What have 3 years of campaigning on Big Food achieved? What still needs to happen?

April 19, 2016
Erinch Sahan, acting head of Oxfam’s private sector team, looks back on 3 years of trying to get the world’s food giants to clean up their act, the subject of a new Behind the Brands report. The captains of the food industry have come a long way over the last few years. The “Big 10”, the world’s 10 largest food and

Some fascinating new research on how food prices affect people’s lives and politics

April 5, 2016
One of the projects I was proudest of getting off the ground while in (nominal) charge of Oxfam’s research team was ‘Life in a Time of Food Price Volatility’, a four year study of the impact of the chaotic food prices of recent years on the lives of poor people and communities in rural and urban communities in ten countries.

5 times bigger than aid: important new research on drugs as a (missing) development issue

November 6, 2015
A couple of years ago I reported on an excellent meeting at Christian Aid on drugs as a development issue. They have continued that work and today published an important new paper by Eric Gutierrez, ‘Drugs and Illicit Practices: assessing their impact on development and governance’. The paper argues that the illicit drug trade is a ‘major blind spot in

Indigenous Peoples and Local Communities use 65% of the World’s land; how much do they actually own?

September 30, 2015
Andy White, the Coordinator of the Rights and Research Initiative (RRI) introduces a new report. A new, unprecedented legal analysis has revealed that despite using and inhabiting up to 65% of the world’s land, Indigenous Peoples and local communities—a population of about 1.5 billion—possess legal rights to barely 18%. That’s a huge gap. And it’s a gap that explains a

Unilever opens a can of worms on corporate human rights reporting

August 12, 2015
This guest post comes from Rachel Wilshaw, Oxfam’s Ethical Trade Manager Hundreds of millions of people suffer from discrimination in the world of work. 1.3 billion people live in extreme poverty, surviving on less than $1.25 a day. 34 nations present an ‘extreme’ risk of human rights violations. Nearly 21 million people are victims of forced labour. It’s an unusual

How does Change Happen in global commodities markets? The case of Palm Oil

August 4, 2015
This week’s Economist had an interesting discussion of the change process in the global palm oil industry. I assume all its claims are highly contested, but still, allow me to walk you through it and what it says about how change happens in one bit of the private sector. The basics: a boom industry with a dire track record of deforestation,

How looking through a doughnut can test if South Africa is on track for inclusive and sustainable development

June 3, 2015
Oxfam researcher Katherine Trebeck introduces some new work on doughnut economics, (whose inventor, Kate Raworth has left Oxfam to write a book on it) There is an African proverb that says: ‘If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together’ It could be taken as call for inclusivity, solidarity, and equality of people and

Is ‘give them land rights’ enough? Taking the temperature of the global land debate

May 22, 2015
A bunch of students and academics from Sheffield University had what sounds like a fun time at last week’s big global meeting on land. George Barrett, Yoshabel Durand, Tom Goodfellow, Vremudia Irikefe, Mikael Omstedt, Edward Searight, Julie Shi, Deborah Sporton and Nguyen Vo report back. Last week, dispersed among 700 participants at the International Land Coalition’s global forum in Senegal sat

How can grassroots aid programmes influence the wider system?

April 30, 2015
In the first of two posts on how aid agencies can use their grassroots work to exert wider influence, Erinch Sahan discusses his work with livelihoods programmes (jobs, incomes etc). Tomorrow, I’ll discuss the conditions for such ‘joined-up influencing’ to work. “Give someone a fish and you feed them for a day; teach someone to fish and you feed them

Why ending poverty in India means tackling rural poverty and power

January 29, 2015
Vanita Suneja, Oxfam India’s Economic Justice Lead, argues that India can’t progress until it tackles rural poverty More than 800 million of India’s 1.25 billion people live in the countryside. One quarter of rural India’s population is below the official poverty line – 216 million people. A search for economic justice for a population of this magnitude is never going to be

Them Belly Full (but we hungry): great new study on food riots and food rights

January 8, 2015
A fascinating new report (with too many co-authors to list, but the invariably interesting Naomi Hossain was principal investigator) summarizes the findings of a four country research project on ‘food rights and food riots’ in Bangladesh, India, Kenya and Mozambique. Some highlights from the Exec Sum: ‘The green revolution and the global integration of food markets were supposed to relegate scarcity

How the Other Half Farms: Important new book on Gender in Agriculture

December 5, 2014
This guest post is from Dennis Avilés (right), Oxfam’s Sustainable Agriculture and Gender Advisor Trying to explain why half of the world’s farmers are systematically underperforming can be elusive. However, the recently published “Gender in Agriculture. Closing the knowledge gap” by the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organisation has just done that. The book is a series of background studies commissioned