Seventeen-year-old Nkosilathi Nyathi from Victoria Falls has been appointed United Nations Children’s Fund (Unicef) youth climate advocate to advance the climate and environment agenda in Zimbabwe as well as mobilise other youths to take a stand against climate change.
BY Phyllis Mbanje
A strong advocate since the age of 10, Nkosi is passionate about environmental issues.
He has been engaged with Unicef as well as Greenline Africa on many platforms since 2015 to advocate for action against climate change, providing a voice of young people about climate change in Zimbabwe and Africa.
The appointment comes as Unicef commemorates World Children’s Day tomorrow, under the theme Reimagining a Greener More Sustainable Future, for Every Child.
Zimbabwe has not been spared from the effects of global warming and over the past few years, it has been experiencing successive droughts, exposing its population to food insecurity.
Nkosi said his appointment would afford him an opportunity to influence youths to support initiatives taken against climate change.
“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,” he said.
“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 to us,” 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 to join young people from around the globe who called on world leaders to address the climate and biodiversity challenges facing the world today.
In February 2020, Nkosi participated during the sixth session of the African regional summit on sustainable development in Victoria Falls, delivering a passionate opening speech in the presence of world leaders who included United Nations deputy secretary-general Amina Mohammed.
“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 Unicef Zimbabwe representative, Laylee Moshiri.
“Climate change is a child rights issue, and it is 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.”
World Children’s Day is a Unicef day of action for children, by children, marking the adoption of the Convention on the Rights of the Child on November 20 1989. On this day, Unicef advocates and raises awareness for the most pressing issues facing children.