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  • Publication Date: 06-2012
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Oxfam Publishing
  • Abstract: The Arms Trade Treaty is a potential ground-breaking humanitarian treaty that would regulate the international trade in conventional weapons. The Treaty will be negotiated at a United Nations conference in New York Between July 2-27. There is currently no effective international legislation on the global arms trade. While there are treaties on nuclear, chemical and biological weapons there is nothing on the weapons that kill people every day. Patchy, diverse and often completely absent, national regulations are inadequate with the increasingly globalized nature of the arms trade. Arms companies, operating from an increasing number of locations, now source components from across the world. Their products are often assembled in countries with lax controls on where they end up, hence the need for truly global rules which reflect the nature of the trade.
  • Topic: Arms Control and Proliferation, Globalization, Markets, Nuclear Weapons, United Nations, Weapons of Mass Destruction
  • Political Geography: New York
  • Author: Deepayan BasuRay
  • Publication Date: 06-2012
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Oxfam Publishing
  • Abstract: The poorly regulated global trade in arms and ammunition weakens the ability and willingness of governments to sustain progress in development. It fuels and exacerbates conflicts and armed violence, diverting resources away from poverty reduction activities. Development gains are lost as communities are paralysed: schools are closed, health systems are strained to breaking point, investment is discouraged, and security is undermined. Through a strong focus on development, the Arms Trade Treaty can help prevent serious impediments to development, consolidate regional initiatives to safeguard development, and strengthen national capacity to become 'treaty-compliant'. With just weeks to go before diplomats meet at the United Nations, 'Armed Robbery' makes the case that a specific criteria on development as part of the Arms Trade Treaty, alongside other criteria on human rights and international humanitarian law, is one of the best ways to ensure that arms sales do not have a negative impact on socio-economic development.
  • Topic: Arms Control and Proliferation, Development, Human Rights, Human Welfare, International Law, Poverty, United Nations
  • Author: Jean Denis Crola
  • Publication Date: 05-2012
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Oxfam Publishing
  • Abstract: Harvests in Africa's Sahel region from the 2011/12 season are down sharply compared with last year and have been later than usual, extending the previous 'hunger gap' period. A further aggravating factor for the people of the region is that local grain prices failed to drop as they generally do in the period after the harvest. In December 2011, prices reached levels that were 80% above their five-year averages and remained at high levels, compromising access to adequate food for vulnerable populations. Together with the main agencies involved in the crisis, Oxfam, ROPPA, RBM, APESS, POSCAO and WILDAF estimate that more than 18 million people are currently in a situation of food insecurity in the Sahel.
  • Topic: Agriculture, Demographics, Poverty, Food, Famine
  • Political Geography: Africa
  • Author: Ben Murphy, Deepayan BasuRay
  • Publication Date: 05-2012
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Oxfam Publishing
  • Abstract: Guns are useless without bullets. An Arms Trade Treaty (ATT) that does not control ammunition will not achieve its purposes. Ammunition is bigger business than weapons, with twelve billion bullets produced each year – nearly two bullets for every person in the world. The global trade in ammunition for small arms and light weapons is worth more than the trade in firearms and light weapons themselves: an estimated $4.3bn a year. An ATT that does not cover ammunition will fail to achieve what it has set out to do – that is, to help prevent human suffering, armed conflict, and serious violations of international humanitarian law and human rights. Several countries are arguing that ammunition should be excluded from the ATT. Some of these countries say the sheer volume of trade makes it too difficult to monitor. This would be a colossal mistake. There are already several ways to track ammunition transfers. Inclusion in the ATT would significantly strengthen these mechanisms and the resolve to implement them. Failure would undermine what best practice already exists.
