On the occasion of World Water Day, the Caribbean takes a step towards greater water resilience with the signature of an agreement between the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the Government of Canada. The Strengthening Resilient Water Resource Management in the Eastern Caribbean (W4R) Project, designed to support vulnerable communities in Grenada, Saint Lucia, and Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, was signed on March 23, 2023, by Linda Maguire, Deputy Regional Director for UNDP Latin America and the Caribbean, and Sharon Peake, Executive Director for the Caribbean Regional Development Program (CRDP), Global Affairs Canada.
The W4R project, funded by the Canadian government with a contribution of CAN $4,847,825.00 aims to enhance water resilience in communities that are particularly vulnerable to the impacts of climate change, including droughts, floods, and hurricanes. The project will provide access to clean water and promote sustainable water management practices in the Caribbean to support livelihoods, with a focus on women-headed households and women farmers.
“This project will help to enhance water resilience in the Caribbean, particularly for women-headed households and women farmers, and contribute to gender equality,” said Linda Maguire, emphasising the importance of the project. “Access to clean water and good water management practices are essential for sustainable development and poverty reduction, particularly in vulnerable communities.”
The W4R project will target women for specific aspects of support, such as new livelihood options through a “Cash-for-Trees” initiative, rainwater harvesting, and irrigation systems for women farmers as well as promoting female leadership in water management. By supporting vulnerable communities to develop community-driven water security solutions, the project aims to reduce gender vulnerabilities and contribute to sustainable development in the region.
“The impacts of climate change on water resources is an often overlooked aspect of climate change adaptation, Canada felt it was necessary to do more in this space,” said Sharon Peake. “Rainwater harvesting is a nature-friendly way of increasing water security and, when combined with strengthened ecosystem management, can have biodiversity benefits as well. We’re looking forward to our renewed partnership with UNDP and the exciting work ahead.”
The W4R project is part of UNDP Barbados and the Eastern Caribbean’s commitment to building resilient communities that can withstand shocks and crises while reducing gender vulnerabilities. As climate change effects become more prevalent in the region, it is vital that developmental efforts continue to reinforce the need for regional resilience and bolstering livelihoods for traditionally vulnerable groups.