Topic: Trade

What sort of trade campaigns do we need around Brexit?

Not all conference calls are as terrible as the one depicted in ‘a conference call in real life’. Had a really good one yesterday with Oxfam/Exfam trade wonks on the impact of Brexit on Britain’s trade relations. Here’s my take. Around the early 2000s, I spent about 7 years as a trade wonk, first at CAFOD […]

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Is this the right moment to reboot the Aid, Trade and Private Sector agenda?

Oxfam’s private sector adviser Erinch Sahan thinks the times are ripe for a paradigm shift  In a former life (i.e. six years ago), I worked as a development adviser to Australia’s trade negotiators. Back then, we development types were suspicious and hostile – we feared that rich countries would divert aid to pursue a narrow interpretation […]

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How can global companies (positively) influence development? Engaging with Unilever

Oxfam works with lots of big private companies, but in the (frequent) discussions about the role of private sector in development, our relationship with one (very big) name keeps cropping up. Unilever. We’ve done a ‘poverty footprint’ study of Unilever’s impact in Indonesia, and more recently have engaged with it on its labour practices in […]

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What’s the likely impact of Brexit on development, aid and Oxfam? Any opportunities amid the gloom?

Following on Tuesday’s retrospective ‘how did this happen?’ piece, some thoughts on the future, starting wide (development in general) then narrowing down to the aid business, and all the way to Oxfam/INGOs. All highly tentative, subject to correction etc in the coming days. One big assumption: I’m assuming that Brexit actually goes ahead. And one […]

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When/Why do countries improve the management of their natural resources? New 4 country study

Now I love Oxfam dearly but (you were expecting a ‘but’, right?) both as producers and consumers, we suffer from TL; DR syndrome (too long; didn’t read). Not only that but we don’t always make the most of executive summaries. Which is a shame, because some real gems often go unnoticed as a result. So […]

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Do people identify as global or national citizens? New report suggests a tipping point, but North and South heading in opposite directions

This is interesting, and feels like it could be part of a big normative shift. According to a new report from Globescan (a polling company), across 20,000 people in 18 countries ‘more than half (51%) see themselves more as global citizens than citizens of their country, against 43 per cent who identify nationally. This is […]

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Tackling Inequality is a game changer for business and private sector development (which is why most of them are ignoring it)

Oxfam’s private sector adviser Erinch Sahan is thinking through the implications of inequality for the businesses he interacts with Mention inequality to a business audience and one of two things happens. They recoil in discomfort, or reinterpret the term – as social sustainability or doing more business with people living in poverty. Same goes for […]

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What did trade campaigns achieve? Plus reinventing Robert Chambers & changing aid narratives: some Berlin conversations

Had a really interesting couple of days in Berlin last week, at the invitation of the German government aid agency, GIZ. Also spent time with the impressive policy and campaigns wonks at Oxfam Germany. Here’s a few of the topics that came up. What did all that trade campaigning achieve? From the late 90s to […]

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Industrial Policy meets Doing Development Differently: an evening at SOAS

It’s always interesting when a neglected issue suddenly resurfaces in multiple locations. That’s been happening with industrial policy – in particular the role of governments in developing their manufacturing industries. ActionAid has a new report out, arguing that promoting manufacturing through industrial policy is essential if countries want to generate decent work and tackling inequality. […]

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Book Review: What can Activists learn from the AIDS Drugs Movement?

Still catching up with reviews from my holiday reading – Alex de Waal’s new book (already reviewed) and AIDS Drugs for All, which came highly recommended. (I also read and enjoyed Marlon James and Elena Ferrante – I’m not completely sad/obsessive, honest.) AIDS Drugs for All is a forensic account of ‘a heroic effort on […]

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From Sweatshops to Switzerland, the women in Myanmar behind the billionaires’ fortunes

Max Lawson, Oxfam’s Head of Global Campaigns reflects on a recent visit The young garment factory workers share a tiny room in a wooden shack, spotlessly clean, with pictures of Myanmar pop stars beside a photo of their parents back in the village. But there is no escaping the smell of the open drain outside. […]

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How will the Paris attacks affect the outcome of the Climate Change talks?

When British Prime Minister Harold MacMillan was asked what he most feared in politics, he replied ‘Events, dear boy. Events’. The official sherpas and their political masters preparing for the global climate change talks in Paris, which start today, must be feeling much the same way, their already complicated task further beset by concerns over […]

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