  • Topic: Arms Control and Proliferation, Globalization, Human Rights, Human Welfare, International Law, International Trade and Finance, Markets
  • Author: Abigael Baldoumas, Kelly Gilbride
  • Publication Date: 05-2012
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Oxfam Publishing
  • Abstract: The Yemeni people are facing a worsening humanitarian crisis with more than ten million–44 per cent of the population–facing food insecurity. With the onset of the hunger season, many families have exhausted their coping strategies and are being driven deeper into poverty. Donors remain deeply divided over their approaches to the region's poorest country, thus delaying responses and hindering funding. As the crisis builds, donors must take steps to address immediate humanitarian needs as well as making long term commitments to promote development. The Friends of Yemen ministerial meeting in Riyadh offers a critical opportunity for donors to be decisive, creative and generous if they are to break the cycle of hunger and poverty in Yemen. Yemen's future depends upon reducing people's vulnerability and building resilience for the long term, breaking the hunger cycle and empowering people to realize their potential. Failure to act now will put more lives at risk and further entrench poverty in the country.
  • Topic: Humanitarian Aid, Poverty, Food, Famine
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Yemen, Arabia
  • Author: Deepayan BasuRay
  • Publication Date: 05-2012
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Oxfam Publishing
  • Abstract: The absence of comprehensive, international legal obligations to prevent irresponsible transfers of arms has resulted in at least $2.2bn worth of arms and ammunition being imported by countries under arms embargoes between 2000 and 2010; • To have real impact, a prospective Arms Trade Treaty (ATT) must include legally binding criteria that prevent arms transfers to abusers of human rights or into situations where there is a substantial risk that they will undermine development or exacerbate armed violence; • The ATT can build on existing regional and sub-regional initiatives: as of 2012, 100 countries are already party to various regional agreements that include legally binding obligations to control the trade of arms and ammunition
  • Topic: Arms Control and Proliferation, Development, International Law, Treaties and Agreements
  • Author: Deepayan BasuRay, Martin Butcher
  • Publication Date: 06-2012
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Oxfam Publishing
  • Abstract: Modern weapons and military equipment cannot be made or maintained without parts and components that are sourced and traded around the world. Without regulating this trade alongside the trade in complete weapons, it will be impossible to reduce the impact of irresponsible arms transfers on human rights, security, and development. Between 2008 and 2011, the global trade in parts and components was worth at least $9.7bn. This vast stockpile of weapons parts ranged from high-end components for aircraft to parts for small arms and light weapons. Weapons are assembled from components sourced from all corners of the world–frequently from countries without any effective arms transfer controls. Without global regulation of the trade in parts and components, it will be impossible to effectively regulate any part of the arms trade, as companies will be able to circumvent the rules by shipping weapons in pieces from multiple countries around the globe. The Arms Trade Treaty represents a unique opportunity to regulate the specialised parts and components used in the arms trade and, indeed, will be fatally flawed if it does not do so.
  • Topic: Security, Defense Policy, Arms Control and Proliferation, Globalization, International Trade and Finance, Treaties and Agreements, Weapons of Mass Destruction
  • Author: Edmund Cairns
  • Publication Date: 04-2012
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Oxfam Publishing
  • Abstract: A robust global Arms Trade Treaty (ATT) is desperately needed to stop the irresponsible transfer of arms that fuels: Atrocities – like those in Syria, where more than 8,000 people, mostly civilians, have been killed since the crackdown on protests began in early 2011;Armed violence and conflicts – which is estimated to cost Africa alone $18bn a year; Corruption in the. defence industry – which costs $20bn a year, and which undermines the competitiveness of UK exporters.
