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Time for Ireland to lead on climate and support poorer nations

The climate crisis is the most urgent issue facing humanity and the planet. It affects many of the communities with which Oxfam works, disrupting their livelihoods through gradual, insidious changes in temperature and rainfall patterns, and increasing the frequency and intensity of cyclones, floods and droughts.

Vulnerability to disaster and climate change matters because it perpetuates and deepens poverty and suffering. It stands in the way of people – particularly women –being able to enjoy their basic rights and reduces their chances of ever being able to attain them.

solar powered water pump poverty
Oxfam installed a solar powered water pump in Ghana that allows women to farm vegetables during the dry season. Ireland needs impactful climate action that helps all people. Photo: Oxfam

Ireland has fallen short on taking meaningful action to tackle climate change, with the Government dragging its heels and missing key targets. While the Government’s 2019 Climate Action Plan is a step forward, it lacks any significant ambition.

The devastating impacts of climate change are being felt everywhere and are having very real consequences on people’s lives, especially in the world’s poorest countries. As well as reducing carbon emissions at home, richer nations like Ireland must provide climate finance to ensure that the most affected countries have enough resources to support them in the fight against the climate crisis.

The government has committed to at least double the percentage of its aid budget spending on climate finance by 2030. In 2018, Ireland spent some 10 percent of its aid budget on climate – that needs to be increased to 20 percent. With climate breakdown already devastating communities, it is vital that this target is reached by 2025 at the latest.

Ahead of the general election on February 8th, Oxfam Ireland is calling on the new government to:

  • Deliver annual reductions in climate-polluting emissions of at least 8% a year for the lifetime of the next government.
  • Help poorer countries to cope with the climate emergency by spending 20 percent of its aid budget on climate finance by 2025.

Everything you need to know to leave a legacy

“Putting your house in order, if you can do it, is one of the most comforting activities, and the benefits of it are incalculable.”

Happy Family

Why?

Making a will can give you a comfortable peace of mind knowing that you can look after your loved ones, friends or your favourite charities, ensuring that your wishes are respected. Oxfam is a global movement of people who will not live with poverty. Across the world, we give people the support they need to turn their lives around, stand on their own two feet, care for their children and build a future free from poverty. Last year, we helped to support 19.5 million people in 90 countries.

15-year-old Grace* from Malawi used to have to walk two hours each way every day just to get to her classroom. The walk used to make her vulnerable to harassment from young boys and the worry of this used to influence Grace*’s concentration and performance in class. Since receiving a bicycle from Oxfam, Grace* can now speed past the boys who used to bother her, and spend less time travelling to school and more time learning. This impact in Grace*’s life was made possible by gifts from amazing supporters like you.

Young Grace on her new Oxfam bicycle. Photo: Corinna Kern/Oxfam
Grace* on her new Oxfam bicycle. Photo: Corinna Kern/Oxfam

How?

It’s easier than you think! First, work out what you've got. Start by sitting down with a nice hot cup of tea and write down everything you own – including savings, possessions, property – and their approximate value. Then, note down the names of relatives and friends – people you want to include in your will.

Match up the two lists and you’ll be ready to make an appointment with your solicitor or use our FREE online will-writing service.

Our Promise to You

Leaving a gift in your will to Oxfam Ireland is one of the best ways to support our work. In return, we promise you that:

  • Your legacy will help change lives. Every euro/pound you give will be stretched as far as possible. We will invest your gift efficiently and cost effectively, so it has the most impact.
  • Your privacy is paramount. We respect your privacy and will look after your gift to us with sensitivity, care and confidentiality.
  • We know that the decision is yours alone and that circumstances can change. You may, of course, change your mind about your gift to Oxfam at any time in the future.
  • We are discreet. You don’t have to tell us if you intend to leave a gift to Oxfam, but if you do, it will help us to plan future work and allow us to thank you.

We are always here. If there is anything you want to know about your gift to us, or the communities you are helping to thrive, please get in touch.

Thank You

With the help of supporters like you, we’ve been able to transform countless lives over the past six decades. In the last 20 years alone, over 660 million people have risen out of poverty; yet still one third of the world continues to live below the poverty line. But we know we can improve that statistic. Let’s make a world without poverty with the help of your legacy!

For more information, visit https://www.oxfamireland.org/donate/legacy.

