region and about the conflict in Libya, with security to be a key theme of the 33rd AU summit.
"I believe that we have to restore Libya's sovereignty," he said. "We fully support a forum that is organized by the AU to create reconciliation."
"This is the case with the Sahel region too," he continued, suggesting a broader international coalition to combat terrorism in the region.