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  • Author: Ellie Kemp, Verity Johnson
  • Publication Date: 12-2010
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Oxfam Publishing
  • Abstract: On Christmas Eve 2008 and over the following three weeks, 865 women, men and children were savagely beaten to death and hundreds more abducted by the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) in a remote corner in the north-east of Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and in southern Sudan. The attack was a murderous backlash in response to Operation “Lightning Thunder”, a military offensive launched some 10 days before against the LRA by Uganda, DRC and southern Sudan. Less than a year later, between 14 and 17 December 2009, LRA commanders oversaw the killing of more than 300 people, again shattering communities in a remote corner of northern DRC.
  • Topic: Terrorism, Armed Struggle, Counterinsurgency
  • Political Geography: Uganda, Africa, Sudan
  • Author: Jan Cappelle
  • Publication Date: 01-2009
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Oxfam Publishing
  • Abstract: The cocoa tree is an important source of income for millions of farming families in equatorial regions. Cocoa originates in the river valleys of the Amazon and the Orinoco in South America. Its discoverers, the Maya people, gave it the name 'cocoa' (or 'God's food'). Cocoa was introduced to Europe in the fifteenth century. Cocoa imports were heavily taxed, and as a result it was consumed as a drink only by the wealthy. Investment from Great Britain and The Netherlands, combined with the launch of the chocolate bar in 1842 by Cadbury, resulted in a greater demand for chocolate. This led to the gradual expansion of cocoa production, spreading to Africa in 1870.
  • Topic: Economics, Globalization, International Political Economy, International Trade and Finance, Markets, Poverty
  • Political Geography: Britain, Africa, Europe, South America, Netherlands, Amazon Basin
  • Author: Caroline Pearce, Sébastien Fourmy, Hetty Kovach
  • Publication Date: 06-2009
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Oxfam Publishing
  • Abstract: Mali is one of the poorest countries in the world. It has been democratic since 1991, and the international community considers it to have, overall, a well-performing government and economy. But this should not mask the huge scale of the challenges facing Mali in realising even the most basic rights of its citizens. This challenge is increased by the country's vulnerability to shocks, such as the food and fuel crises.
  • Topic: Education, Poverty
  • Political Geography: Africa, Mali
  • Author: John Magrath, Elvis Sukali
  • Publication Date: 06-2009
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Oxfam Publishing
  • Abstract: A wind of climate change is blowing through the southern African nation of Malawi, bringing confusion to fisherfolk and farmers alike.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Gender Issues, Poverty
  • Political Geography: Africa, Malawi
  • Author: Emily Alpert, Melinda Smale
  • Publication Date: 06-2009
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Oxfam Publishing
  • Abstract: In July 2008, world food prices reached their highest peak since the early 1970s. Food stocked on grocery store shelves was out of reach. Riots ensued. Millions were afflicted. Another 100 million people were pushed into the ranks of the hungry, raising the total to nearly one billion worldwide. And these numbers could climb again as food prices remain high, and continue to rise in many local markets.
  • Topic: Agriculture, Poverty, Foreign Aid, Foreign Direct Investment
  • Political Geography: Africa, Asia
  • Author: Nick Martlew
  • Publication Date: 10-2009
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Oxfam Publishing
  • Abstract: In 1984, one million Ethiopians died during a catastrophic famine. The government at the time hid the scale of hunger until a shocking BBC television report ignited a massive relief effort, supported by the Band Aid movement. Though this was too late for too many, thousands of lives were saved.
  • Topic: Foreign Aid, Food, Famine
  • Political Geography: Africa, Ethiopia
  • Author: Steve Jennings, John Magrath
  • Publication Date: 10-2009
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Oxfam Publishing
  • Abstract: The timing of rain, and intra-seasonal rainfall patterns are critical to smallholder farmers in developing countries. Seasonality influences farmers' decisions about when to cultivate and sow and harvest. It ultimately contributes to the success or failure of their crops. Worryingly, therefore, farmers are reporting that both the timing of rainy seasons and the pattern of rains within seasons are changing. These perceptions of change are striking in that they are geographically widespread and because the changes are described in remarkably consistent terms. In this paper, we relate the perceptions of farmers from several regions(East Asia, South Asia, Southern and East Africa, and Latin America) of how seasons are changing, and in some cases, how once distinct seasons appear to be disappearing altogether, and the impacts that these changes are having. We then go on to ask two critical questions. Firstly, do meteorological observations support farmers' perceptions of changing seasonality? Secondly, to what extent are these changes consistent with predictions from climate models? We conclude that changing seasonality may be one of the major impacts of climate change faced by smallholder farmers in developing countries over the next few decades. Indeed, this may already be the case. Yet it is relatively unexplored in the literature. We also suggest some of the key adaptation responses that might help farmers cope with these changes.
  • Topic: Agriculture, Climate Change, Development, Energy Policy
  • Political Geography: Africa, East Asia, Latin America
  • Publication Date: 08-2009
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Oxfam Publishing
  • Abstract: In 2009, the world is faced with a dire economic situation. No one hesitates to call this situation a crisis, most governments have rushed to prioritise it, and, in response, wealthy countries have pledged $8.4 trillion in bank bailouts.
  • Topic: Education, United Nations
  • Political Geography: Africa, United States
  • Author: Jules Siedenburg, Kimberly Pfeifer, Kelly Hauser
  • Publication Date: 11-2009
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Oxfam Publishing
  • Abstract: Worldwide, 1.7 billion small-scale farmers and pastoralists are highly vulnerable to climate change impacts. They live on marginal rural lands characterised by conditions such as low rainfall, sloping terrain, fragile soils, and poor market access, primarily in Africa and Asia. Such farmers are vulnerable because their farms depend directly on rainfall and temperature, yet they often have little savings and few alternative options if their crops fail or livestock die.
  • Topic: Agriculture, Climate Change, Food
  • Political Geography: Africa, Asia