Spotlight a GEDA Member: Barranquilla+20

This interview was specifically developed for GEDA Insights, GEDA’s newsletter, with the full consent of Barranquilla+20. For more information on Barranquilla+20 and their work, please contact 

  1. Please tell us a little bit about yourself and your work at Barranquilla+20.

I’m Sofía Gutiérrez, a 22-year-old climate justice and feminist activist from Colombia. I have been a climate educator and project co-creator for more than 5 years in youth led projects.  For the past 2 years I have been part of the Colombian network women for climate justice converged by Barranquilla+20 Foundation, to support the communications and media for grassroots processes of women social environmental defenders, our advocacy at COPs as well as to support other projects for youth and women developed by the organization. 

I have been also actively participating with the policy making agendas specially on the international level, advocating for better policies and governance for the human rights, gender equality and climate action. 

2. Why is data at the intersection of gender and environment/climate important to Barranquilla+20?

As an environmental and women-led NGO working to support the community-led processes of territorial defense across the country, we acknowledge that women are the ones leading the climate action in Colombia and by recollecting the specific data through the lived experiences of women environmental and social defenders per region, the identification of challenges allows for a more specific and effective development of policy agendas that actually benefit the territories. As well as by supporting the capacity building among women and girls to empower them and lead their own data collection processes identifying the needs of the community in order to prioritize the benefit of the communities. 

3. What inspired Barranquilla+20 to become part of GEDA? 

Barranquilla+20 Foundation with its work supporting GEDA’s mission and objectives  at local level. We find alignment with GEDA in the democratization of data for gender and environmental issues. Because of this, we  were inspired  to become part of the Gender and Environment Data Alliance (GEDA) due to the recognition of the critical importance of data at the intersection of gender and the environment/climate.

By joining GEDA, Barranquilla+20 aims to leverage the power of data to address the unique challenges faced by women environmental and climate and social leaders, activists and defenders in Colombia. GEDA provides a platform for collaboration and knowledge-sharing among organizations like Barranquilla+20 that are committed to advancing gender-responsive environmental policies and empowering women and girls in environmental decision-making processes. Through GEDA, Barranquilla+20 can access resources, tools, and networks to strengthen their data collection efforts, amplify the voices of women environmental defenders, and advocate for more inclusive and effective environmental policies at the local, national, and international levels.

4. It was great to learn more about your work at the GEDA COP28 Side Event: Roots of Change. Can you share with us some of the main points you raised at that event? What stood out to you from that discussion?

The data must come from the needs of the communities and should serve its main purpose of supporting the community, avoiding the extractivism of knowledge that is usually not shared with the community. This way of doing this is part of the problem and it should be changed to a more community-led approach. Organizations should provide support in capacity building for communities to lead their own research. 

It is important to acknowledge the educational barriers and the limitation to access to information within areas that have historically been impoverished.  Often the methods of data collection erase the sensibility and ignore the wellbeing of the communities, which is why our duty as organizations is to always have a holistic approach to collect the data using the methods that guarantee the active and safe participation of communities.

5. What are your takeaways from COP28 in terms of gender and environment data?

It is crucial that all of the points of the agendas that are at stake at COP have a gender and a feminist approach. Gender approach should not be isolated, negotiators should have the adequate data on environment as well as in gender, taking into account that women are the vulnerable to the effects of the climate crisis, specially those from the territories that are most affected, and when policy making is made thinking in breaking barriers and addressing the challenges of those who are facing the worst impacts, then the policies will be effective for everyone. Currently, it was disappointing to see how the day that was supposed to be dedicated to gender was diminished, it is frustrating to see how we had to strongly advocate for e brief recognition of the needs of a just transition with a gender equity it was extremely frustrating to see how not even the negotiators had an urgency for a gender justice.

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