Publications & Reports
Ethiopia is the second most populous country and has one of the fastest growing, non-oil producing economies in Africa. In the last decade, Ethiopia has taken great strides to reduce poverty and increase the welfare of its largely rural, agricultural-based population. Ethiopian women have less access to land and resources, have fewer economic and educational opportunities, and face considerable risks of gender-based violence, including female genital mutilation and domestic violence.
Is Oxfam Canada walking the talk on our gender policy commitment? Our commitment is to allocate at least 50% of resources to women’s organizations, networks and movements. We asked ourselves how well are we doing in translating this organizational commitment to action. Read the results.
The Affordable Medicine Facility–malaria has shown no evidence that it has saved the lives of the most vulnerable or delayed drug resistance. Rather, this global subsidy has incentivised medicine sales without diagnosis and shown no evidence that it has served poor people. It poses a risk to public health and could skew investment away from effective solutions. Evidence shows that a public-public partnership between community health workers and primary health care facilities can fight malaria and deliver on other public health outcomes. But will donors listen to the evidence?
Almost 60 percent of Haitians rely on farming for their livelihoods. That’s why agriculture is central to rebuilding the country after the devastating 2010 earthquake. Oxfam’s review of government and donor investment in farming shows it has yet to improve conditions for small-scale farmers, in part because it fails to recognize women’s important roles.
Stories of communities driven from their lands, often at the barrel of a gun, left destitute and unable to feed their families, have become all too familiar. Oxfam backs greater investment in agriculture and increased support to small-scale food producers. Responsible investment and support is vital and poor countries desperately need it.
Why investment in agriculture is necessary? The food system is under strain from intensifying pressures— from a changing climate, ecological degradation, population growth, rising energy prices, rising demand for meat and dairy products, and competition for land. What global leaders are beginning to understand is a truth that small-scale producers have understood all along: investment is needed urgently, and on a significant scale.
Oxfam's briefing paper on EU biofuel mandates, a subsidy to big business that could cost every adult about €30 each year by 2020, deprive millions of people of food, land and water. Countries with poor protection of land rights are magnets for land deals—most of which are to grow crops that can be used for biofuels. If the land used to produce biofuels for the EU in 2008 had been used to produce wheat and maize instead, it could have fed 127 million people for the entire year.
Climate change is making extreme weather—like droughts, floods and heat waves—much more likely. Existing research, which considers the gradual effects of climate change but does not take account of extreme weather, is significantly underestimating the potential implications of climate change for food prices. This research shows how extreme weather events in a single year could bring about price spikes of comparable magnitude to two decades of long-run price rises. It signals the urgent need for a full stress-testing of the global food system in a warming world.
It is obvious that the food system needs fixing. It is much less obvious how this should be done. The sheer size and complexity of the system can seem overwhelming; and the power of some of the corporations and governments involved is daunting. Corporations and governments are not the only power in the system. Those of us that buy, cook and eat the food are more powerful than we might think. Read the full report.
On the Brink: The Impact of Settlements on Palestinians in the Jordan Valley describes how discriminatory restrictions imposed by Israeli authorities are pushing Palestinians living in a fertile part of the occupied West Bank into greater poverty. New plans to allot more land, water and infrastructure to Israeli settlements, while restricting their use by Palestinians, would undermine the prospects for two states living side by side in security and peace.
While the situation has improved, Oxfam will continue to work with communities in Somalia, Ethiopia, and Kenya, to help reduce chronic vulnerability to drought and food insecurity. From a historical perspective, the world has undoubtedly moved on in our ability to save lives. Longer-term aid responses have contributed to this, and Ethiopia and Kenya have both developed safety-net programs designed to deliver longterm help to some of the poorest people in their societies.
Driven by high food prices, increasing demand for agrofuels, raw materials and grain fed livestock, and low returns from beleaguered financial markets, the number of corporations, governments, public and private financial institutions engaging in large-scale acquisitions of land in the global South. Millions of hectares of land have been leased or bought up in recent years, mainly to produce food or fuel for the international market. As a result, peasants, herders, fishers and other rural households are being dispossessed of their means to feed themselves and their communities, sometimes through promises of jobs, sometimes at gunpoint. Read the full statement.