Press Releases

Give something different – give a gift that lasts, with Oxfam’s Christmas range

Give something different this Christmas by giving a gift that lasts, with Oxfam Ireland’s new range of ethical and sustainable presents.

The charity is calling on the public to shop more sustainably this year by visiting their local Oxfam shop and browsing their wide range of gifts that last, from Unwrapped alternative gift cards to the beautifully unique ‘Sourced by Oxfam’ items. Each gift makes a lasting impact by helping to raise vital funds for Oxfam’s work worldwide, including communities affected by the climate crisis.  

Available online and in-store, there are new additions in the Unwrapped range for 2019, including the There Is No Planet B card (€20/£18) tackling climate change and helping farmers living in poverty to prepare for the challenge as well as the You Are My Sunshine Solar Lamp card (€20/£18), which really does provide a brighter future for people affected by disaster. Or perhaps you’d prefer to give a Wee Gift? The A Toilet card (€15/£13) helps give families who have lost everything access to clean water and decent sanitation to stop the spread of deadly diseases. To see Oxfam’s full range of Unwrapped gifts, visit oxfamireland.org/unwrapped

Meanwhile in-store only, the Sourced by Oxfam range contains fantastically festive food, gifts and homewares that are made with care, protect the planet, help the women and men who produce them to earn a decent living and raise vital funds to beat poverty for good. Present ideas new to this year’s gift range include more Fairtrade food choices like Dark Chocolate With Tangy Clementine and White Chocolate Strawberry Hearts, candles scented Lavendar Leaf, Rose Leaf and more, notebooks, decorations and homewares like Sari Fluffy Rug… as well as Moomins!

Michael McIlwaine, Oxfam Ireland’s Head of Retail, said: “Every year we give and receive gifts that we don’t need, asking ourselves questions like ‘What will I get for the person who has everything?’ This Christmas, we’re asking people to give something different by shopping more sustainably at their local Oxfam.

“Everything in our wide range of gifts is guaranteed to last longer than the typical bottle of wine or festive foodie hamper as all of them help beat poverty for good by raising vital funds for our work across the world.

“From supporting development projects that change lives in Rwanda, Tanzania and beyond, to saving lives through emergency responses in places like Syria – where millions forced to flee are facing a harsh winter with little means to survive it – your gift will make a difference that lasts for women, children and men in desperate need.

“Why not commit to #GiveSomethingDifferent as one of your gifts this year? Whether that’s your workplace Secret Santa or kids’ stocking fillers, your local Oxfam has got you covered!”

Simply call into one of Oxfam’s shops across the island, or phone 1850 30 40 55 (Republic of Ireland) or 0800 0 30 40 55 (Northern Ireland). To find the Oxfam shop nearest to you, visit oxfamireland.org/shops

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For more information, or to request images, please contact:

ROI:        Alice Dawson-Lyons on 00 353 (0) 83 198 1869 / alice.dawsonlyons@oxfam.org

NI:           Phillip Graham on 0044 (0) 7841 102535 / phillip.graham@oxfamireland.org

 

NOTES TO THE EDITOR:

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Ireland must pledge five times more money to help poor countries tackle climate crisis

Green Climate Fund short-changed by rich polluting countries - Oxfam

Ireland needs to contribute over five times the amount it has committed to tackle the climate crisis in order to ensure we’re paying our fair share, Oxfam said ahead of a two-day pledging conference to the Green Climate Fund which begins in Paris today.

Ireland is falling short of its climate commitments as it is set to pledge just US$16 million to the fund over the next four years. Although this doubles the amount pledged in the last round of funding, it is just 20% of the minimum amount (US$90 - 100 million) that Oxfam estimates as its fair share. This is based on Ireland’s responsibility for causing the climate crisis and the size of its economy.

Globally, the aid agency is calling on rich polluting countries to stop short-changing poor countries by billions of dollars, vital funds they need to mitigate and adapt to the devastating impact of climate breakdown. 

To date, developed countries have pledged US$7.5 billion to the Fund to cover the next four-year spending period. This is just half of the $15 billion that Oxfam believes should be the target in order to meet the growing needs of low-income countries.

  • Canada, Austria, and the Netherlands have contributed a third of what Oxfam estimates to be their fair share.
  • Australia has indicated that it will join the US and refuse to provide new funds in this round.
  • Countries such as Japan, Italy, Switzerland, Belgium, Finland, Portugal, and New Zealand have yet to announce their contribution.

By comparison, Germany, UK, France, Norway and Sweden have doubled their contributions since the first funding round in 2014/15.

Jim Clarken, Chief Executive of Oxfam Ireland said: “The people we work with in some of the world’s poorest countries are suffering the impact of the climate crisis right now and require ambitious and urgent action. They are on the frontlines of increasingly extreme and unpredictable weather caused by manmade changes to the climate.

“We, the rich countries most responsible for the crisis, will be the last ones to feel the effects. We have a responsibility to live up to our commitments and contribute our fair share to the Green Climate Fund. While Ireland has increased its funding, it can and should do more to assist poor countries. It is imperative that we assist those who are becoming increasingly vulnerable to flooding, drought and storms as well as other weather-related disasters.”

