By supporting small-scale agricultural producers, policy makers in governments and donor agencies can help some of the poorest people in the world to improve their livelihoods. Unfortunately, evidence suggests that most donor and government policies are currently biased towards large-scale agriculture at the expense of small-scale producers, women, and rural communities.
Bananas sold by Dole in New Zealand carry a sticker that says “Ethical Choice”. A research report undertaken by Philippines research organisations and released by Oxfam New Zealand today, suggests that the treatment of workers on Dole’s Philippine banana plantations is anything but ethical. These are the plantations that supply bananas for the New Zealand market.
We need a new approach to risk and poverty reduction.
Major external risks, such as climate change and food price volatility, are increasing faster than attempts to reduce them. Many risks are dumped on poor people, and women face an overwhelming burden.
The human cost of Syria’s conflict has risen beyond all expectations. In January, the UN predicted 1.1 million refugees by June. This April, there are already 1.3 million. Inside Syria itself, 6.8 million people struggle in urgent need of assistance.
As the numbers grow, however, the money to help some of those refugees and displaced people is running out. UN appeals have received only half of what they sought – to help far fewer people than they now need to assist.
In 2012, the Sahel was once again hit by a severe food crisis affecting more than 18 million people. The region’s governments, donors and aid agencies were determined to avoid mistakes made in the response to previous crises. But while their response was better in many respects, there were still some critical shortcomings. The poorest families and communities suffered most, as deep-seated inequalities made some people far more vulnerable than others. While continuing to address the enormous humanitarian and recovery needs in the region, we also must all learn the lessons from the 2012 response and develop a new model that will allow better prevention and management of future crises. The growing momentum around the concept of resilience offers considerable potential to achieve this, but only if all actors work together to turn rhetoric into action that brings lasting improvements for the poorest communities across the Sahel.
The outcomes of the UN climate talks in Doha in 2012 were out of step with what the science says is required to reduce emissions, and they completely failed to ensure the support needed by millions of poor women and men who are facing climate-related shocks of increasing frequency and severity. To secure an ambitious global climate agreement in 2015, developed countries will need to demonstrate a track record of year-on-year increases in climate finance over 2012-2015 and a credible pathway for continued increases up to 2020. For these goals to be realised crucial steps are needed in 2013.
Arms and bullets continue to destroy lives. Every continent in the world is marred by devastation caused by armed violence. Yet there is still no effective international regulation of the global arms trade. The need for an Arms Trade Treaty (ATT), which will create globally binding regulation of the international trade in conventional weapons for the first time, is greater than ever. Negotiators at the second and final Diplomatic Conference in March 2013 must deliver a treaty text that holds countries to the highest standards.
Oxfam’s Behind the Brands scorecard shows major gaps in the policies of the “Big 10” food and beverage companies when it comes to protecting and promoting women’s rights. Substantial evidence shows that women get a raw deal in food and beverage company supply chains and companies are failing to adequately address the challenges. An Oxfam investigation into how women fare in cocoa supply chains in four countries revealed stories of neglect, inequality and unfair treatment. Although they do not directly employ or control them, this report shows how Mars, Mondelez and Nestle, three of the most powerful chocolate producers in the world, must help lead an effort to bring about equality for women cocoa producers and women workers throughout food and beverage company supply chains.
Sustainable development that reduces poverty and inequalities in the Pacific is realistic and achievable, but a continuing challenge is ensuring that development strategies are inclusive of those most in need. Oxfam New Zealand initiated this research to deepen our understanding of the contribution that New Zealand businesses currently make to sustainable development in the Pacific. [PDF, 780 kb]
US proposals under the Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA) to exacerbate Vietnam’s access to medicines crisis