*Name changed to protect identity

80% of people consider buying a charity gift at Christmas

More than 8 out of 10 Irish consumers would consider buying an ethical charity gift as a Christmas present for a friend or family member this Christmas, according to a survey by Oxfam Ireland.

Given the ongoing generosity of our own supporters throughout the years, and indeed the seasons, these survey results come with no surprise. Christmas being a time of goodwill, it’s a time where thoughts turn to buying gifts for our loved ones. Christmas is also the time we as a nation are known to think about donations to charity and helping people living in poverty. Oxfam Unwrapped offers you the choice of combining the two by giving your loved ones great gifts that keep on giving.

                                             


We found that over two-thirds (68%) of Irish people consider buying an ethical charity gift at Christmas and are encouraged to do so because it'll help those in need. So whether you’re looking for an affordable stocking filler like a Cooking Stove (€10/£7) or are raising money together with your school, group, company or club to buy a large-scale gift like Water for a School (€1,000/£926),  the impact is the same – real lives transformed for the better.

Almost 2 in 5 (37%) of Irish people say they would buy an ethical charity gift this Christmas as they know the person they'll give it to would love it, while another third (34%) mentioned that giving an ethical charity gift as a Christmas present is unique and different.

This year we have lots of gifts guaranteed to generate smiles on the faces of your loved ones!

Our incredible animal gifts are perfect for the animal lovers in your life and always a hit with kids. This year, our animal gifts include Honeybees (€20/£18), A Clutch of Chicks (€19/£17), A Goat (€35/£32), Goat Couple (€70/£64) and Two Little Pigs (€40/£35). By purchasing one of these, you'll raise money for Oxfam’s Livelihoods fund. This fund supports a wide range of life-changing programmes that help vulnerable communities who depend on healthy animals and farming for their livelihood. 

Oxfam Unwrapped - Great Gifts Change Lives For Good

Whether you want to buy a gift for a friend or family member who is passionate about education or loves to cook, we have you covered! You can buy the gift of a Little Sun Solar Lamp €20/£18,  Feed 6 Families (€52/£48), or support a Girls Education (€25/£23). Purchasing any of these gifts will raise money for one of Oxfam’s four specific funds – Livelihoods, Saving Lives, Investing in Futures and Water for All. Your gift will go where it’s needed most and begin to make an immediate difference. 

How to Buy

Once you’ve selected your Unwrapped gifts, there are several ways you can buy:

1. Online here

2. Via email at irl-unwrapped@oxfam.org

3. Call our office at 1850 30 40 55 (Republic of Ireland) or 0800 0 30 40 55 (Northern Ireland). We’re open Monday to Friday, 9am-5pm.

4. Or simply drop into your local Oxfam shop. There, you can select your gift cards of choice and even pick up some other impactful Christmas gifts!

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#MauritiusLeaks reveal Africa is losing crucial tax revenues to tax haven of Mauritius – Oxfam reaction

 
Tuesday 23rd July 2019
 
Responding to research published by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists today that multinational corporations are using the tax haven of Mauritius to avoid paying millions of dollars of tax across Africa, Jim Clarken, Oxfam Ireland’s Chief Executive, said:
 
“Mauritius Leaks provide yet another example of how multinational corporations are gaming the system to shrink their tax bills – and cheating some of the world’s poorest countries out of the vital tax revenues they need to get children into school or ensure people can see a doctor when they are ill.
 
“The true scandal is that this – like most tax avoidance schemes – is completely legal. Governments, including Ireland and the UK, must work together to shut down tax havens by ending tax secrecy so that it’s clear where corporations and the super-rich make profits and pay tax. Real political will is urgently needed to ensure meaningful transparency in the reporting of multinational companies’ tax affairs in the form of public country by country reporting. 
 
“This would stop companies artificially moving their profits to tax havens or using loopholes and secret deals to avoid paying their fair share. And it would let the public and governments in developing countries see what’s really going on, providing data to help review and, if necessary, reform corporate tax avoidance practices.
 
“It is not good enough to argue that tax avoidance is permissible because practices fall within the letter of the law. Legal loopholes abuse a broken system that allows the rich to get richer while the world’s poorest suffer.”
 
ENDS
 
CONTACT:
 
Oxfam experts are available for interview, including Peter Kamalingin, Oxfam’s Pan Africa Director. 

