Rio+20: case studies from emerging economies

These case studies provide interesting insight on the situation in five emerging economies on key issues of food security, climate change and energy access and how Oxfam and partners are campaigning for change.

Journalists interested in more details, please contact us  we can put you in touch with Oxfam representatives or the partners involved – some of the partners were also in Rio.

Behind Brazil’s amazing success against hunger and poverty, questions remain

Brazil has been astonishingly successful in tackling poverty and hunger in its own back-yard. In just nine years it has slashed child malnutrition by 61% and rural poverty by 15% largely by supporting local farmers and locally-sourced consumption. At the same time, it has been equally successful in selling more and more of its food too. Brazil is on course to become the world’s biggest food exporter.

But behind Brazil’s incredible statistics and undeniable success, a nagging question remains as yet unanswered. In reality Brazil is precariously balanced between embracing both “big” and “small” agriculture. The former is helping to drive the country’s economic growth but it is eating up vast amounts of natural resources in the process, potentially hurting the same small-holder farmers that the government has so successfully put at the heart of its anti-poverty and anti-hunger policies.

> Read the case study (PDF)

India’s Supreme Court remains the lynchpin in 11-year public battle to tackle hunger

For more than a decade India campaigners have been fighting the government through India’s Supreme Court on the right to food. While the final judgment is still to be made, the “Right to Food” campaign has already won significant victories. Biraj Patnaik, the Principal Adviser to the Commissioners of the Supreme Court in the Right to Food case explains.

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Renewable-rich Philippines in danger of locking itself into a future of dirty coal and oil

The Philippines is very rich in renewable energy potential. It is the world’s second largest producer of geothermal power. Renewable energy accounts for the largest share (43%) of its total supply. And the country claims that it now has “100%” electrification in its villages.

All this sounds like The Philippines’ is already well on the way to achieve its potential of making fair and sustainable energy accessible to all its citizens. However, the true picture is not that rosy.

While every village may have a line to the grid that does not mean every family has electricity: The connection costs are often too expensive for poor families. Meanwhile, the government has started to aggressively privatize the country's electricity sector, and the fear is that the Philippines is locking itself into dirtier, finite and increasingly costlier energy options such as coal and oil.

> Read the case study (PDF)

Russia’s drive for food self-sufficiency has its limitations

Russia is determined to become a food superpower. It has more land than any other country, and only Brazil has more fresh water. Russia is virtually self-sufficient in minerals and in most forms of energy – and is now seeking the same in food. According to Russia's Food Security Doctrine, domestic production must seek to supply most of Russia's demand for food.

However this extraordinarily ambitious goal has some sharp limitations. Russia is making some unrealistic assumptions and questionable policy choices as it faces up to the challenge of feeding its people.

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South African women leading the “second struggle” against hunger and discrimination

South African agriculture is very sensitive to climate change, particularly small scale and homestead food production. South African women activists and small-holder farmers now struggle to know for sure what to plant and when. Crop yields are down because weather patterns are unpredictable.

South Africa’s women activists appreciate that solutions need to be political in nature and global in scope. Local women’s groups organized themselves and seized the moment at the UN climate change summit in Durban in 2011. And South African women activists have made the forensic case to put women’s rights at the heart of a radically new development agenda for South Africa.

> Read the case study (PDF)