‘Children will not be victims’: Meet the girl, 12, making a big impression at Cop27

Climate advocate from Libya delivers message of defiance

Revan Ahmed, 12, speaks at at Cop27 in Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt. Photo: Dalia Younis / Unicef
Beta V.1.0 - Powered by automated translation

A Libyan girl has cut through the politics at Cop27 to send a message to the world's leaders.

Driven to action by the critical situation in her home country, Revan Ahmed, 12, was the youngest member of the Unicef delegation attending the crucial climate talks in Sharm El Sheikh.

Libya has been torn apart by war. But it is also on the front lines of climate change where drought, intense dust storms and extreme heat are endangering lives.

Quote
Everything is becoming yellow, the weather is drier and drier
Revan Ahmed

The Year 7 pupil says children are refusing to be victims and are calling for action to stop climate change now.

“My favourite season is spring,” Revan told The National.

“I love seeing green everywhere. Recently, spring has changed, it’s yellow. Everything is becoming yellow and the weather is becoming drier and drier. This made me ask myself, why?”

Revan has spoken on climate issues in Libya and, this week, came to Cop27 with Unicef because she wanted her voice to be heard by decision-makers as they race to strike a climate deal by Friday.

“At first, I was a bit scared at Cop27 but then I became excited to be speaking for children in Libya and Africa,” she said. “I met with children like me. I felt that there are people more like me, concerned about climate change.”

Revan Ahmed with Ugandan advocate, Vanessa Nakate, at a Cop27 discussion on how to protect African children from the climate crisis. Photo: Dalia Younis / Unicef

Appearing alongside renowned Ugandan activist Vanessa Nakate, she said children were being forgotten in the debate because they didn’t have companies or spend a lot of money, and couldn’t vote.

“We are not decision-makers,” she said. “That is why we are easily ignored.

“My message to all world leaders is that we can’t change the situation alone. We need laws to be amended.

“We need new policies. We need to use renewable energy.”

Revan walks the walk too, encouraging her parents, three sisters and schoolmates to change to a more sustainable lifestyle. She dreams of becoming an astronaut when she grows up, but for now there is only one task.

“We all know that children are the leaders and adults of tomorrow,” she said.

“If you don’t listen to us now, when will you hear us? We are living the disasters now. We the children will not be victims. We want to change the situation.”

Cop27 continues in Sharm El Sheikh until Friday.

Updated: November 16, 2022, 11:53 AM
EDITOR'S PICKS
NEWSLETTERS
MORE FROM THE NATIONAL