2016 Advocate Aehshatou Manu of Cameroon visited NYC during UN Climate Week in her capacity as a member of REALEAC, a network of Indigenous Peoples and Local Communities (IPLCs) in Central Africa. With the support of the Rainforest Foundation US, the Global Alliance of Territorial Communities (GATC), a coalition of IPLCs from Latin America, Africa, and Asia, invited representatives of member organizations including REALEAC to attend.
Aehshatou wrote: “During our one week in New York, we had several activities, including two protests to denounce the destruction of our Mother Earth. It was also symbolic because we did one in front of the New York Stock Exchange to denounce those who finance companies that destroy the environment. We also talked about the carbon market and the need to provide direct support to indigenous and local communities’ organizations that work directly with communities at grassroots levels. We also presented to donors our SHANDIA model, which is a platform for direct financing to IPLCs [who are working to] stop climate change and land degradation. Our slogan is ‘Indigenous Peoples and Local Communities are the solution to climate change and must be at the decision table to ensure their opinion are taken into consideration.’” She reported that she participated in the following with other attendees: the Visibility March, a press briefing, meetings with stakeholders including UN agencies and funders, a New York Times photoshoot, Interviews with different media outlets, an event for the women of GATC, and Friday for Future Strike.
She added that she and her colleagues discussed how IPLCs will ensure their participation in the upcoming UN Climate Change Conference 27 in Egypt. She concluded: “The week ended on a positive note with many new partnerships for the GATC and its member organizations.”