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  • Publication Date: 05-2008
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Oxfam Publishing
  • Abstract: Some donors and governments propose that health insurance mechanisms can close health financing gaps and benefit poor people. Although beneficial for the people able to join, this method of financing health care has so far been unable to sufficiently fill financing gaps in health systems and improve access to quality health care for the poor. Donors and governments need to consider the evidence and scale up public resources for the health sector. Without adequate public funding and government stewardship, health insurance mechanisms pose a threat rather than an opportunity to the objectives of equity and universal access to health care.
  • Topic: Government, Health, Poverty
  • Publication Date: 08-2008
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Oxfam Publishing
  • Abstract: “The challenge facing the international community in getting countries on track to achieve the MDGs is considerable, even more so in the face of the global challenges of inequality, climate change and impending insecurity. Global companies have a role to play: their first and most important contribution must be to minimise the negative and maximise the positive impacts of their core business operations on human development.”
  • Topic: Development, International Cooperation, International Organization, Non-Governmental Organization, United Nations
  • Publication Date: 06-2008
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Oxfam Publishing
  • Abstract: Global food prices are up 83 per cent compared with three years ago. The resulting food price crisis constitutes an unprecedented threat to the livelihoods and well-being of millions of rural and urban households who are net food buyers. Around the world, Oxfam International and many of its partners have seen soaring prices force people to eat less food or less nutritious food and drive poor households to cut back on health care, education, and other necessities. Women and children's nutritional levels are particularly vulnerable, as women often put men's consumption before their own.
  • Topic: Agriculture, Development, Economics, Humanitarian Aid, International Trade and Finance
  • Publication Date: 06-2008
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Oxfam Publishing
  • Abstract: The year 2008 is halfway to the deadline for reaching the Millennium Development Goals. Despite some progress, they will not be achieved if current trends continue. Aid promises are predicted to be missed by $30bn, at a potential cost of 5 million lives. Starting with the G8 meeting in Japan, rich countries must use a series of high-profile summits in 2008 to make sure the Goals are met, and to tackle both climate change and the current food crisis. Economic woes must not be used as excuses: rich countries' credibility is on the line.
  • Topic: Agriculture, Climate Change, International Political Economy, International Trade and Finance, Poverty
  • Political Geography: Japan
  • Publication Date: 06-2008
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Oxfam Publishing
  • Abstract: The current biofuel policies of rich countries are neither a solution to the climate crisis nor the oil crisis, and instead are contributing to a third: the food crisis. In poor countries, biofuels may offer some genuine development opportunities, but the potential economic, social, and environmental costs are severe, and decision makers should proceed with caution.
  • Topic: Agriculture, Climate Change, Energy Policy, Oil
  • Author: Kate Raworth
  • Publication Date: 07-2008
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Oxfam Publishing
  • Abstract: In every society, women and men have different roles inside and outside the household, and different resources to deliver them. In the rural communities of developing countries where Oxfam works, men's roles typically focus on earning cash, by growing food, trading, or selling their labour. But it is largely the role of women to provide the food, fuel, water, and care that the family needs (all for no pay), in addition to earning some cash. In such communities, women are likely to have: greater reliance on natural resources – like rivers, wells, reliable rainfall, and forests fewer physical resources – such as land, fertilizer or irrigation, and fewer assets (like machinery, or a bicycle) to use to make money, or to sell as a last resort fewer financial resources – little cash, savings or access to credit, and less access to markets that give a good price for their goods less powerful social resources – due to social and cultural norms that limit their mobility and their voice in decision-making, reinforce traditional roles, and put them at risk of violence fewer human resources – due to having less education, fewer opportunities for training, and less access to official information.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Gender Issues, Non-Governmental Organization
  • Publication Date: 07-2008
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Oxfam Publishing
  • Abstract: People in Uganda, whose contribution to global warming has been minuscule, are feeling the impacts of climate change first and worst. On the one hand there is more erratic rainfall in the March to June rainy season, bringing drought and reductions in crop yields and plant varieties; on the other hand, the rainfall, especially in the later rains towards the end of the year, is reported as coming in downpours that are more intense and destructive, bringing floods, landslides, and soil erosion. Climate scientists say that, in the future, one of the most likely effects of climate change will be more rain, especially during the second rains from October to December.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Environment
  • Political Geography: Uganda, Africa
  • Publication Date: 07-2008
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Oxfam Publishing
  • Abstract: When trade ministers from 35 countries gather in Geneva at the World Trade Organization [WTO] for what is being billed yet again as a last-ditch attempt to forge a Doha trade deal, they will be forced to meet an unwelcome guest: the 2008 US Farm Bill. With a host of newly bolstered subsidies that will hurt farmers in developing countries, as well as higher farm payment rates, squeezing the new Farm Bill into the 'boxes' defined under existing WTO obligations will be a remarkable trick. That speaks poorly about the willingness of the US to accept new disciplines on agricultural subsidies, and demonstrates that the US Congress is unwilling - thus far - to take the necessary steps for a new trade agreement that would prioritize development.
