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Truth Be Told: Caribbean Women, Leading Change, Unlocking Solutions

By: Derval Barzey, Founder, The Climate Conscious Podcast & Consultancy

The Caribbean has no shortage of brilliant women armed with solutions and strategies to address the climate crisis. Yet the imbalance in the representation of women in positions of power and decision-making can be observed in many spaces, including the climate space.


In 2022 The Climate Conscious Podcast joined forces with The Breadfruit Collective to host the inaugural Caribbean Women for Climate Justice (CW4CJ) conference. CW4CJ has since become an annual event that brings together people from across the region and the diaspora to discuss the intersection of climate change and gender justice in the Caribbean. The CW4CJ conference has created a much needed space for Caribbean people to exchange ideas, share knowledge and experiences, showcase their expertise, and offer perspectives and solutions for gender-just climate action.  


The main objectives are to close the gap in public education on climate and gender justice and promote an intersectional and intergenerational approach to climate action. In 2023, 50 civil society organisations who are working at the intersections of justice endorsed CW4CJ 2023 as community co-sponsors. Additionally, the conference attracted over five hundred (500) registrants from over forty (40) countries.

With the success of CW4CJ serving as a tool for community building, this has resulted in The Climate Conscious Podcast and The Breadfruit Collective being nominated to serve as Co leads for the Gender Working Group under the Caribbean Climate Justice Alliance (CCJA).

The various working groups of the CCJA crafted a call to actions for the Caribbean Climate Justice and Resilience Agenda 2023-2030, which was published by CANARI ahead of this year’s Conference of Parties (COP 28) One of the priorities for action is Increasing Awareness and Action for Climate, Gender and Social Justice. With this in focus, the current advocacy campaign was created: Truth Be Told: A Caribbean Call to Action on Climate and Gender Justice. The team continues to build upon the work started with CW4CJ, highlighting Caribbean women as powerful agents of change. These are key examples of Caribbean women leading movements, and becoming self-advocates. 


Here are some key takeaways from the ongoing advocacy work:


·  The importance of Grassroots Climate Organizing in the region, acknowledging the role of Caribbean people in developing solutions at the community level and supporting and resourcing community-based efforts that are positioned to respond to natural hazards and climate risks.


·  The value of deeper and wider Collaboration across generations and intersections of gender and other identities in addressing climate and gender justice, and recognising the contributions of women and youth who are at the forefront of climate change advocacy and activism in the Caribbean. Strong Networks and effective Collaboration across different advocacy areas enhance the reach and impact of advocacy efforts.


·  The need for Inclusive Data Collection to support advocacy efforts, having current, disaggregated, and applicable data to demonstrate the impact of climate change on vulnerable communities.


·  Potential to boost economic opportunities for persons by Integrating climate adaptation initiatives into rural and urban spaces, focusing on sustainable agriculture, localized and decarbonized transportation, and resilient infrastructure.


·  Implementing proactive planning for mitigation, disaster risk management, and disaster risk reduction can reduce climate risk faced by marginalized and vulnerable groups including women, people with disabilities, youth, elderly and indigenous persons.


The team continues to advocate for the inclusion of all marginalized and underrepresented voices, centering Women and girls, but making space for Youth, Indigenous people, Persons with Disabilities, LGBTQ+ persons and acknowledging that persons may have multiple identities and needs that must be considered within decision-making processes related to climate change. Gender-sensitive leadership and the application of a gender lens in various sectors such as government, business, industry, and communities are urgently needed to address the complex and interconnected issues of climate change.


Given the significance of the work being done in the Caribbean, the conversation is  shifting from a narrative from victimhood and vulnerability to leadership and resilience. This requires a radical change in how people are engaged, the quality of consultations, and the level of access to and participation in decision-making processes.


The Climate Conscious Podcast is an independent platform for communications and advocacy that amplifies the Caribbean perspective on climate change and sustainable development. Hosted by Derval Barzey, it features insightful conversations with guests as we advocate for inclusive, resilient, sustainable development through awareness and action. It creates awareness, capturing learnings, and telling our stories of resilience with authenticity. Tune in wherever you listen to podcasts. 

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