  • Topic: Conflict Prevention, Defense Policy, Arms Control and Proliferation, International Trade and Finance, Non-Governmental Organization, Weapons of Mass Destruction
  • Political Geography: Africa, United Kingdom, Europe, Syria
  • Author: Sasanka Thilakasiri, Rob Nash, Anne Perrault
  • Publication Date: 04-2012
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Oxfam Publishing
  • Abstract: This issue briefing highlights the increasing use by development finance institutions of financial intermediaries to channel their funding. It identifies features of this lending and the implications for affected communities' access to land and resources. It also provides recommendations for addressing concerns related to these investments.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, International Trade and Finance, Markets, Natural Resources
  • Author: Stephen Cockburn
  • Publication Date: 04-2012
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Oxfam Publishing
  • Abstract: Ever since the first warnings of drought and poor harvests in Africa's Sahel region emerged in late 2011, vulnerable communities in many areas of the region have been threatened by a looming food crisis. That crisis is now real, and 18.4 million people in nine countries are vulnerable to its impact. Food stocks have already run out for some communities, and are running dangerously low for others. Support to protect lives and livelihoods is urgently needed as the crisis becomes an emergency.
  • Topic: Security, Markets, Non-Governmental Organization, Food
  • Political Geography: Africa
  • Publication Date: 04-2012
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Oxfam Publishing
  • Abstract: In both conflicts and disasters, people anywhere have the right to the humanitarian assistance and protection that they need. When national governments are unable to provide it, or need support, the international community has a responsibility to help, including through funding humanitarian action by disaster-affected governments, local and national NGOs, the UN and others. Despite increased funding, new donors and initiatives the level and nature of funding remains inadequate.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Human Welfare, Humanitarian Aid, Non-Governmental Organization, War, Natural Disasters, Refugee Issues
  • Political Geography: United Nations
  • Publication Date: 04-2012
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Oxfam Publishing
  • Abstract: Foreign military forces, including UN peacekeeping operations, should not provide relief or development assistance, other than in exceptional cases. Governments should follow the accepted international standards to judge those exceptional circumstances, and determine how military forces should act. These standards are the Guidelines on the Use of Foreign Military and Civil Defence Assets in Disaster Relief [the Oslo Guidelines] for natural disasters, and separate UN guidelines for conflicts.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Foreign Policy, Humanitarian Aid, Natural Disasters
  • Political Geography: United Nations
  • Publication Date: 09-2012
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Oxfam Publishing
  • Abstract: Women played a key role in Yemen's 2011 popular uprising, but almost a year on they are still waiting for change. Four out of five women consulted by Oxfam in a series of focus group discussions say that their lives have worsened over the last 12 months. Although a transition towards democracy is under way, women's hopes for a better life are wearing thin. A quarter of women between the ages of 15 and 49 are acutely malnourished. Deepening humanitarian crisis and conflict are limiting women's role in shaping Yemen's future. Women have told Oxfam that they need better access to food, jobs, and physical safety. The Government of Yemen and the international community should adequately support the humanitarian response and help ensure women can play their part in building a peaceful and just society.
  • Topic: Gender Issues, Government, Human Rights
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Yemen, Arabia
  • Publication Date: 09-2012
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Oxfam Publishing
  • Abstract: In 2009, EU governments committed to sourcing 10 per cent of transport energy from renewable sources by 2020: they are set to meet this target almost exclusively using biofuels made from food crops. By putting a mandate in place, European governments are propping up powerful industry and farming lobbies without spending a penny from national budgets: as direct subsidies and tax exemptions are phased out, the cost is increasingly borne by the consumer. For example, by 2020 biofuel mandates are likely to cost UK consumers between £1bn and £2bn more each year—that's about £35 from every adult—and to cost German consumers between €1.37bn and €2.15bn more—up to €30 per adult. EU governments have replaced subsidies paid out of the public purse with a subsidy that consumers, often without their knowledge, pay directly to big business.
  • Topic: Security, Agriculture, Development, Energy Policy, Food
  • Political Geography: United Kingdom, Europe, Germany
  • Author: Roger Middleton
  • Publication Date: 07-2012
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Oxfam Publishing
  • Abstract: In 2011 the world waited for the UN to declare famine before providing assistance on the level needed to save lives in Somalia – this delayed response wasted lives and money. We are now seeing warnings of Somalia slipping back into crisis and cannot afford to make the same mistake again – we should respond now, and in force, in ways that make people better able to withstand the next disaster to strike.