  • Topic: Agriculture, International Organization, International Trade and Finance, Markets, World Trade Organization
  • Political Geography: Geneva, United States
  • Publication Date: 08-2008
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Oxfam Publishing
  • Abstract: Policy makers lament women's vulnerablity to HIV infection, yet for 15 years they have failed to utilise a technology which can help women to protect and empower themselves. The female condom is the only female-initiated method which provides protection from HIV infection; it also prevents unwanted pregnancy. Studies have shown it is acceptable to users, increases the proportion of protected sex acts, and is cost-effective when provided in addition to male condoms. Yet most women cannot access female condoms. New female-initiated technologies such as microbicides will not be available for many years. Female condoms exist now; the push for universal access to them should begin now.
  • Topic: Gender Issues, Health
  • Publication Date: 08-2008
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Oxfam Publishing
  • Abstract: Climate change is having a destructive impact on many groups around the world. Pastoralists in East Africa have been adapting to climate variability for millennia and their adaptability ought to enable them to cope with this growing challenge. This paper explains the policies required to enable sustainable and productive pastoralist communities to cope with the impact of climate change and generate sustainable livelihoods.
  • Topic: Agriculture, Climate Change, Poverty
  • Political Geography: Africa, East Africa
  • Publication Date: 09-2008
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Oxfam Publishing
  • Abstract: Despite the absence of a final peace settlement, a dramatic improvement in security in war-ravaged northern Uganda is allowing displaced civilians to return home and has transformed the humanitarian operating environment. A transition is now under way from a relief effort led by international agencies to government-driven recovery. But that shift is generating new challenges for northern Ugandans and institutional confusion among the actors working to help them rebuild their lives. After decades of conflict and marginalisation, it is critical that the government of Uganda and its international partners bring a peace dividend to the North through an inclusive and co-ordinated recovery process.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Security, Disaster Relief
  • Political Geography: Uganda, Africa
  • Publication Date: 09-2008
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Oxfam Publishing
  • Abstract: The international community took an important step in deploying the UN and EUFOR mission to volatile and insecure eastern Chad. However, one year on, this mission is not capable of adequately protecting civilians and requires urgent reform. EUFOR has made many civilians feel safer, but as a military force is ill suited to an environment of lawlessness and banditry. A year on the policing elements of the mission are yet to be deployed. Finally, without a comprehensive political solution to the internal crisis in Chad, there will be no hope of long-term security for the civilians who are currently at risk.
  • Topic: Security, United Nations
  • Political Geography: Africa, Chad
  • Author: Katherine Haver
  • Publication Date: 09-2008
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Oxfam Publishing
  • Abstract: Despite new peace agreements, continued conflict among and between armed militias and government forces in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) in the last year has seen thousands of new internally displaced persons (IDPs) in the east of the country, many of whom have poured into camps seeking shelter and safety. This is a new development in DRC. Unlike Darfur and Uganda, IDPs in DRC have usually stayed with host families, returning intermittently to their homes, rather than fleeing to refugee-like camps. Around 70 per cent of DRC's IDPs are still living with host families, but the unprecedented upsurge in the number of those heading towards camps raises difficult questions. Have humanitarian organisations done enough to help IDPs in host families, and the host families themselves? If they have not, have they in fact encouraged the drive to the camps? Most importantly, how can IDPs with host families (as well as those in camps) be adequately assisted?
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Humanitarian Aid, Migration
  • Political Geography: Uganda, Africa, Darfur, Democratic Republic of the Congo
  • Publication Date: 09-2008
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Oxfam Publishing
  • Abstract: One night in March 2007, soldiers arrived in the village of Buramba in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). By the time they left at least 15 people were dead. 'At 5.30 in the morning', one survivor said, 'I saw the soldiers coming to our house...They kicked down the door, and killed eight people inside. Only my four grandchildren survived. [They] continued firing in the village. I fled into the bush. I returned three days later to see the bodies of my children and my mother. The bodies were in latrines; I could see the feet of my mother sticking out.'
