A few days after returning to Cameroon from COP27 in Sharm El-Sheikh Egypt, I had to prepare for the UN Global Climate Change Summit in the United States of America. I was still basking in the warmth of the memories of my first Conference of the Parties, sponsored by the African Climate Reality Project (ACRP), where I got to tell my climate action story on several platforms, and watch African voices for Africa’s Forest across a number of screens.
The experience was more than I could have ever imagined; I attended conversations on climate finance, Indigenous rights, and Loss and Damage. I also took part in several campaigns, including “Don’t Gas Africa”. And then came the zoom call from the University of Colorado Boulder, inviting me to share my climate story. An exciting moment that I celebrated with the ACRP team!
I returned to Cameroon and began the traumatic process of applying for a visa to the U.S.A. Many Africans will understand why I describe this experience as traumatic, as securing a visa interview appointment is often a challenge. After resigning myself to the fact that I would attend the Summit virtually – guess what?! I secured an interview and was granted a one-year visa!
I was finally on board a plane to the USA to Speak at the UN Global Climate Summit as a youth delegate from Cameroon! Exciting! As I felt the plane lift off, I remember thinking, I made it!
It was finally time for me to get on stage, and talk about “Developing Climate Solutions With the Human Rights of Future Generations in Mind: What do youth have to say about that?” I shared my experience at COP 27, my work with women and schools in rural Cameroon, and guided the over 4000 audience members to watch the award winning documentary “African Voices for Africa’s Forests”. I ended the conversation by quoting a line from the film “when we take care of our environment, we are actually taking care of ourselves”.
The cherry on top, was interacting with the keynote speaker, Mary Robinson, the first female and seventh president of Ireland – and a Climate advocate like me.