The Green Climate Fund was established in 2010 and will be the main multilateral channel through which rich countries can support poor countries to tackle the climate crisis. Over the past four years, more than 110 projects in developing countries have been allocated financial support from the fund for projects such as the expansion of solar power in Nigeria and Mali, the restoration of forests in Honduras, and the creation of more resilient agriculture systems in Bhutan and Belize.

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Contact: Alice Dawson-Lyons on 00 353 (0) 83 198 1869 / alice.dawsonlyons@oxfam.org

Notes to Editor:

A background briefing on the Green Climate Fund with a breakdown of contributions form key developed countries is available.

The International Energy Agency estimates that oil, gas and coal investments totalled US$933 billion in 2018 https://www.iea.org/wei2019/

The GCF is one of a range of channels, funds and initiatives through which developed countries provide climate finance to developing countries, in order to meet their overall target of delivering $100 billion of climate finance a year by 2020. Oxfam believes the GCF is an effective channel for delivering climate finance because it has an equal number of seats for developing countries on its board, a commitment to allocate at least 50 percent of funds to adaptation and to mainstream gender, and a structure that allows funds to be channelled directly to developing countries rather than through other agencies like the World Bank.

Oxfam is working with poor communities around the globe to help them adapt to a changing climate and cut their emissions. For example, rice production is also a major contributor to the climate crisis - half of all emissions of methane, one of the most potent greenhouse gases, come from cattle and rice fields. The System of Rice Intensification (SRI) is a way of managing the plants, soil, water and nutrients so that farmers can produce more rice using less water, chemicals and seeds. It significantly reduces methane emissions.  More than 1.5 million smallholder farmers in groups supported by Oxfam’s partners in Cambodia, Sri Lanka and Vietnam have benefited from SRI.  Testimonies and pictures are available here.

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Oxfam calls for political solution to be prioritised in Syria/Turkey conflict

There is no military solution to the situation in Syria and the best way to protect civilians is an immediate cessation of hostilities, Oxfam said.

The aid agency, which has been providing support to conflict-affected communities throughout the war and is closely monitoring the evolving situation, urged all parties to focus their efforts on a political solution.

“All sides must ensure every measure is taken to protect civilians and facilitate safe, unhindered humanitarian access to people in desperate need of relief wherever they are,” said Colm Byrne, humanitarian manager with Oxfam Ireland.

Many thousands of families caught up in the fighting in the north east of Syria are being forced to flee in the sixth day of conflict, while the media is reporting that more than 50 civilians have lost their lives*. Oxfam, calling for international humanitarian law to be upheld, said civilians are never legitimate targets in any conflict.

New damage to water systems in north-east Syria is reducing amount of available water in major population centres and is likely to impact civilians forced to flee their homes due to conflict, Oxfam warned. The UN says up to 160,000 civilians are now on the move and it expects the number to rise.

As another harsh winter approaches and the conflict in the north east of Syria escalates, displaced people will be in desperate need of food, clean water, clothing, warm blankets, stoves and fuel. Oxfam is on the ground in Syria, already helping over one million people with aid including water, cash and essential clothing items.
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Oxfam Ireland’s Humanitarian Manager Colm Byrne, recently returned from Syria, is available for interview.
For more information please contact: Phillip Graham on 00 44 (0) 7841 102535 / phillip.graham@oxfam.org

NOTES TO EDITORS

Media reports of more than 50 civilians killed: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-50039106

Oxfam Ireland has launched an emergency appeal for public donations for Syria. People can donate online via www.oxfamireland.org/syria-appeal, or through Oxfam Ireland’s network of 47 retail shops across the island. To find the Oxfam shop nearest to you, visit  www.oxfamireland.org/shops

In 2018/19, Oxfam in Syria helped over 1.2 million people with aid including clean water, cash, essential clothing items, and support to help make a living and grow nutritious food. In Lebanon and Jordan, Oxfam has to date helped some 300,000 people affected by the Syria crisis. •

Before this latest escalation in conflict 12 million people in Syria needed humanitarian aid and 300,000 have already lost their lives. • According to the UN’s Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), there are at least 1,650,000 people in need of humanitarian assistance in north-east Syria

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Oxfam calls for international community urgent action to prevent humanitarian crisis in North-East Syria

Oxfam Ireland launches emergency appeal for North-East Syria

Oxfam is calling for urgent action from the international community to do all in their power to ensure that the humanitarian situation in north-east Syria does not worsen further.

Oxfam Ireland has also now launched an emergency appeal for public donations, following on from the aid agency’s announcement that it is providing new funding for the unfolding and ongoing humanitarian crisis.

Amid news reports of an increasingly chaotic situation and escalating humanitarian concerns following the US withdrawal from north-eastern Syria, and Turkey’s offensive, Oxfam is primarily concerned for the safety, security and rights of the civilians caught in the middle.

Oxfam is calling on all sides to protect civilians, adhere to international humanitarian law and to allow full access to aid.

Oxfam Ireland’s Humanitarian Manager Colm Byrne, recently returned from Syria, said: “As concerns continue to raise for the humanitarian consequences of on-going hostilities, we re-iterate the need for the international community to respond.

