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Hello from ONE, short for ‘Oxfam

was such a sense of quiet about Taukiei,

Greenpeace and 20 other organisations

News E-magazine’, the new monthly

even as he said that he knew his country

with bases in the UK have formed a

magazine of Oxfam Hong Kong.

would eventually disappear with the

Working Group on Climate Change and

The other day I touched coal for

rising sea levels. Life has already changed:

Development and have issued several

the first time. I was surprised by its

some of the islands can no longer sustain

research reports and conducted various

heavy weight and its shine. It came from

coconut trees.

advocacy actions. Climate change is making

Newcastle, Australia, the world’s largest

Aurora Alerta-Lim, from The Philip-

life difficult for millions of poor people and

coal port, but I remembered Zhang De

pines, was inspiring as she talked about

we know it will continue to do so, if we

Xiang, a coal worker I met in China, the

how her community stopped a Korean

don’t all act, together, soon, now.

largest producer and consumer of coal.

coal plant from opening on her island of

ONE features stories on climate change

The 21-year-old had just come back from

Iloilo. Her country has some of the best

in Africa, projects in China and Zambia, our

the mines, his face all sooty, yet he sang:

environmental laws in the world, yet some

campaign to Make Trade Fair, and more.

he was earning a good wage, he said, and

of the worst records of law-breaking:

Read on, and let us hear from you …

he was healthy.

implementation and enforcement are

I also met Taukiei Kitala from Tuvalu.

very weak.

He talked about life in his small Pacific

Meeting Taukiei and Aurora is thanks

Island Country, as it is referred to by the

to Greenpeace, who hosted a session at

United Nations. The coconut is the tree of

Oxfam Hong Kong’s office on the link

life for the 9,000 people there on 8 islands

between coal, renewable energy, global

that are no more than 3 meters high. There

warming and climate change. Oxfam,

Madeleine Marie Slavick, Editor

A coalminer in Guizhou, China / Madeleine Marie Slavick / Oxfam Hong Kong

… and disasters

on Climate Change

“L e t ’s t a ke l a n d s li d e s i n t h e

Preparedness Center in Bangkok, which

Philippines as an example,” says

is training meteorologists, community-

Meng Abarquez, Humanitarian and

based workers and farmers in climate

More and more, the nature and

people depend on the land and the

Disaster Risk Management Programme

forecast: communities are adapting the

occurrence of natural disasters are

weather for their living, as farmers and

Coordinator with Oxfam Hong Kong.

nature of crops as well as their planting

connected with extreme climate events

herders, any change in the climate is of

“If villagers know (the need) to gather

and harvesting cycles based on the

and global climate change, and Asia

utmost concern to Oxfam Hong Kong.

meteorological data, say how much

localized climate forecast. ADPC (www.

is the region with the most serious

We know that huge populations are

rainfall can trigger a landslide in their is also developing alternative

natural disasters in terms of frequency

at risk.

surrounding mountain slopes, then

energy sources, rebuilding community

and the number of people affected:

better precautionary measures can be

infrastructure and running various other

2,459 reported cases of natural disasters


livelihood-based projects with farmers

between 1995 and 2004, according to

In 2006, Oxfam Hong Kong formally

Centre for Research on the Epidemiology

adopted climate change as part of

At the national level, Oxfam Hong

of Disasters (CRED). Indonesia, for one,

our strategy in poverty alleviation,

Kong supports developing countries

saw serious drought and flooding in

emergency relief and development

to develop renewable energy sources

1997, the worst drought in a decade in

work, especially in disaster management

based on the spirit of sustainable

projects. One organisation we are

development. We advocate for suitable

collaborating with is the Asian Disaster

policies for managing the use of

2001, and the tsunami of 2004. When two-thirds of the world’s

A hot afternoon in Aceh, Indonesia / Madeleine Marie Slavick / Oxfam Hong Kong

and herders.

on Climate Change (cont’d from page 1) natural resources – at the community, national and international level. We will also continue conducting regional research, lobbying and advocacy work on climate change and climate risk management and integrating them into national development and regional development plans . O ther member s of Ox fam International are also active: As a member of the Working Group on Climate Change and Development, Oxfam Great Britain, for instance, has also contributed to the influential report, Africa – Up in smoke?, published in October 2006.

