IPC-IG Publishes Brief on Climate Change, Food Security and Gender in Caribbean SIDS

October 2012: The International Policy Centre for Inclusive Growth (IPC-IG) has released a Policy Research Brief that argues that small-scale, ecologically sensitive farming and fishing represents a way to: address food security by integrating sound farming practices and reduce import dependence; shelter domestic food markets from international prices; and protect biodiversity in Caribbean SIDS. 

The brief, titled “Food Security, Women Smallholders and Climate Change in Caribbean Small Island Developing States (SIDS),” was authored by Nidhi Tandon. It presents field observations from a study on agricultural policy, climate change, food security and gender in Antigua and Barbuda, Dominica and Haiti. It provides an overview of the agriculture sector and gender policies in each country. According to the brief, in Antigua and Barbuda farming has become a strategy for income security, though challenges include drought, labor prices, land availability and the lack of a planning unit at the Ministry of Agriculture.

Dominica's Bureau of Gender Affairs developed an Institutional Framework of Gender Mainstreaming that includes a Gender Management System, Management Team and Focal Points. Haiti faces challenges related to high levels of food imports, with 45% of its population facing food insecurity. Women in Haiti are among the most economically active women globally, although the brief notes that women do not participate equitably in Haiti's agricultural system. However, Haiti recognizes gender as a priority in the agricultural sector and initiated a Gender Action Plan to monitor gender in the agriculture sector and create financial literacy training programmes.

The study concludes that a successful food security policy for Caribbean SIDS depends on “meaningful and comprehensive engagement of the farming and fishing communities—both women and men—in working together to determine solutions.” It recommends: supporting women farmers to scale up their roles in biodiversity conservation, food security and health; and promoting organic farming to address ecosystem resilience and food security. The brief further calls for placing agriculture “at the heart of” climate change negotiations. UN Women Caribbean and IPC-IG supported the study.

IPC-IG is the global forum for policy dialogue and South-South learning on development innovations of the UN Development Programme (UNDP). It is jointly supported by UNDP and the Government of Brazil. [Publication: Food Security, Women Smallholders and Climate Change in Caribbean]