By Robert Tapfumaneyi
UNICEF Zimbabwe has appointed Nkosilathi Nyathi (17) as a UNICEF Youth Climate Advocate to advance the climate and environment agenda in Zimbabwe and mobilise other young people to join the fight against climate change.
The appointment comes as UNICEF commemorates World Children’s Day on November 20, under the theme: “Reimagining a Greener more Sustainable Future, for Every Child”.
Nkosi, who lives in the resort town of Victoria Falls, has been an advocate for climate change and environmental issues since he was 10 years old and participated in his school’s environmental club.
Since 2015, he has been engaged with UNICEF as well as Greenline Africa ambassador advocating for climate action at many events and giving a voice on climate change in Zimbabwe and Africa.
“This appointment gives me a greater opportunity to lend a voice for the youth around climate change because we are the future,” Nkosi said.
“I am excited and ready to work with others in saving our planet and protecting children from the impact of climate change and environmental degradation.”
“I live it, my family and friends live it too. I stand in solidarity with countless young people who want their voices to be heard and acted upon for climate action.
“We are becoming more certain that we will be heard and those in power will listen,” he said.
Over the years Nkosi’s passion for climate change issues, which stem from the continued environmental degradation he has witnessed in his hometown, has motivated him to participate in important climate change initiatives around the world.
In 2019, he travelled to the COP25 Climate Summit in Spain.
There, Nkosi joined voices with other young people from around the world calling on world leaders to urgently address the climate and biodiversity challenges facing the globe today.
In February 2020, Nkosi participated in the sixth session of the African Regional Summit on Sustainable Development in Victoria Falls, making a passionate opening speech in the presence of world leaders including the United Nations Deputy Secretary-General, Amina Mohammed, and President Emmerson Mnangagwa.
“UNICEF has worked with and supported Nkosi in his climate activism for some years and we are proud to be part of his journey and excited to formalise his appointment as a UNICEF youth climate advocate,” said Laylee Moshiri, UNICEF Zimbabwe representative.
“Climate change is a child rights issue, and it very important that awareness is raised among young people, by young people to drive hope for a better future – one with a safe and secure environment.”
The World Children’s Day is UNICEF’s global day of action for children, by children, marking the adoption of the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) on November 20, 1989.