Increase in super El Niños will impact the poorest most

Scientists may have cracked a big climate puzzle:  whether rising global temperatures will influence the weather phenomenon known as El Niño. Unfortunately, the answer is probably yes. Here, John Magrath explains why more extreme weather is likely to worsen the inequality of risk. El Niño is a warming of the waters of the Pacific that happens roughly every four to …

What is a risk-taking wealth creator anyway?

At a time the contribution business can make to help the UK economy recover is in the spotlight, Francis Stuart talks about the language of social justice and environmental sustainability, and how it can mask competing agendas. I’ve attended a couple of events looking at the future of Scotland recently. Set in the context of Scotland’s referendum debate, these events have …

Syria needs peace, not foreign weapons

As peace talks take place in Geneva the conflict in Syria is close to entering its fourth year. The fighting continues to be fueled by arms and ammunition from far beyond the country’s borders. Martin Butcher reviews the situation and calls on the international community, to halt the supply of weapons. A conflict that began in the political turmoil of the Arab …

2014: the year of hard truths or return of the good times?

Economic growth returned to the UK last year and unemployment is falling, but can people on the lowest incomes expect things to get better in 2014? Krisnah Poinasamy analyses recent good and bad news and explores what else can be done to help people in the UK overcome poverty. Judging from the latest round of announcements, it can be hard …

Working for the few: private power over democracy

Seven out of ten people live in countries where economic inequality has increased in the last 30 years. Our new briefing calls for the world leaders meeting in Davos this week to counter the tide. Here Ricardo Fuentes-Nieva explains why extreme wealth is a threat to the freedom and fairness of political systems. On April 29 1938, Franklin Delano Roosevelt sent a message …

Governance and Fragility: lessons learnt

This week the Within and Without the State (WWS) programme is sharing its experience from South Sudan at a UNDP expert practitioners meeting in New York. Here, Louie Fooks, Global Learning and Communications Officer, shares some key lessons about how to build a social contract in situations of conflict and fragility. Programming in fragile contexts is always challenging. And attempting to …

Haiti four years on: a WASH partnership that worked

Four years ago this week a deadly 7.0 earthquake hit Haiti’s capital Port-au-Prince. Successful partnership with the national government was central to Oxfam’s response, Marc Cohen examines why it worked and identifies lessons for the future. Oxfam played a significant role in the humanitarian response to the large-scale disaster in Haiti, particularly in the water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) sector. …

Harnessing Turkana’s water discovery

In September 2013, UNESCO and the Government of Kenya announced the discovery of massive groundwater reserves under Turkana. The aquifer could change thousands of lives, but only if technical challenges can be overcome, and the resource managed for the benefit of local people. This arid and semi arid county in the far north west corner of Kenya – home to …

Changes we want to see in 2014

At the dawn of 2014 time is running out for the 2015 Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). How is the world doing? In the spirit of new  year optimism we asked nine Oxfam experts what their hopes and dreams are for the year ahead in relation to each of the MDGs, and what should come next?  We begin with the first goal and …

We made history in 2013: moments to make your heart beat fast

As we enter a new year, Anna Macdonald celebrates one of 2013’s most historic achievements when, after 10 years of tireless campaigning, a global arms trade treaty was finally adopted by the UN. Transforming the arms trade is a daunting task. When Oxfam and partners launched the Control Arms campaign in 2003, aiming to bring the international arms trade under …