A desperate and largely unknown humanitarian crisis is deteriorating in the Lake Chad Basin region of West Africa, forcing millions of people to flee their homes and leaving millions more in need of humanitarian assistance. Oxfam is providing life-saving support but help is urgently needed to prevent the crisis turning into a catastrophe.
Achieving the three shifts outlined will take time. Oxfam, with others, proposes the following agenda in the immediate years.
1. In order to build a new global governance to avert food crises, Oxfam will campaign with others to:
- Reduce volatility and the likelihood of global food price crises through an increase in public pressure to fix the main problems, including opaque international markets, an inability to deal with export restrictions, damaging biofuel policies, and excessive speculation.
- The G20 and its members should agree specific measures to rein in and re-govern markets, including measures to increase transparency, deal with export bans, and regulate excessive financial speculation. In the medium term, the Committee on World Food Security should lead coordination mechanisms to address these issues more broadly.
- The EU and USA must dismantle support for biofuels
- Mitigate the impacts of food crises at different levels, working to:
- Establish local, national, and regional food reserves;
- Encourage national governments and donors to create and sustain safety net programmes in developing countries targeting food insecure people and women in particular;
- Encourage national governments and donors to invest in improved and more effective early warning systems, disaster risk reduction, and climate adaptation.
- Ensure a fast and fair response in the event of crises, including by international institutions (such as the World Bank) that supply balance of payments support; and those donors and institutions responsible for the provision and delivery of food aid.
- Stop investors and corporations undertaking irresponsible large-scale land investments which undermine vulnerable people’s access to resources and food security:
- Naming and shaming investors or corporations whose value chains or direct investments are implicated in land and water grabs;
- Making sure that institutions and norms that influence investor behaviour are held to high standards in relation to land and natural resources;
- Helping ensure that agribusiness sectors or commodity chains, starting with food and beverage companies and traders, adopt responsible investment policies and practices in relation to land.
2. In order to build a new agricultural future, we will actively campaign to increase public and private investment in small-scale food production. We will seek change that guarantees:
- Donors and governments invest in the productivity, resilience, and sustainability of small-scale food producers. For that purpose:
- Major donors should adopt policies that promote sustainable, resilient and inclusive agriculture and adaptation. Donors will be held to account against their l’Aquila commitments to invest in agriculture and food security, and their Copenhagen commitments to invest in climate adaptation.
- National governments (and regional bodies) should agree adaptation strategies and agricultural development policies and frameworks that promote sustainable, resilient and inclusive agriculture. These should be backed by public investment, and ensure that small food producers and women producers participate in decision making.
- Companies invest in the productivity, resilience and sustainability of small food producers. We will contribute to this by:
- Advocating for major companies to invest in sustainable, resilient smallholder agriculture. This will include the design and development of a food justice index that will evaluate the progress of different private actors against this objective.
- Advocating for donors and financing bodies, such as the International Finance Corporation, to promote private sector investment that builds resilient, sustainable and inclusive agriculture.
- Encourage the implementation and enforcement of policies that strengthen the land and natural-resources rights of women and other small scale food producers through:
- Legislation to improve secure access to land and natural resources, and national campaigns to empower women and men to claim their rights of access.
- Strong voluntary guidelines on land and natural resources tenure agreed by the CFS that inform national action.
3. In order to build the architecture of a new ecological future, we will campaign for a global deal on climate change that stops excessive greenhouse-gas emissions from devastating food production. Oxfam will work with others to:
- Raise awareness of the human impact of climate change, particularly in rich and rapidly developing countries to underpin the urgency of action on climate change;
- Build a consensus among governments around their fair shares of the emissions cuts needed to prevent catastrophic levels of global warming;
- Press for further progress on climate finance, targeting in particular:
- The operationalization of a fair global climate fund, with specific provisions to meet the needs of women and other vulnerable groups, including: the creation of a dedicated adaptation window with guaranteed resources to address the adaptation funding gap; strong gender principles in the composition and programmes of the fund; and mechanisms to ensure the full participation of affected communities in the governance of the fund’s resources;
- The establishment of new sources of reliable, long-term climate finance to ensure the fund is not an empty shell, including fair budgetary contributions by rich countries, alongside a financial transactions tax or measures to raise revenues from international transport.