The Future is Equal

Best of: Winnie Byanyima

The passionate and wise Winnie Byanyima, head of Oxfam International, came to visit New Zealand for the first time last week.

She spoke on everything from the huge number of displaced people around the world, the broken economic system and dangerous political power, to the devastating effects of the sale of arms, the unprecedented four famines across Africa and in Yemen, and the US withdrawal from the Paris Accord and climate change.

Want all of that in a nutshell? You’ve come to the right place. Here’s a collection of the top five things Winnie said on these important topics whilst here in New Zealand, part one.

On the US withdrawal from the Paris Accord and climate change

“I think this American decision on the Paris Agreement is a real opportunity for the rest of the world to be angry and, therefore, more ambitious about tackling climate change… I’m seeing an opportunity to re-mobilise. And I think, New Zealand, you should lead. This is a region that’s facing the consequences right now.”

– An Evening with Winnie Byanyima, Q Theatre event.

“This is a story that New Zealanders and people in the Pacific understand so well because you’re already facing it. Everywhere I hear the stories of people who are being wiped out by cyclones, by hurricanes – you’re at the forefront of this and you need to lead the world to demand that rich countries put down climate financing to help those who have not caused it, but who are facing the consequences.”

– Interview with Kim Hill, Radio New Zealand

“My uncle in my village in Uganda, who’s just a herdsman, would take 180 years to emit the same carbon emissions as an ordinary American citizen would in one year. It’s not fair for them to walk away.”

– Interview with Kim Hill, Radio New Zealand

“This is the greatness that’s in humanity. What we are seeing today is that actually the poor countries, the developing countries, are showing more leadership on climate change than the rich countries who have the means to solve the problem and who caused the problem.”

– Interview with Kim Hill, Radio New Zealand

On the refugee crisis

“Today my country, Uganda, very poor country, has more than a million South Sudanese refugees. We open our doors and we say ‘come and share what we have, we are poor, but we can’t let you die’. That is the principal of humanity, of humanitarianism, that all these countries signed on in the United Nations and are now turning their backs on… these are not people just escaping to look for a better future, they’re fleeing for their lives.”

A special thank you to Kiwi supporters from Winnie herself:

Want more? Click here for part two.