Press Releases

“Let’s talk about #FirstWorldProblems…” – Oxfam Ireland

  • New Oxfam campaign highlights how we’re #OneWorld and all part of solutions to global issues

Oxfam Ireland is calling on people to talk about #FirstWorldProblems, tapping into the often-trending topic to start a new conversation around the issues facing us as a global community.  

The charity’s #FirstWorldProblems campaign launched today with the release of a short online video suggesting there aren’t actually any first world problems, just one world facing global issues that affect us all.

Using the hashtag #FirstWorldProblems is a good reminder that we’re all aware there are bigger – and much less trivial – problems facing people around the world.

But it can suggest that those problems are removed from our lives here in Ireland when in reality, and especially since the COVID-19 pandemic, we’ve never been more aware of how connected we are.

Oxfam Ireland’s #FirstWorldProblems campaign aims to highlight how the biggest problems facing our global community – from poverty and inequality to discrimination, conflict and climate change – are shared, but so to are the solutions.

It also aims to show how the people of Ireland are part of those solutions every day, including through their contribution to Ireland’s overseas development programme, Irish Aid where they contribute a small portion of their taxes to support development and humanitarian work carried out by organisations like Oxfam Ireland.

People can watch the full #FirstWorldProblems video and find out more about the campaign at www.oxfamireland.org/fwp.

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CONTACT: For interviews or more information, please contact:

Caroline Reid | caroline.reid@oxfam.org | +353 (0) 87 912 3165

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

Notes to the Editor:

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Oxfam Ireland launches brand new online Christmas shop

  • Oxfam goes digital amid Covid-19 lockdowns with new online Christmas shop 

  • Go green and power people this Christmas with Oxfam’s online gift range 

Oxfam Ireland have officially launched a brand-new online Christmas shop calling on people to do something precious this Christmas by giving gifts that support both people and planet. 

The charity is calling on the public to shop with purpose this year by visiting their new online pop-up shop to browse their wide range of gifts. Each gift makes a lasting impact by supporting small traders the world over and helping to raise vital funds for Oxfam’s global work to beat poverty.

The Sourced by Oxfam range contains an abundance of festive food, gifts and eoc-products that are made with care, protect the planet, and help the women and men who produce them to earn a decent living – providing them with a way to lift themselves out of poverty. Present ideas in this year’s gift range include Zaytoun's Extra Virgin Olive Oil (€28). This Fairtrade oil is sourced from family-owned olive groves in Palestine. Zaytoun is an award-winning social enterprise where 100 percent of profits are reinvested into furthering their mission of supporting Palestinian farmers by paying a fair price - enabling them to fund community projects and invest in farming tools. 

Oxfam’s online shop also has a range of great options for children and young people including educational books such as An Anthology of Intriguing Animals (€15), the ABC of Kindness (€8) and Plastic Planet (€9), and fun Moomin Calendars (€11) to start making plans for 2021. What you might not know is that by buying Moomin at Oxfam you are supporting a special partnership that raises funds for projects that are empowering women and girls worldwide.

Michael McIlwaine, Oxfam Ireland’s Head of Retail, said: “This Christmas, we’re asking people to give something different by shopping more sustainably on our new online shop. 

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

“From supporting development projects that transform lives in Rwanda, Tanzania and beyond, to saving lives through emergency responses in places like Yemen – where millions of people already on the brink of famine now face a deadly winter freeze – your gift will make a difference for people most in need and help to protect our shared planet.

“Last year alone, the generosity of people shopping at Oxfam, especially at Christmas time, raised enough money to fund life-changing projects that positively impacted the lives of 7.9 million people across 10 countries – including supporting women to develop businesses and earn an income, getting safe, clean water to people in desperate need, and helping communities prepare for extreme weather events.”

In addition to their online shop, Oxfam also offer their Unwrapped gift collection. With Unwrapped, you are guaranteed to find the perfect card – be it for a winter birthday or wedding, or a quick hello or season’s greetings - in support a cause you or your recipient care about, such as climate change or access to education. People can add a personal message to their gift card either online (e-card) or by hand (Oxfam post you out your Unwrapped card). 

McIlwaine concluded: “Why not commit to give something different as one of your gifts this year? Whether that’s your workplace Kris Kringle or family stocking fillers, Oxfam’s online shop and Unwrapped gift range has you covered.” 