  • Topic: Security, Health, Islam, United Nations, Food, Famine
  • Political Geography: Africa, Somalia
  • Author: Lara El-Jazairi, Fionna Smyth
  • Publication Date: 07-2012
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Oxfam Publishing
  • Abstract: The Jordan Valley, located in the eastern part of the Occupied Palestinian Territory (OPT), makes up 30 per cent of the West Bank (see Map 1 on page 7). Requisitions and expropriations of Palestinian land by the Israeli authorities continue to destroy the livelihoods of Palestinians living in the area and, unless action is taken, there are strong indications that the situation will only get worse. The Israeli government recently announced proposals and policies for the expansion of settlements, which, if implemented, will further threaten the living conditions and human rights of Palestinian communities in the Jordan Valley, undermining efforts to bring peace and prosperity to the OPT and Israel.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Security, Agriculture, Development, Peace Studies, Treaties and Agreements, Territorial Disputes
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Israel, Palestine, Arabia
  • Author: Deepayan BasuRay
  • Publication Date: 07-2012
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Oxfam Publishing
  • Abstract: In July 2012, governments have a historic opportunity to create a strong Arms Trade Treaty that saves lives and livelihoods and builds a more secure future for all the world's citizens. Strong treaties gain new members and set international standards; weak treaties rarely get stronger. Governments must not compromise during the final countdown for the sake of securing universal agreement. The Treaty must cover all conventional arms, ammunition, parts and components, and all types of arms transfers. It must include strong criteria that prevent arms being transferred where there is a substantial risk that they will be used in violation of international human rights or humanitarian law, or will undermine development. The Arms Trade Treaty must have strong measures for transparency and accountability, and an effective implementation and enforcement mechanism. These must also assist countries to effectively implement and monitor the Treaty.
  • Topic: Arms Control and Proliferation, Development, Human Rights, Treaties and Agreements
  • Author: Marleen Nolten
  • Publication Date: 07-2012
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Oxfam Publishing
  • Abstract: The 25th of January 2011 uprising in Egypt called for freedom, dignity and social justice. The uprising was full of opportunities and challenges for Egyptian men and women who have been deprived of their political, social and economic rights. Hence, the revolution has given women a sense of freedom and empowerment, and seemed like a perfect opportunity to claim their rights. However, while many groups, including women, overcame their fear to speak out against violations of their basic rights, the changed power relations threatened to ignore women's rights or even reverse gains that were won in the past. Oxfam partners in Egypt have increased their efforts during the last year to collectively formulate priority demands on women's rights and bring these demands to the forefront.
  • Topic: Gender Issues, Human Rights, Islam, Regime Change
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Arabia, Egypt
  • Publication Date: 07-2012
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Oxfam Publishing
  • Abstract: The UN Security Council's (UNSC) role, to maintain international security, includes protecting civilians in armed conflict. Made explicit in 2009, the UNSC noted that 'the deliberate targeting of civilians… may constitute a threat to international peace and security, and [the UNSC] reaffirms… its readiness to consider such situations and, where necessary, to adopt appropriate steps.'
  • Topic: Conflict Prevention, Political Violence, Development, United Nations, Peacekeeping
  • Publication Date: 07-2012
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Oxfam Publishing
  • Abstract: Security and development are deeply interlinked. Conflict-affected states require progress on both to achieve sustainable peace and broader human security. Over the past fifteen years, security sector reform (SSR) has received increasing prominence, as one element in building that peace and security, as well as democratic governance, in post-conflict transitions. SSR includes the reform of security forces (military, police, and intelligence), and civilian institutions to better uphold human rights and justice, and to ensure effective civilian oversight by parliaments and legislative bodies, and by communities themselves.
  • Topic: Conflict Prevention, Security, Civil Society, Development, National Security