Africa is particularly vulnerable to climate change / Chris Young / Oxfam

… all over the world: fair trade Ever since the World Trade Organization (WTO) Ministerial meeting in Hong Kong in December 2005 – when the global talks ended with no agreement on

on Trade

trade reforms that would benefit development among the world’s poorer nations – wealthier countries have been resorting to regional and bilateral trade deals to attain concessions they could not get otherwise. This has very serious implications for poverty in developing countries, says Signing Away the Future, a recent report published by Oxfam International, which reveals that 25 developing countries have now signed free trade deals with developed countries, and more than 250 regional or bilateral trade agreements are now governing 30 per cent of world trade. “Trade is important for growth but these agreements are bad for development,” says John Sayer, Director-General of Oxfam Hong Kong. “Poor countries are being pressured to open their markets dramatically through free trade agreements, but developed countries do not even have to touch their massive agricultural subsidies that lead to overproduction and dumping. It is hugely unjust. These deals demand

Photos courtesy of Africa Now

much faster liberalisation and stricter intellectual property rules than the WTO. They

For the first time, Oxfam Hong

Africa Now is conducting training in

strip developing countries of the right to govern their economies and threaten their

Kong is working with the group, Africa

sustainable agricultural techniques and

abilities to protect their poorest people and lift them out of poverty.”

Now, and we are excited about the

business management, and starting

Oxfam advocates fair trade, not free trade. For trade to reduce poverty, all deals

collaboration with this innovative

up Village Banks to be owned and

– multilateral, regional and bilateral – must allow developing countries to have

organization that both develops small-

managed by community members. Too

special and differential treatment, as well as adequate policy space.

scale businesses in poor communities

often in the past, farmers didn’t have

For more on Oxfam’s Make Trade Fair campaign: To read the full report, Signing Away the Future, released in March 2007:

and promotes ethical trade.

access to low-interest loans, and this

… all over Hong Kong: Fair Trade films, drinks and fun! Fair Trade is a growing phenomenon in Hong Kong: over 30 outlets are now selling Fair Trade goods, from chocolate and coffee to footballs and organic blue jeans. New shops exclusively selling Fair Trade items have opened, as well as Asia’s largest organic/health foods shop which sells many Fair Trade items. UK’s largest Fair Trade hot drinks retailer is also expanding its product range in Hong Kong. The 2007 HK International Film Festival featured BLACK GOLD, the first-ever feature-length documentary on the unfair coffee trade, and the story of one man’s mission to get a getter price for thousands of coffee farmers in Ethiopia. Oxfam sponsored two screenings and ran two public forums. Ten groups celebrated World Fair Trade Day in Hong Kong for the first time, with a big fair

Oxfam is supporting Africa Now to

was especially true for women, who

work alongside 1,000 farming families

make up about 70% of the farmers in

in the Zambezi Basin of Zambia to grow

the area. The project will ensure that

chili. The peppers sell at a high price and

women will be on the management

survive well in droughts – which have

committee of the Village Banks, and

plagued the country in the last four

will be involved in decision making in

out of five years. Chili make elephants

general. New co-operatives are being set

sneeze, so the animals no longer trample

up to improve market power, and Fair

the crops; and burning chili-spiked dung

Trade certification is in process.

keeps other pests away, too.

