Good Engineering Practices – Gender Mainstreaming in Water and Wastewater Climate Change Adaptation Projects: A Case Study for the Caribbean


Climate change and its impacts are not gender-neutral. Infrastructure projects developed to mitigate and or adapt to climate change impacts, will have different degrees of gender dimensions, based on the social and economic contexts within which populations are embedded.

Incorporating gender differences in climate projects is smart economics, and as such the Green Climate Fund (GCF) is the first international fund to mandate the integration of a “gender-sensitive approach” throughout project life cycles. Projects that systematically address, rather than reinforce gender inequalities that increase the vulnerability of specifics groups to climate change will provide greatest benefits and be most effective. As of July 2015 the Caribbean Community Climate Change Center was accredited as a regional implementing entity by the Board of the GCF, and now provides Caribbean nations access to over US $10 billion in funding, thus representing the newest and largest climate finance mechanism in the world.

With the exception of renewable energy projects, limited literature exists on creation of gender-responsive infrastructure projects. Particularly for the Small Island Developing States of the Caribbean, literature and tools for categorization of the gender dimension of water and wastewater infrastructure projects to determine the scope, and type of gender mainstreaming activities are absent.

This work presents practical guidelines, and approaches to mainstream and operationalize gender throughout the life cycle of water and wastewater infrastructure projects using the Green Climate Fund framework for a Food Energy Water nexus project.
The project presented reimagines the portfolio of a sustainable utility of the future, and aims to demonstrate how incorporating renewable energy, reducing non-revenue water losses (and thus embedded energy), and reusing resources found in wastewater in agriculture can lead to the mitigation of greenhouse gas emissions, and support climate change adaptation for small island nations throughout the world.

Key words: gender mainstreaming, climate finance, water and wastewater infrastructure projects, sustainable utilities


Wainella Isaacs and Maya Trotz, Ph.D.