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From Relief to Recovery: Supporting good governance in post-earthquake Haiti

January 7, 2011

The humanitarian response undertaken in Haiti after the earthquake that struck on 12 January 2010 has been one of the most complex ever. However, as the first anniversary of the quake approaches, the Haitian state, together with the international community, is making little progress in reconstruction.The Haitian authorities need to show greater strategic leadership and take decisions that reflect the priority needs of the Haitian population. They need to initiate public infrastructure projects that put people to work and build skills; support people to return home, or allocate land for new houses; and invest in agriculture. The international community should do much more to support these efforts by increasing the capacity and accountability of Haitian institutions rather than sidelining them.

TRIPS and Public Health: The next battle

November 8, 2010

The Declaration on TRIPS and Public Health agreed at the WTO Ministerial in Doha in November 2001 was an important step forward in the campaign for affordable medicines. It affirmed the primacy of public health over intellectual property rights, and the rights of governments to make full use of the public health safeguards in TRIPS. Ministers also recognised a fundamental imbalance in the TRIPS Agreement and promised to find a solution before the end of 2002. This concerns the way the TRIPS Agreement, by restricting countries like India from exporting cheap generic medicines, will prevent many developing countries from finding affordable sources of vital new medicines.

Rising to the Humanitarian Challenge in Iraq

November 3, 2010

Armed violence is the greatest threat facing Iraqis, but the population is also experiencing another kind of crisis of an alarming scale and severity. Eight million people are in urgent need of emergency aid; that figure includes over two million who are displaced within the country, and more than two million refugees. Many more are living in poverty, without basic services, and increasingly threatened by disease and malnutrition. Despite the constraints imposed by violence, the government of Iraq, the United Nations, and international donors can do more to deliver humanitarian assistance to reduce unnecessary suffering. If people's basic needs are left unattended, this will only serve to further destabilise the country.

Europe's Double Standards: How the EU Should Reform Its Trade Policies with the Developing World

November 3, 2010

EU double standards on trade policy are a disgrace. The EU forces Third World countries to open their markets at breakneck speed, while maintaining barriers to Third World exports, particularly farm products and textiles. The EU does further damage to livelihoods in the developing world by dumping highly-subsidised agricultural surpluses with which small farmers cannot compete. This paper describes what EU Heads of State must do if they are serious about making trade fair.

Priced Out of Reach: How WTO patent policies will reduce access to medicines in the developing world

November 3, 2010

The forthcoming WTO summit offers an unparalleled opportunity to change global patent rules, known as the TRIPS agreement, so that vital medicines are not priced out of reach of people living in poverty. Unfortunately, the US government is opposing the developing-country call for TRIPS to be clarified and interpreted in favour of public health. Oxfam urges industrialised countries, above all the United States, to support this call, agree to an in-depth review of the agreement, and cease putting pressure on countries to implement unduly restrictive patent measures. Action to prevent TRIPS from obstructing access to medicines is the litmus test for the WTO's commitment to make trade rules work for poverty reduction.

Agricultural Trade and the Livelihoods of Small Farmers

October 29, 2010

This paper focuses on the longterm strategies and policies that will enable poor farmers in developing countries to benefit from international trade, thereby contributing to rural poverty reduction and the achievement of the international development targets. The term 'farmer' is used as shorthand for both sedentary producers and pastoralists. The term 'smallscale agriculture' embraces both family based and communal production.

A Billion Hungry People: Governments and aid agencies must rise to the challenge

October 29, 2010

High food prices have brought into sharp focus an existing global food crisis that affects almost one billion people. Lasting solutions to the problem include adequate investment in agriculture, fairer trade, the redistribution of resources, and action on climate change. But hungry people cannot be fed on the hope of long-term solutions. Governments, supported by aid agencies and donors, must act now to provide systematic emergency assistance and longer-term support to those in need, and to better protect people in chronic poverty against shocks such as drought, floods, and market volatility.

Making Trade Work for Development in 2006: What the UK Should Do

May 5, 2005

If real progress is to be made in 2005 on reducing poverty through trade, the EU must look towards its longer-term enlightened interests and rein in its search for short-term commercial advantage. To contribute to global prosperity and security, including Europe's, it should start actively backing developing countries' concerns at the G8, the WTO, and beyond. This paper sets out what Oxfam believes the EU should do in the run-up to the WTO Ministerial meeting in Hong Kong in December 2005.

Oxfam Background Briefing on South-South Trade and GSTP

July 1, 2004

Increasing trade and investment between developing countries by reducing trade barriers could bring real benefits in terms of employment and incomes. It can also promote improved political relationships between countries, such as India and China, and enables countries to reduce their dependence on markets in the industrialised countries. Since two thirds of South-South trade is in manufactured goods, it can also promote industrialisation, though this benefit is likely to be restricted to the larger developing economies.

Is the WTO Serious About Reducing World Poverty? The Development Agenda for Doha

October 1, 2001

This briefing outlines the issues which the WTO should address if it is to make an effective contribution to poverty reduction in developing countries. The paper, prepared in advance of the Ministerial Conference in Doha, argues that 1) Uruguay Round outcomes were unfair to poor countries, 2) Ministers should therefore commit the WTO to rebalance present agreements and address specific implementation measures, and 3) new issues should not be added to the existing negotiation agenda. The decisions at Doha will be an acid test for rich-country commitment to development and for the legitimacy of the WTO.

Time for a Tobin Tax? Some Practical and Political Arguments

May 1, 1999

This paper is intended to further discussion on 'Tobin taxes'. It provides information on the currency aspect of international financial instability, looks at the arguments around a global currency transaction tax and its potential value, explores the possibility of the proposal's further political advance, and concludes with comments on prospects for advocacy.