Topic: Trade

What does ‘big business’ say about Africa when it’s off the record?

I get a lot of random invitations along the lines of ‘come and be a token esteemed NGO rep at our next gabfest’, and accept a few of the more promising ones. So this week I ended up at a conversation on ‘Africa’s Reformers’ hosted by the Africa Governance Initiative and the FT’s This is […]

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Are wages the fly in the Fairtrade ointment?

Next year will be the 20th anniversary of the Fairtrade Foundation, (Oxfam was one of its founders) and there will be lots of well-merited celebrations. The growth of fair-trade has been phenomenal. In the UK total sales of Fairtrade products have soared from £63m in 2002, to £1530m last year, growing at double digit rates […]

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Why is the EU threatening to cut investment in South Africa?

Bilateral Investment Treaties are one of those nerdy ‘important but dull’ bits of international governance that too often get ignored by NGOs and others. So thanks to Liz May at Traidcraft for drawing my attention to this week’s punch-up between South Africa and the EU. First the fisticuffs. According to South Africa’s equivalent of the […]

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What do African civil society organizations think of the rise of China and South-South cooperation?

The Belgian NGO coalition 11.11.11 has published an interesting paper summarizing the views of 58 African civil society organizations in 11 different countries on ‘South South Cooperation’ (SSC) – mainly China’s growing role in Africa (see Economist stats, right – keep clicking to expand). It’s nuanced and an excellent counterweight to the simplifications of the […]

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The poorest countries are under renewed threat from WTO rules on access to medicines (and yes, this is 2013)

This week is acquiring an oddly retro flavour. Wednesday had me reminiscing about the Access to Medicines campaign of the last decade. Now it turns out that the issues it raised have recently erupted again. In short, the Least Developed Countries (LDCs) are trying to get another extension to be free from implementing the WTO’s […]

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6 million deaths a year – where’s the global campaign on Big Tobacco?

Since I wrote recently on the major sources of death in the developing world, I keep spotting things about tobacco that are crying out for action. Take this from last week’s Economist: ‘This month Chile became the 14th Latin American country to ban smoking in enclosed public spaces. Chile’s conversion is significant, since it is […]

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The Rise of the South: Human Progress in a Diverse World. Synthesis > novelty in a big new UN report.

Of the big reports that spew forth from the multilateral system, some break new ground in terms of research or narratives, while others usefully recap the latest thinking on a given issue. Last week’s 2013 Human Development Report, The Rise of the South: Human Progress in a Diverse World, falls into the latter category, pulling […]

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What’s the link between land grabs, trade rules and climate change? Good new briefing from Sophia Murphy

You can rely on Sophia Murphy for crisp, credible analyses of agricultural trade and food issues. Her latest paper, Land Grabs and Fragile Food Systems, is up to her usual standard. She locates the current row over land grabs in some broader debates that have rather fallen off the agenda, namely globalization and trade rules. […]

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Attack? Equivocate? Engage? How Big Food responds to a tough new campaign

Chris Jochnick, director of Oxfam America’s Private Sector Department (twitter: @cjochnick), reflects on the different corporate responses to our ‘Behind the Brands’ campaign launch Companies have had decades to hone their engagement strategies with activists, but still struggle to find the right approach.  Initial reactions to Oxfam’s Behind the Brand campaign offer an interesting case in […]

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Beyond Horsegate: comparing the supply chains of the big 10 food companies

Erinch Sahan (right), a private sector policy advisor at Oxfam GB, introduces Behind the Brands, a big new report and company scorecard, launched today. So we didn’t know we were eating horses. What else don’t we know about the supply chains delivering our food? 18 months ago, Oxfam posed this question to the Big 10: […]

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‘Resource Futures’: good new report on how to confront resource scarcity and conflict

Looks like this is going to be crystal ball week on the blog – must be the time of year. Just read Resource Futures from Chatham House (inventors of the ubiquitous Chatham House Rule). The analysis is pretty good, but it really raises the bar on communication, with great interactive infographics and killer facts. Advocacy […]

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Can you help promote 'From Poverty to Power'? This won't take long…..

OK, out of consideration for your sensitivities, I’m going to try and condense all the humiliating, grovelling self promotional authorial thing into a single post (OK, I’m lying, but the other promo will be less blatant). The second edition of From Poverty to Power is published on the 23rd October, and as you doubtless know, […]

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