Visit the new Oxfam online shop via https://shop.oxfamireland.org/

To see Oxfam’s full range of Unwrapped gifts, visit oxfamireland.org/unwrapped

ENDS

Contact

Caroline Reid | caroline.reid@oxfam.org | +353 (0) 87 912 3165

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

NOTES TO THE EDITOR:

  • Oxfam shops will reopen in line with Government regulations – it is hoped this will be on the 2nd December. 
  • Product images for use: https://oxfam.box.com/s/s6rep9ku1bhbwi223e4m2oxri97z3eyg
  • This is Oxfam Ireland’s second pivot to digital due to Covid-19 restrictions. Early in the year their fashion fundraiser Fashion Relief went digital with a bi-weekly interactive a 30-minute programme aired from Lorraine Keane’s home every second Friday at 7.00pm. The show allows viewers to click and buy what they see, raising vital funds for Oxfam’s work worldwide, including their COVID-19 response in some of the world’s poorest countries. Launched on Friday 12th June 2020, Fashion Relief TV is an always on platform so viewers can watch back and shop at any time at www.fashionrelief.ie   
  • Each of the Unwrapped gifts represent one of four funds – Livelihoods, Saving Lives, Water for All, or Investing in Futures – and all money raised through the sale of Unwrapped cards/e-cards will go toward the relevant fund and help Oxfam's work worldwide.
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Over two million people impacted as Super Typhoon Goni sweeps across the Philippines

  • Entire villages under water and mud flows in aftermath of Typhoon Goni

  • Major crop damage estimated to impact 20,000 farmers

Oxfam is working with local partners and coordinating with local governments in the Philippines to assess the damage and needs of affected communities following Super Typhoon Goni’s four landfalls yesterday and early this morning.

At least two million people or 400,000 families have been affected, with thousands of homes damaged or destroyed, and at least ten people killed, according to the latest government figures. The intense storm also caused major damage to crops, with an estimated 20,000 farmers impacted.

The world’s strongest typhoon this year has now passed through the Philippines and weakened after hitting the densely populated capital, Manila, early this morning.

Oxfam Philippines’ Humanitarian Lead, Rhoda Avila said: “We have experienced terrible wind speeds, lashing rains and devastating flooding. Buildings have been destroyed and whole villages are under water and mud flows.

“We will be conducting assessments of affected areas with our partners as soon as we can get access, but conditions are very difficult. Roads are flooded and power is down in many areas making communications with some parts impossible.

“We also have to work with the threat of COVID-19 transmission in mind to protect both our emergency response teams and the people they are helping.”

Oxfam has been trialling a new disaster relief system in various parts of the country. B-READY identifies vulnerable people in several communities who are likely to be affected when a typhoon sweeps through their community. Once the exact path of the typhoon is confirmed, cash transfers to those people are then triggered to enable them to prepare by securing their properties and ensuring they have enough provisions to get through the first few days.

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Contact 

Caroline Reid | caroline.reid@oxfam.org | +353 (0) 87 912 3165

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

Notes to the editor

  • In country spokespeople available for interview 
  • Oxfam is working with local partners Humanitarian Response Consortium, Aksyon sa Kahandaan sa Kalamidad at Klima (AKKMA) and Philippine Support Service Agencies (PHILSSA), Community Organizers Multiversity (COM), and People’s Disaster Risk Reduction Network (PDRRN).
  • Super Typhoon Goni (known locally as Rolly) is the Philippines' 18th tropical cyclone for 2020.
  • Tropical Storm Siony is expected to make landfall in Cagayan Valley (in the northeast of the island of Luzon) later this week, according to the state weather bureau PAGASA. Cagayan Valley is the same area ravaged by Mangkhut, a powerful super typhoon, in September 2018 - which was the strongest storm that year.
  • An average of 20 tropical cyclones form within or enter the Philippine Area of Responsibility each year. Goni is the third consecutive typhoon in two weeks.
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Not fit for winter: Conditions in ‘Moria 2.0’ camp are abysmal - GCR and Oxfam

Oxfam Ireland urge for swift relocation of the remaining 26 unaccompanied children from Greece to Ireland

The new temporary camp on the Greek island of Lesbos is even worse than the original Moria camp, with inadequate shelter, hardly any running water, limited healthcare services, and no access to legal aid, said the Greek Council for Refugees (GCR) and Oxfam in their latest ‘Lesbos Bulletin’ news update. The organisations call for the immediate relocation of all people seeking asylum in Lesbos to adequate accommodation on the Greek mainland and in other EU countries - including the remaining 26 unaccompanied children Ireland has committed to relocate.