“For too long, the conflict in Syria has risked becoming a forgotten crisis and the world can no longer stand idly by. Urgent action is needed to prevent potentially dire consequences for families and children who find themselves once again caught up in deadly violence. All children must be protected and provided humanitarian assistance.

“With an ongoing major crisis in Idlib and huge needs across the country, the aid response in Syria is already stretched to breaking point.

“This latest violence is compounding the suffering of civilians in Syria – nine years after the crisis began. Before this latest escalation in conflict 12 million people needed humanitarian aid and 300,000 have already lost their lives.

“The security situation in the area is already fragile, with tens of thousands of fighters and their families being held in camps and detention centres.

“An estimated 450,000 people live within 3 miles of the Syria-Turkey border and are at risk if all sides do not exercise maximum restraint and prioritize the protection of civilians. According to the UN’s Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), there are at least 1,650,000 people in need of humanitarian assistance in north-east Syria. The population includes more than 90,000 internally displaced people, who have already been forced to flee their homes at least once in Syria’s unrelenting war.

“Oxfam is on the ground, already helping over one million people in Syria with aid including clean water, cash and essential clothing items. Those now forced to flee are facing a winter of dreadful conditions with little means to survive it – they urgently need food, water, clothing, warm blankets, stoves and fuel. As winter approaches and the conflict escalates we urgently need to continue our live-saving work to reach even more women, children and men in desperate need.”

People wishing to support Oxfam’s emergency appeal for Syria can donate online via www.oxfamireland.org/syria-appeal, or through Oxfam Ireland’s network of 47 retail shops across the island. To find the Oxfam shop nearest to you, visit www.oxfamireland.org/shops .

ENDS

Oxfam Ireland’s Humanitarian Manager Colm Byrne, recently returned from Syria, is available for interview. For more information please contact:

Phillip Graham on 00 44 (0) 7841 102535 / phillip.graham@oxfam.org

NOTES TO EDITORS

  • In 2018/19, Oxfam in Syria helped over 1.2 million people with aid including clean water, cash, essential clothing items, and support to help make a living and grow nutritious food. In Lebanon and Jordan, Oxfam has to date helped some 300,000 people affected by the Syria crisis.

Omar* (27 years old), Fatima* and their 2-year-old son. Photo Credit: Pablo Tosco/Oxfam

Oxfam Ireland provides additional funding for new humanitarian crisis in Syria

 

Oxfam has announced additional funding for the unfolding and ongoing humanitarian crisis in Syria and called for urgent international action to prevent the situation deteriorating further following Turkey’s intervention.

Oxfam Ireland’s Humanitarian Manager Colm Byrne, recently returned from Syria, said:

This latest violence serves as a reminder to the international community that the crisis in Syria, now in its 9th year, never went away. This was already an unprecedented human tragedy unfolding on an unimaginable scale – nearly 12 million people are still in need of humanitarian aid."

The news reports of civilians being killed and injured, homes being destroyed and communities having to flee for their lives at such short notice, is truly disturbing and distressing. To see the stories of tens of thousands of people being displaced in the space of two days is shocking. These are numbers we have become numb to, complacent of, in a conflict which amidst world events, increasingly lacks the attention of the international community that it deserves.

Many will have left their homes in such a panic, with only what they could grab and the clothes on their backs. We are now committing an extra €50,000 to support those caught up in conflict in Syria.

Armed conflict in almost every context has implications for the capacity of humanitarian agencies to reach those most in need. Throughout Syria, those forced to flee the ongoing conflict already face another approaching winter of dreadful conditions. Many have little means to face the harsh weather. They urgently need food, water, clothing, warm blankets, stoves, and fuel.

Byrne added that all sides in the conflict must ensure that their military operations do not intentionally target civilians or civilian infrastructure, and civilians should be provided with the right to free movement. “Governments must adhere to international humanitarian law and allow full access to aid. Any refugee returns from Turkey that may follow must be safe, dignified, and voluntary.”

The scale of the required response means that world leaders urgently need to do more to help. The humanitarian response in Syria remains significantly underfunded; as of July 2019, the UN’s response plan for the year was less than a quarter (23.5%) funded, with over $2.5bn of aid, required to meet humanitarian needs identified across Syria.

Over 300,000 people have lost their lives as a result of the conflict in Syria, with hundreds of thousands more seriously injured. The conflict is driving the largest displacement crisis in the world. 6.2 million people have had to flee their homes within Syria – many several times.

According to the UN, 6.5 million people are facing acute food insecurity, and over one-third of the population relies on unsafe water supply. Seven-in-ten people are living in extreme poverty.

In 2018/19, Oxfam in Syria helped over 1.2 million people with aid including clean water, cash, essential clothing items, and support to help make a living and grow nutritious food. In Lebanon and Jordan, Oxfam has to date helped some 300,000 people affected by the Syria crisis.

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Oxfam has spokespeople available for interview. For more information please contact: Phillip Graham on 00 44 (0) 7841 102535 / phillip.graham@oxfam.org

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