  • Topic: Political Violence, Human Rights, Post Colonialism, Terrorism, War
  • Political Geography: Africa, Democratic Republic of the Congo
  • Publication Date: 09-2008
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Oxfam Publishing
  • Abstract: The forecast for tomorrow is a snapshot of a country deeply torn by good and bad climate policies and actions among business, public and government - with each group inextricably bound by the actions of the others. Whether the UK succeeds in achieving its emissions reduction targets and in becoming a leader in international climate negotiations depends on whether good or bad policies prevail. At stake are the lives and livelihoods of millions of poor people around the world, who will suffer first and worst from climate change despite being the least responsible for it.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Energy Policy, Environment, Globalization, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: United Kingdom
  • Publication Date: 10-2008
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Oxfam Publishing
  • Abstract: Irresponsible arms transfers are undermining many developing countries' chances of achieving their Millennium Development Goal (MDG) targets. This paper shows new evidence of how this is happening in parts of Asia, Latin America, and Africa - either by draining governments' resources or by fuelling armed violence or conflict.
  • Topic: Conflict Prevention, Security, Arms Control and Proliferation, Treaties and Agreements, War, Weapons of Mass Destruction
  • Political Geography: Africa, Asia, Latin America
  • Publication Date: 10-2008
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Oxfam Publishing
  • Abstract: The recent sharp increase in food prices should have benefited millions of poor people who make their living from agriculture. However, decades of misguided policies by developing country governments on agriculture, trade, and domestic markets - often promoted by international financial institutions and supported by donor countries - have prevented poor farmers and rural workers from reaping the benefits of higher commodity prices. As a result, the crisis is hurting poor producers and consumers alike, threatening to reverse recent progress on poverty reduction in many countries. To help farmers get out of poverty while protecting poor consumers, developing country governments, with the support of donors, should invest now into smallholder agriculture and social protection.
  • Topic: International Relations, Humanitarian Aid, Non-Governmental Organization, Poverty
  • Publication Date: 10-2008
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Oxfam Publishing
  • Abstract: Cambodia is one of the most disaster-prone countries in East Asia, with its vulnerability to annual floods and droughts. One of the reasons why it is vulnerable to natural disasters is that the livelihoods of the majority of people depend directly upon natural resources, with a large proportion of its population occupied in agriculture and related sectors, including animal husbandry. Extreme poverty, which limits access to food, water, and other basic amenities, increases vulnerability. These characteristics heighten Cambodia's exposure to the impacts of climate change too. The Mekong region has recently been showing signs of climate change, as illustrated in our previous report on VietNam ('Drought-Management Considerations for Climate-Change Adaptation: Focus on the Mekong Region – Report (VietNam)', October 2007). There is evidence of greater climatic extremes: both declining rainfall in the dry season and more violent rainfall in the wet season, causing flash floods. Increasingly powerful typhoons also appear to be occurring.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Development, Energy Policy, Environment, Non-Governmental Organization
  • Political Geography: East Asia, Asia, Vietnam, Cambodia
  • Author: Rory Sullivan, Helena Viñes Fiestas
  • Publication Date: 11-2008
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Oxfam Publishing
  • Abstract: The unprecedented turmoil in the world's financial markets has resulted in a significant loss of trust in the global financial system. Financial institutions and the market as a whole have been criticised for short-termism, for lacking transparency, and for not being properly accountable to regulators or to wider society. The credit crisis has also raised wider questions about the proper role of investors in society, both in terms of the specific investments that they make and the manner in which they use their influence to ensure that the positive social and environmental impacts of their investment activities are maximised, and the negative impacts minimised.
  • Topic: Corruption, Economics, Globalization, Poverty
  • Publication Date: 11-2008
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Oxfam Publishing
  • Abstract: The world's poor must not pay the price for the collapse of financial markets. Without immediate action, millions will suffer. Poor women and children will pay for the financial folly, failed ideology and crude self-interest that led to this crisis. Much of the burden will be borne by those least able to cope, whether it is poor families evicted from their homes in Detroit, or poor children dying in Mali for want of basic medical care. As the leaders of 20 industrialised and emerging economies convene in Washington for their G20 Emergency Summit on 15 November, small-scale tinkering and limited financial regulation is not good enough. The world leaders gathered for the G20 meeting must heed the call of many around the world, including Ban Ki-moon, Kofi Annan1 and others, to have the ambition and will to act now to help the poorest. The decisions cannot all be taken now, but an ambitious vision can be articulated and followed by work with the UN in the coming months to rapidly build from the ashes of this crisis a new 21st century political and economic system that is just and equitable.
  • Topic: Economics, Globalization, Political Economy, Poverty, United Nations