United Nations (UN) Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres says climate change is the biggest threat to humankind.

He was speaking on the sidelines of the 33rd African Union (AU) Heads of State and Government summit in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia where South Africa has taken over the chairmanship of the organisation for the year.  This year’s AU Summit is being held under the theme: “Silencing the Guns: Creating Conducive Conditions for Africa’s Development”. The summit will take stock of progress made and challenges to peace, stability and sustainable development in Africa.

Guterres says there is still not enough political will for countries to do what is necessary to curtail the effects of climate change and Africa is suffering the most.

“We insist that countries commit to cutting carbon by 2050, we need to defeat climate change because climate change is defeating us. A continent like Africa is really in the frontline. Africa contributes very little to climate change but Africa is suffering the impact of climate change in a dramatic way, in storms like Mozambique recently, in drought, locusts. One of the things that create confrontations between farmers and herders is the fact that climate change is increasing drought in a very dramatic way,” says  Guterres.

Guterres has also urged Africa to be prepared to contain the spread of the coronavirus.

He says he hopes the virus, that has already claimed more than 811 lives in China, will be stopped before it becomes a global pandemic.

“I think this is a huge challenge, I believe an enormous effort is being made but we still have a long way to go. African continent needs to be prepared. And we also need to avoid the stigmatisation of people, to have a human rights mind approach to this epidemic, but it is a big concern and I hope that we will be able to contain it before it becomes a global pandemic,” says Guterres.