Almost 8,000 people – most of them families with children – now live in tents not fit for winter, some of which are just 20 metres from the sea. The tents lack a solid foundation and provide no protection against the weather including against strong sea winds and rains.

Food is only provided once or twice per day, and according to residents there is not enough to feed their families. Due to the lack of running water, many people wash themselves in the sea – this is particularly risky for children who could drown or get infected by wastewater from the camp. Due to the lack of toilets and showers as well as insufficient lighting in the new camp, women are also exposed to increased risks of sexual and gender-based violence.

Jim Clarken, Chief Executive of Oxfam Ireland said: “When Moria burnt down, we heard strong statements from EU decision-makers saying ‘No more Morias’. But the new camp is rightly dubbed ‘Moria 2.0’. 

“The EU and Greek response following the Moria fire has been pitiful. Rather than relocating people to proper shelters where they would be safe, the EU and Greece have opted for another dismal camp at the external borders, trapping people in a spiral of destitution and misery.  

“This approach is echoed in the new EU migration pact: it proposes more camps at Europe’s borders to screen people seeking asylum. Experience shows that it is unlikely that resources will be invested to ensure a fair and efficient procedure. This means ordinary people using their legal right to flee conflict and human rights abuses will remain in limbo and despair, out of sight of the European public and politicians."

Natalia-Rafaella Kafkoutsou, refugee law expert at the Greek Council for Refugees, said: “We are deeply concerned about living conditions in the new camp and urge Greece to relocate immediately everyone from the island. Though the government’s plan to relocate all residents by Easter is welcome, it fails to address the squalid conditions in the camp, which will deteriorate in winter.

“The government plan also does not provide a durable and coherent integration strategy, in order to avoid simply transferring a policy-made problem from the island to the mainland. This also means that European governments need to work together and ensure effective relocation across member states for those seeking protection in Europe. The practices and policies that led to the failure of the EU ‘hotspot’ approach, both in Lesbos and the other Aegean islands, should not be replicated and consolidated in the EU’s future asylum system, which seems to be the case with the current proposals for a new EU migration pact.”  

Clarken concluded: “We recently welcomed the increase in funding for TUSLA in Budget 2021, and reiterate our hope that this leads to the swift relocation of the remaining 26 unaccompanied children from Greece to Ireland as committed to by the Government in March of this year. 

“We also urge the government to ensures that the International Protection (Family Reunification) (Amendment) Bill 2017 be resubmitted for attention, allowed to pass through the final stages of the Dáil and be enacted into law. This simple act can reunite families torn apart by conflict and persecution.” 

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Contact

Caroline Reid | caroline.reid@oxfam.org | +353 (0) 87 912 3165 

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

Notes to editors:

  • Spokespeople are available in Ireland, Athens and Lesbos (English, Greek) as well as in Brussels (English).
  • In March of this year Ireland committed to bring 36 unaccompanied minors to Ireland from Greece. To date, Ireland has brought eight of the 36 children they pledged to relocate as part of the Coalition of the Willing initiative, with a commitment following the fires in Moria to begin working to relocate an additional four unaccompanied minors. 
  • Read the full “Lesbos Bulletin”, a two-monthly update on the situation in the EU ‘hotspot’ refugee camp in Lesbos
  • When Oxfam conducted a rapid protection assessment at the end of September, the organisation identified numerous risks to the people living in the camp including limited access to food and healthcare, insufficient measures against COVID-19, as well as no drainage and sewerage system on site. The protection assessment that was conducted by Oxfam at the end of September is available upon request.
  • The fire in Moria camp occurred on the 8th and 9th September and left over 12,000 people without shelter.
  • After the fire, the European Commissioner for Home Affairs, Ylva Johansson, said that “Conditions in Moria, both before and after the fire, were unacceptable… It is not good enough to say never again, we need action and all Member States must play their part.”
  • The UNHCR and NGOs have protested the Greek government’s decision to close two alternative community-based care sites in Lesbos for people seeking asylum, Kara Tepe and Pikpa. Following public pressure, the government has stated that the facility would temporarily remain open.
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True value of climate finance is just a third of that reported by developed countries – Oxfam

Ireland does well in terms of quality but falls down in terms of quantity

The true value of money provided by developed countries to help developing nations respond to the climate crisis may be just a third of the amount reported, according to Oxfam estimates published today – with Ireland standing out as one of the few countries that provide 100 percent of untied, grant-based climate finance.  