Please contact:

ROI:     Alice Dawson-Lyons: alice.dawsonlyons@oxfam.org / +353 (0) 83 198 1869

NI:        Phillip Graham: phillip.graham@oxfam.org / +44 (0) 7841 102535

Notes to the editor:

Mauritius Leaks revealed that multinational corporations artificially but legally shifted their profits out of African countries where they do business to the corporate tax haven of Mauritius, where foreign income like interest payments are taxed at the very low rate of 3 percent. Unfair tax agreements signed between Mauritius and countries in Africa and Europe allow some companies cut their tax bills even further.

Mauritius Leaks is a global investigation by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ). For more details see: https://www.icij.org/investigations/mauritius-leaks/
 
Since 2014, a huge number of documents, including the Panama Papers and Paradise Papers scandals, have been leaked by ICIJ unveiling how tax evasion and avoidance have become standard business practice across the globe.
 
Countries from across the globe, including several African countries, are currently participating in a round of international tax negotiations under the OECD-G20 umbrella, including issues such as the introduction of a global minimum effective tax rate. To effectively curb profit shifting, countries must ensure the global minimum effective tax rate is set at an ambitious level and applied at a country-by-country basis without exceptions.

In 2016, Oxfam exposed Mauritius as one the world’s 15 worst corporate tax havens in its report ‘Tax Battles.’ Download a copy of the report here.

On 28 May, 2019, the Tax Justice Network launched the Corporate Tax Haven Index (CTHI). Tax Justice Network Africa cited Mauritius as “among the most corrosive corporate tax havens against African countries”.
 
Company loans from Mauritius and nine other tax havens to African countries total over $80 billion. This means that for every $6 of foreign investment in Africa, $1 was a company loan from a tax haven. Two infographics detailing this information are available for download here.

How we’re working to prevent abuse, protect and empower people

A message from Oxfam Ireland Chief Executive, Jim Clarken

In Ghana, mother-of-two Christina grows maize to earn a living. She is one of the many female farmers in her community being trained by Oxfam to overcome challenges such as climate change. Learning new farming techniques ensures that Christina can continue to provide for her children and enable them to live a life free from poverty.Photo: Nana Kofi Acquah/Oxfam 

In my ten years at Oxfam Ireland, I have seen first-hand the incredible impact of our supporter’s generosity. From our live-saving work in times of hunger, drought, disaster and conflict to our long-term development programmes that help people lift themselves out of poverty as well as advocacy that tackles the injustices that keep people poor.  

None of this important work would be possible without a movement of people across the island of Ireland who donate, shop, volunteer and speak out with us. We’re so grateful.

We know that in supporting us, you’re trusting us to deliver programmes that put people’s safety and dignity at its core. We take that seriously and are continually working to strengthen our safeguarding systems, improve our culture and protect and empower people.

To ensure we are the best we can be, we launched a comprehensive action plan in February 2018 to review and update our safeguarding systems across the global confederation.

As part of this, we established an Independent Commission on Sexual Misconduct led by international women’s rights experts and asked them to hold us to the highest standards in reviewing all aspects of our safeguarding policies and practices.  

We welcome the findings in their final report and are ready to implement their recommendations, many of which we’ve already acted on. We are galvanised by the Commission’s positive acknowledgement of our progress to date and are more determined than ever to play a leadership role in safeguarding.

We have worked hard to improve our policies and procedures and build a positive culture in a global and diverse organisation.   

In Oxfam Ireland, we have created a designated safeguarding team to support staff and volunteers; completed an all-staff survey on culture and delivered workshops on our values. As part of the international organisation, we have increased budget, resources and staff to drive culture change across the entire confederation; introduced new policies on child safeguarding, protection, sexual diversity, and ethical content gathering and reformed our HR systems to strengthen our referencing processes and better recruit and train staff and volunteers with a greater focus on behaviours, culture and safeguarding.

And we won’t stop there. 

It is our priority to ensure that our staff, volunteers, partners and those we serve are safe and valued and we will not tolerate abuse of any kind in our workplace or programmes. 

We will continue to implement and champion policies and procedures in line with national and international best practice and create a culture where everyone feels safe, respected and empowered.

As always, we remain dedicated to making a positive impact on the lives of millions of people every year. We will not let the deplorable behaviour of a few stand in the way of our work to beat poverty, save lives when disaster strikes and end the injustices that trap people in poverty.

Thank you for standing in solidarity with us. 

To read more about Oxfam’s progress against its comprehensive action plan on safeguarding, visit: oxfamireland.org/impact

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