THE LARGER CONTEXT: Zambia is one of the poorest nations in all of subSaharan Africa: over 10 million of its 12 million people (86%) live in poverty. AIDS, drought-induced crop failures, and the collapse of the copper industry all exacerbate poverty to such an extent that life expectancy is only 40 years. The

in Zambia

… and Africa As early as 2001, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC),

place to escape, everywhere is dried

comes from the east so it brings little

whole night. By the time I came down,

out.” A chief named Paul Mayan Mariao

or no rain… these are dry winds. I don’t

seven people had died. There were

adds, “The weather is changing. We

know what is causing this.”

dozens of injuries. Animal carcasses

ones, namely between Muslims and

used to get heavy rains when the winds

When there’s little or no water,

littered almost a kilometer stretch


came from the west and then came back

conflict can arise, as it did in Isiolo

of the valley.” There is a definite co-

2-3 days later with rain. Now the wind

District at the end of 2005, when the

orelation between violent conflict and

a body of the United Nations, warned

People in Kenya are also experiencing

that Africa is particularly vulnerable to

the ef fec ts of climate change, as

drought intensified. “Herders started

drought: pastoralists are stuck in an

climate change for many reasons, such

reflected in these three case stories

encroaching on boreholes owned by

ever-tightening poverty trap, and when

as many water resources being situated

from Africa – Up in smoke?. In Tharaka

different communities,” says local leader

the pressure mounts too high, killings

in international shared basins, food

District, in the south of the country,

Wako Liba. “Gunshots reverberated the

can occur.

security so strongly tied to farming, and

Joshua Muyoki-Mutua tries his best to

large areas of coastal land susceptible to

grow chili, eggplant, green peppers and

sea-level rise.

other crops, but he is worried. Out of

The four-year conflict in Darfur is

300 farmers who grew crops in his area

coming to be seen as the first climate

a decade ago, he is one of only two who

change war. The roots of the disaster

remain – a fact he says is due to global

stretch back to the mid-1980s when

warming. In 1982, the nearby canal ran

drought and the resultant famine killed

for 7km, now it travels for only half a

more than a million people in the region,

kilometer. “We get about 40 per cent

and herders and farmers started to fight

less rain than we used to. Many farmers

over the diminishing resources of water

have left, mainly because the water no

and land in Darfur. There is real risk of

longer runs along the canal like it used

more climate-driven conflicts all across

to. These people have nothing. They are

the Sahel that stretches from Sudan to

destitute. Therefore, climate change is

Senegal, as rain patterns over Africa are

increasing poverty.”

influenced by ocean temperatures, and

In Turkana, in northwest Kenya,

those in turn reflect global warming.

people have been living in a drought

In the Sahel, the competition between

since 1999. A herder named Hassan

herder and farmer is often reinforced

Mahmood says, “It is all encompassing.

by tribal differences, as well as religious

All regions are affected; there is no

Paul Mayan Mariao (left), a village chief in Kenya / Jane Beesley / Oxfam

Connecting climate change and Hong Kong consumerism / So Kok / Mokung, March, 2007

in China China’s fast-paced industrial and

had enough to eat.

animals warmer and healthier.

last for 10 years.

These days, we use cow dung as

But the biggest change is that we

an organic fertiliser. This saves a lot of

no longer send our cows out to pasture.

money – in the past, we would spend

Instead, we cultivate farmland for

about 200 Yuan a year on chemical ones.

fodder. This has solved the overgrazing

And our harvests are so much better

problem, which had caused a lot of

now! Last year, my family made more

erosion in the area.

commercial development has brought

But a few years ago, things got a lot

about significant economic growth in

than 2,000 Yuan from our maize alone.

BACKGROUND: Oxfam Hong Kong is

better. Oxfam gave my parents a big

some areas of the country – primarily

(Four years ago, the average income

in the first generation of international

cow. It was much bigger than the two

the urban and coastal areas. Yet, the

in the village was less than 400 Yuan

NGOs in mainland China – we began

we had before. My parents said it’s a

fast-paced development has also quickly

a year.)

supporting projects in the country

new kind of cow that grows faster and

led to serious environmental hazards:

Oxfam also initiated solar-powered

in 1987. Last year alone (1 April 2005

has more meat. The cow has had several

desertification, contaminated rivers, air

stoves. We used to cook with charcoal,

to 31 March 20 0 6 ) , we allocated

calves, so we now have six altogether,

pollution, and many other problems.

which costs more than 600 Yuan a year,

HK$45.8 million on 472 projects, such

and when the cows get bigger, my

or with firewood, which we would get

as agricultural training, micro-credit,

parents said we will sell them at the

from cutting down trees. That was

basic education, research and advocacy.


causing deforestation and soil erosion.

