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  • 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
  • Publication Date: 11-2009
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: International Peace Institute
  • Abstract: Mutual accountability has become one of several principles that underpin the PBC's work. The commission has facilitated the articulation of mutual commitments as part of the peacebuilding frameworks developed in Burundi, Sierra Leone, Guinea-Bissau, and the Central African Republic. This has begun to fill an important gap. But, the PBC has so far not fulfilled the full promise of this principle: to serve as a forum where national and international actors can hold each other to their commitments. This brief reflects on the PBC's experience with mutual accountability and puts it into a broader context to highlight why it is an area where the PBC can potentially add value.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Conflict Prevention, Peace Studies, United Nations
  • Political Geography: Africa, Sierra Leone, Burundi
  • Author: Olga Martin-Ortega, Chandra Lekha Sriram, Johanna Herman
  • Publication Date: 09-2009
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre on Human Rights in Conflict
  • Abstract: Rule of law promotion is integral to peacebuilding, but not always well integrated It is important to distinguish between technical delivery of rule of law assistance and access to justice as perceived by the population Rule of law promotion and transitional justice may be complementary, or competitive Despite emphasis on the formal sector, informal justice processes are often most accessible to the vast majority Such informal processes may be transformed both by conflict and by peacebuilding activities Emphasis on state institutions in rule of law promotion can inadvertently undermine equal access to justice Given these challenges, the international community faces serious dilemmas about whom to engage, and particularly whether to engage the informal sector at all.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Political Violence, Peace Studies, Poverty
  • Political Geography: Africa