Women Artisans, Farmers, Fisherfolk Among Those at Forefront of Dominica’s Efforts to Become the World’s First Climate-resilient Nation

May 10, 2022

The Government of the Commonwealth of Dominica, in partnership with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)’s Enabling Gender-Responsive Disaster Recovery, Climate and Environmental Resilience in the Caribbean (ENGenDER) Project, and with support from the Governments of Canada and the United Kingdom (UK), on Wednesday launched the “Working Towards a Gender Responsive Climate Resilient Dominica” Project.

The ultimate outcome  of the USD 300,000 project is to support improved climate resilience for women, girls and key vulnerable populations.

Activities taking place under the project include turning debris from Hurricane Maria into a profitable jewelry-making business, graduating women from needing public assistance to running successful smallholder farms, and improving the earning potential and functionality of the fishing industry.  These activities will all enable women in the Nature Isle to increase their resilience to climate impacts.

Speaking via video message during Wednesday’s launch event, High Commissioner of Canada to Barbados and the Eastern Caribbean, Her Excellency Lilian Chatterjee said disasters have imposed significant costs on the Dominican economy and the people of Dominica, leading to major declines in economic growth.

“Yes, we must help everyone, but it is very important to be efficient in our preparedness and response,” she said.  “Women are impacted differently, so we must tailor our approach to prepare and respond differently.  [This] project…will further contribute to the pursuit of gender responsiveness, climate change resiliency through data collection, capacity building and the implementation of diverse climate actions based on national adaptive gaps and needs.“

The Government of the UK, through its development programme in the Caribbean has been helping to build climate resilience across the Region for many years. Deputy British High Commissioner to Barbados and the Eastern Caribbean, His Excellency Craig Fulton, noted that the impact of Hurricane Maria created new and even larger needs which may make the task of supporting Dominica’s goal of becoming the world’s first climate resilient nation seem a challenging objective, but reinforced his government’s commitment to supporting this essential endeavor. 

“Today’s activity highlights another major step in the partnership we have with Dominica, recognizing the need for robust data to support the policies that protect the vulnerable to ensure that all persons have the tools needed to face climate change,” he said.

During the launch, it was further highlighted that other EnGenDER projects in Dominica will assist with building resilience among  the island’s indigenous Kalinago communities and persons living with disabilities.

“With the introduction of the new Ministerial portfolio “Seniors Security and Dominicans with Disabilities,” and being given the first opportunity to lead in this portfolio, it has always been my Ministry’s priority to ensure that vulnerable populations, including seniors, persons with disabilities, women, men, youth, boys and girls, among others, have equitable access to project benefits,” Dr. Adis King, Minister of Youth Development and Empowerment, Youth at Risk, Gender Affairs, Seniors Security and Dominicans with Disabilities said while addressing those attending the launch.  “Gender equality also plays an important role in the lives of persons with disabilities and their families,” she added.

The UNDP EnGenDER Project is funded by the Governments of Canada and the UK, and has been operating since 2020 to further integrate gender equality and human rights-based approaches into disaster risk reduction, climate change adaptation and environmental management frameworks in nine  Caribbean countries – Antigua and Barbuda, Belize, Dominica, Grenada, Guyana, Jamaica, Saint Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines and Suriname.

Speaking to the project’s reach, Valerie Cliff, Resident Representative UNDP Barbados and the Eastern Caribbean, stated, “Through the continued support of the Government of Canada and the UK, our EnGenDER Project allows UNDP to expand our work in Dominica and apply a much needed gender lens on activities. This important initiative will further promote gender equality and boost climate resilience for the whole of society.”

In Dominica, the Project partnered with Government during the COVID-19 pandemic to provide 150 unemployed and single-parent-headed households with income support, while developing successful awareness campaigns to prevent gender-based violence.  And in February 2022, in partnership with the Ministry of Environment, Rural Modernization and Kalinago Upliftment, the EnGenDER project supported the development of a comprehensive livelihood assessment for Dominica’s indigenous population, that aimed to address their specific vulnerabilities to climate impacts and find solutions to improve their resilience and enhance their livelihoods.

As exogenous threats like COVID-19 continue to impact the region, it is vital that developmental efforts continue to reinforce the need for regional resilience, building forward better build and bolstering livelihoods for traditionally vulnerable groups. UNDP Barbados and the Eastern Caribbean, in partnership with governments and stakeholders, remains dedicated to the advancement of inclusive and sustainable development throughout the region. This intervention is part of the work of UNDP Barbados and the Eastern Caribbean in its commitment to promoting economic diversification, job creation and resilience with the "Blue Economy for Green Islands" vision.



UNDP is the leading United Nations organisation fighting to end the injustice of poverty, inequality and climate change. Working with our broad network of experts and partners in 170 countries, we help nations to build integrated lasting solutions for people and planet. Learn more at www.bb.undp.org or follow at @UNDPBarbados


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Marsha Branch: marsha.branch@undp.org