We also support public education

O x f a m H o n g Ko n g h a s b e e n supporting projects in Mainland China for 20 years, predominantly in rural

Every day after school, my mother and

areas, where 80 million people live on

The solar stoves are saving us a lot of

projects, such as book and magazine

I bring them to drink at the stream, and

about 80 Yuan a month. Since rural

time, fuel and money. We get a lot


sometimes I help her bring the manure to

poorest areas in the country are the

people’s livelihoods depend so much

of sun here in Gansu, so we can cook

the fields. This is something new – it’s a

Copperbelt Region and the south, which

on the land, projects include managing

solar all year-round: it takes about 15

good way to make the plants grow. Ever

is where Oxfam Hong Kong is focusing

natural resources, such as planting trees

minutes to boil a kettle of water. The

since then, we have had more crops to

its projects. The poorest areas in the

to prevent erosion, growing pesticide-

stoves are pretty durable and should

sell, and more food to eat at home.”

country are the Copperbelt Region and

free crops to maintain good soil quality,

the south, which is where Oxfam Hong

and building fuel-efficient stoves to

Kong is focusing its projects.

reduce deforestation.

Two other organisations we are newly

Every summer, Oxfam Hong Kong

partnering with are HODI, which means

highlights one of our communit y

‘May I come in?’ in a local language, and

development projects in Mainland

PELUM, a regional network organisation.

China, and for 2007, it’s in Qingshuiling,

The HODI project works with women

a village of 183 people on the Yellow

in Zambezi - a valley where poverty,

Plateau in Gansu, in the dry northwest.

marginalisation, AIDS and malaria are

We present the project…

all too common – on better livelihoods, more rights in the community, and closer AIDS and nutrition monitoring. PELUM is researching the links between indigenous crops, food security and health. Right now, maize occupies about 60 per cent of all farmland in East, Central and Southern Africa, and there may be risks involved, such as the crop’s sensitivity to weather changes.

… in the eyes of a 10 year old “My name is Yanping. I’m 10 years

Oxfam & China 2005, a publication of Oxfam Hong Kong: contents/category?cid=3744&lang=iso-8859-1 Oxfam Hong Kong’s Chinese-language website on China:

… and in the eyes of an adult I’m Hei Manman. My family joined an Oxfam project designed to improve the environment as well as our livelihood. Yanping is my son. Four years ago, we were provided with one cow, of a new species: bigger, fast-growing, fast-breeding, and with more meat density. The species we were breeding before only had a calf every two years; this new one has at least one a year.

old. My younger brother and I live

The winter is long and cold here. In

with our parents and grandparents.

the past, our cows would routinely get

We don’t get much rain here, so the

sick and some of the younger calves

land is pretty dry, and sometimes our

would even die. Now, thanks to Oxfam,

family has had a hard time growing

who provided training in vaccination,

enough wheat, maize and potato to

they’re healthier. The new sheds, also

make a living. Sometimes, we haven’t

built through Oxfam, help keep our

Yanping and one of his six family cows in Gansu, China / Jockey Cheung / Oxfam Hong Kong


Renqingduoji, the boy


with the tangerine, is an eight-yearold student. He lives at his school in a

Oxfam Hong Kong has created

beautiful part of southwest China, right

more than 30 books, some in Hong

by the great Mekong River. His school,

Kong, some in Taiwan, some on the

named Senjimeiduo, which means

Mainland, some in Chinese, some in

Flowers in the Heart in Tibetan, was

English, some bilingual, and some

founded in 2005 and offers the students

mostly with images, which cross all

– all from poor families – ten years of

languages. Through publishing the

free education, room and board, and

voices of poor people around the

health care. Monthly costs per student

world, we want to change the way

are about 180RMB, and teachers are

people think about poverty. We

paid 220-700 RMB, depending on their

want justice.

