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Education: The Global Gender Gap

October 29, 2010

Girls' education is a fundamental right, as well as a catalyst for economic growth and human development. Despite this, girls comprise two-thirds of the 125 million children across the world who are not in school. The World Education Forum in Dakar in April 2000 provides an opportunity to launch a concrete programme to deliver the internationally agreed target of achieving Universal Primary Education by 2015, and to close the gender gap in education. The British Government should provide the international leadership required to tackle the global education crisis, and to close the gender gap. This kind of leadership has been extremely effective on debt relief. The Prime Minister should take the lead in launching a global initiative aimed at mobilising $8 billion per annum in support of national education reform strategies with robust monitoring of progress towards Universal Primary Education, and the elimination of the gender gap in education.

21st Century Debt Relief

October 29, 2010

Oxfam welcomes the IMF and the World Bank's drive to increase the number of countries receiving debt relief at the end of last year. 22 out of a possible 41 qualifying countries are now receiving debt relief - this is a good start. However, there is still much to be done to ensure that debt relief is deep enough to make a real difference to poor people living in the recipient countries. Research carried out by Oxfam last year analysed the implications of enhanced HIPC for government finances. It suggests that all but three of the twelve countries studied will continue to spend far more on debt servicing than on health and primary education after they have received debt relief.

Achieving Universal Primary Education

October 29, 2010

The world is facing a silent education crisis. The victims receive no television coverage, and their voices go largely unheard. But the consequences of this crisis are immense in terms of wasted opportunities for economic growth and social justice. The education deficit is particularly acute in sub-Saharan Africa, where problems caused by lack of funding are compounded by conflicts, population growth, HIV-AIDS, and gender discrimination. In Zambia, more teachers died of AIDS than passed through teacher training last year. The World Education Forum in Dakar in April 2000 provides an opportunity to launch a concrete programme to deliver the internationally agreed target of achieving Universal Primary Education by 2015.

Everything But Arms and Sugar

October 29, 2010

Oxfam welcomes the UK Government's support for the EC's proposal to improve access to the EU market for all products, except armaments, exported from the world's 48 poorest countries, dubbed the 'Everything But Arms' (EBA) proposal. We dispute the claims of the powerful lobby against the proposal to include sugar, launched by the National Farmers' Union and the multinational sugar industry, who have labelled it a threat to UK sugar beet growers. Research commissioned by Oxfam from the Institute of Development Studies shows that their claims are massively over-stated.

Immigration and Asylum Debate 12/4/2000

October 29, 2010

In addition to Oxfam's long-standing international work in relation to humanitarian protection, we have been developing our work with asylum-seekers and refugees in Britain since the setting up of the UK Poverty Programme in 1995. Oxfam is therefore well placed to comment on asylum issues in relation to the UK as well as internationally. This briefing highlights Oxfam's continuing concerns in relation to the 1999 Immigration and Asylum Act. On April 3, when the Government's new voucher scheme came into operation, Oxfam made public its decision not to participate unless its shops were able to give change to asylum seekers using vouchers. This position is now publicly supported by a range of UK charities, including Save the Children, Shelter, and Marie Curie Cancer Care. Oxfam believes that refusing retailers permission to provide change when asylum seekers shop with them is unreasonable, unfair and discriminates against these people at a time when they are most vulnerable.

Tough UK Arms Controls

May 1, 2001

Over four years have passed since the Scott Report into the arms to Iraq affair highlighted serious flaws in the current system of arms export controls. The Report recommended a thorough review of the 1939 Import, Export and Custom Powers (Defence) Act, which was introduced as an emergency measure at the start of the Second World War. Amnesty International and Oxfam are concerned that, despite publishing a White Paper on Strategic Export Controls in July 1998, the Government has yet to introduce such new legislation. Amnesty International and Oxfam welcome the progress already made by this Government to strengthen strategic export controls. However, without new legislation to close the following loopholes in the current control regime, the Government cannot ensure that UK arms transfers do not contribute to human rights violations, fuel conflict or undermine development.