The Future is Equal

Archives for November 12, 2021

Oxfam reaction to AstraZeneca’s plan to take profits from the Covid vaccine

In response to the announcement that AstraZeneca is to move away from the non-profit model for COVID vaccines, Anna Marriott, Oxfam’s Health Policy Manager and spokesperson for the People’s Vaccine Alliance, said:

“AstraZeneca is breaking its repeated and celebrated public promises of a non-profit vaccine for all countries for the duration of this pandemic and to never to make a profit in any low- and middle-income country from this publicly funded vaccine. It is turning its back on these commitments at a time when the pandemic still rages and 98 per cent of people in the poorest countries are not yet fully vaccinated.

“While AstraZeneca has said the vaccine will remain non-profit for developing nations, we understand that 75 middle-income countries including Indonesia, The Philippines, South Africa and Zimbabwe are excluded from their commitment. AstraZeneca must immediately and unequivocally confirm that it will not profit from any sales of the vaccine for any low or middle-income country whether via bilateral deals or COVAX.

“With the number of people dying from COVID-19 rapidly rising above five million and given the development of this vaccine was 97 per cent funded by taxpayers and charities there can be no justification for this decision.

“It is time for the Oxford University to partner with the World Health Organisation so that this life-saving publicly funded vaccine technology can be shared as a global public good and produced by as many capable manufacturers around the world as possible.

“Broken promises from pharmaceutical corporations and rich country governments have been an enduring theme of this pandemic when it comes to vaccine access.  This is a further example of why the UK government can no longer defend the pharmaceutical monopolies driving today’s vaccine apartheid. It must immediately join over 100 countries including President Biden in supporting a temporary suspension of intellectual property for Covid-19 vaccines, tests and treatments so that everybody can be protected.”

Oxfam reaction to the first anniversary of the collapse of the ceasefire on Western Sahara

One year since the collapse of the 29-year ceasefire between the Frente Polisario and Morocco, Oxfam calls on all parties to create momentum to resume peace talks as soon as possible. The most recent escalation of violence in Western Sahara threatens regional stability, and will have devastating consequences for Sahrawi refugees, who have been stranded in camps in the Algerian desert for over 45 years.

Oxfam welcomes the long overdue appointment of the new UN Personal Envoy, Staffan de Mistura; it must be a catalyst for de-escalation. Oxfam calls on the international community to give meaningful support for the UN-led peace process with the voices of civil society, in particular those of women, youth and other marginalised groups firmly at the centre.

By renewing MINURSO’s mandate, the UNSC reaffirms its commitment to a just, sustainable and mutually acceptable political solution, which will ensure the self-determination of the people of Western Sahara[1] in line with international law, supported by multiple resolutions passed by the UN Security Council and the UN General Assembly.

Oxfam in Algeria has operated in the Sahrawi refugee camps alongside local partner organizations since the start of the crisis in 1975.  Every day we see how communities are suffering and losing hope for their future while the efforts for an inclusive, sustainable peace have failed. Today, 94 per cent of the over 173,000 Sahrawi refugees[2] are dependent on humanitarian aid to meet basic needs such as food, water and shelter. Malnutrition rates are climbing, with food security a reality for only 12 per cent of households.  This is a critical moment for the international community to stand with Sahrawi refugees and ensure that their rights, dignity and futures are protected after failing them for far too long.


[1]  Resolution 2602 (2021) adopted by the Security Council at its 8890th meeting, on 29 October 2021

[2] WFP, Food Security Assessment for Sahrawi refugees, 2018

Oxfam Aotearoa: Fossil of the Day award “embarrassing”

Oxfam Aotearoa has criticised the New Zealand government for winning the runner up for the “Fossil of the Day” award that Minister James Shaw received at COP26 overnight. The award, presented by the Climate Action Network (CAN), is given to the nation who has hindered COP26 negotiations the most. Oxfam Aotearoa Campaign Lead Alex Johnston said:

“It is embarrassing that our government is receiving such an ‘award’ on a global stage. This is not a good representation of Kiwis; this is not our kaupapa.”

CAN pointed out that the New Zealand government put out a revised Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) the night before COP, which Oxfam Aotearoa and other organisations said was inconsistent with the Paris Agreement due to its unambitious 2030 target. Oxfam previously reprimanded the updated NDC saying that it relies heavily on paying other countries to do the work for us. As CAN said in their release put out today:

“[Minister Shaw] said that just because a refreshing of the NDC has been asked of countries ‘it doesn’t mean we have to’. This comes from a country that gives off the ‘greener than thou’ vibe at the drop of a hobbits hat. Maybe we shouldn’t be surprised when it was brought to our attention that he’s also the guy who put out a revised NDC the night before COP. That one wasn’t worth the wait, unfortunately.  Civil society commentators widely regarded it as a Grade A hatchet job, inconsistent with Paris temperature goals, wholly unambitious on 2030 target and relying heavily on carbon markets.”

Johnston says that the New Zealand government can’t tell other countries to close the ambition gap for 1.5 degrees if we are not willing to do that ourselves:

“The government’s delay to the Emissions Reduction Plan means we are falling further and further behind. We also can’t call for transparency when our NDC hides the fact that domestic emissions will only be cut by around 7-9% below 2005 levels by 2030 on a net-net basis.

“For Minister Shaw to undermine the encouragement to return with greater NDCs in 2022 before the final text has been agreed is extremely disappointing. It’s a reflection of the laggard pace of our domestic action. Each day we delay bolder action means more people go hungry, lose their homes and die.

“Minister Shaw needs to come back from Glasgow with the clear message: Aotearoa New Zealand must scale up our domestic response and increase ambition each year until we are doing our fair share to keep global heating to 1.5 degrees.”