subject area, such as English, Chinese

and Tibetan. When Renqingduoji met the photographer and editor, Liu Wai Tong, the first words he said to us were,


“Teachers, are my clothes clean enough? I washed them myself!” Later, he told

Issued every month in English and Chinese, this e-bulletin provides the latest

us that his favourite thing in the world

from Oxfam Hong Kong, with news on emergencies, campaigns, community

is the sky. Maybe he is looking at it

projects, public education and fundraising. Oxfam e-News is emailed to more than

through his tangerine…

80,000 volunteers, campaigners, donors, Oxfam Trailwalkers, council members and

For more information on Senjimeiduo:

subscribers. The Editor is Echo Chow. The cover image of CAN, a new Oxfam-supported magazine in China / Liu Wai Tong

To subscribe to the English version, To subscribe to the Chinese version, Tra d i t i o n a l Ch i n e s e : h t t p ://w w w.o x f a m.o rg.h k /p u b l i c /c o n t e n t s /7263 S i m p l i f i e d C h i n e s e : h t t p ://w w w.o x f a m .o rg . h k /p u b l i c /c o n t e n t s /7265

MOKUNG Oxfam Hong Kong publishes a quarterly magazine, Mokung, in Traditional Chinese. Mokung, which means both “no poverty” and “infinit y”, highlight s a dif ferent

Please consider adding your

aspect of development in each issue. The Editors are Tung Tsz-kwan and Fiona Shek.

voice by signing your name to this petition, one of the many ongoing campaignsby the Oxfam International

In March 2007, Hong Kong Journalists Coffee workers in Ethiopia / Stanley So / Oxfam Hong Kong

Association, Foreign Correspondents Club

Change can happen as we’re seeing

have agreed in principle on a licensing,

and Amnesty International awarded the

India can be called the ‘pharmacy of

with Starbucks and Ethiopia. In October

distribution and marketing agreement

magazine with a Human Rights Press

the developing world’. It manufactures

2006, Oxfam International launched a

with the Government of Ethiopia that


a huge supply of generic medicine that

campaign for Starbucks to engage directly

recognises the importance and integrity

To subscribe, go to:

is affordable to its own people and to

with Ethiopia on the country’s ownership

of the Harar, Sidamo and Yirgacheffe

people in other poor countries. Novartis,

of its coffee trademarks. Some seven

trademarks. A signed agreement is

Mokung is online at

a Swiss pharmaceutical company, is

months and 93,000 signatures later, on

expected any day now. This is very good

challenging India’s patent law.

3 May 2007, Starbucks Coffee Company

news for the 15 million Ethiopians who


depend on coffee for a living.

CAN Oxfam Hong Kong is supporting a new magazine in China, called CAN, a photo-

Right now, there is no Chinese as

based magazine in Simplified Chinese. CAN means both “look” and “do” in Chinese,

a Second Language curriculum in the

one, in May 2007, looking at the state of education in China. The Chief Editor of the

Hong Kong education system. Minority

quarterly is the writer-photographer, Liu Wai Tong. If you live in China, look out for

students are leaving schools without

it on the newsstands – CAN will be distributed throughout the country.

and each 120-page edition focuses on a different topical issue, with the inaugural

strong skills in Chinese, which makes it hard to enter university and get a good job. Poverty is all too common: according to the 2001 Census, 61% of all ethnic minority workers in Hong Kong earned less than HK$4,000 (approximately US$500) a month. HONG KONG UNISON (www.unison., a group supported by Oxfam Hong Kong, calls on the Government to establish a Curriculum and Assessment Mechanism that will meet the needs, and rights, of its residents.

Campaign poster for minority rights / HONG KONG UNISON

ONEquestion What do you think about Fair Trade or/and Corporate Social Responsibility? Please tell us at:

COVER: Ami Vitale/Oxfam


O.N.E - May 2007  

The May 2007 issue is on poverty and climate change, especially in Africa, and with a focus on Kenya. We’re profiling a new collaboration wi...

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