Oxfam’s Climate Finance Shadow Report 2020 estimates that donors reported $59.5 billion per year on average in 2017 and 2018 – the latest years for which figures are available. But the true value of support for climate action may be as little as $19-22.5 billion per year once loan repayments, interest and other forms of over-reporting are stripped out. 

Oxfam’s analysis is being released ahead of a report by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) on developed countries’ progress towards the goal of providing $100 billion in climate finance per year by 2020.

An astonishing 80 percent ($47 billion) of all reported public climate finance was not provided in the form of grants – mostly as loans. Around half ($24 billion) of this finance was non-concessional, offered on ungenerous terms. Oxfam calculated that the ‘grant equivalent’ – the true value of the loans once repayments and interest are deducted – was less than half of the amount reported. 

Compared to other countries Ireland also does well in terms of targeting its climate finance grants on those most in need- low income countries. Ireland’s new overseas development aid (ODA) strategy, A Better World, commits to continue this focus.

While the quality of Irish climate finance is high, Ireland is falling short in terms of the quantity and predictability of these financial flows. In 2018, Ireland reported nearly €80 million in climate finance as its annual contribution to the $100 billion a year global climate finance target to be reached by 2020. However, based on estimates using the Eco-Equity Stockholm Environment Institute Responsibility Capacity Index, Ireland’s fair share of this annual figure is over five times this amount.

Michael McCarthy Flynn, Senior Research and Policy Coordinator with Oxfam Ireland, said: “Climate finance is a lifeline for communities facing record heat waves, terrifying storms and devastating floods. Even as governments struggle with COVID-19, they must not lose sight of the mounting threat from the climate crisis. The commitment in the Programme for Government to double the percentage of development assistance that counts as climate finance, without allocating additional funds, risks simply re-labelling existing aid as climate finance rather than committing to providing new and additional finance to support climate action in the poorest countries.

“Developed countries like Ireland need to up their ambition in relation to climate finance and allocate more finance for adaptation and prioritise the most vulnerable countries – including Least Developed Countries and Small Island Developing States. They should also use the COP26 climate summit in Glasgow next November as an opportunity to set a new path for climate finance beyond 2020 by agreeing robust common accounting standards, and a specific finance goal for adaptation.”

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Contact

Caroline Reid | caroline.reid@oxfam.org| +353 (0) 87 912 3165

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

Notes to editors:

  • Spokespeople are available for interview.
  • Download a full copy of the report, Climate Finance Shadow Report 2020: Assessing progress towards the $100 billion commitment
  • The analysis comes ahead of updated estimates and analysis of climate finance provided and mobilised by developed countries prepared by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) expected in the coming weeks.
  • In 2009, developed countries committed to mobilise $100 billion per year in climate finance by 2020 to support developing countries to adapt to the impacts of climate change and reduce their emissions. At the COP26 climate talks in Glasgow next year, nations will begin negotiations on a new goal or goals to replace this commitment from 2025.
  • The figure of $59.5 billion is an average of the climate finance reported in 2017 and 2018 towards the $100 billion goal by developed country governments, multilateral development banks, multilateral climate funds and other organisations as reported to the UNFCCC and the OECD. They are the most recent figures available. 
  • Oxfam’s $19-22.5 billion figure includes the estimated grant equivalent of reported climate finance rather than the face value of loans and other non-grant instruments. It also accounts for overreporting of climate finance where action to combat climate change is only part of a broader development project.
  • This is Oxfam’s third Shadow Climate Finance Report. Reported public climate finance has increased from $44.5 billion per year in 2015 and 2016 (OECD) to an estimated $59.5 billion per year in 2017 and 2018. Oxfam’s estimate of net, climate specific assistance showed a more modest rise from $15–19.5 billion per year in 2015 and 2016 to $19–22.5 billion in 2017 and 2018. 
  • The analysis also raises serious concerns about how developed countries are allocating climate finance. Of total reported public climate finance in 2017-18, Oxfam estimates: 
  1. Around a fifth (20.5 percent) of funding went to the Least Developed Countries and just three percent to Small Island Developing States, which face the gravest threat from climate change and have the fewest   resources to cope 
  2. Only a quarter (25 percent) of funding was spent helping countries adapt to the impacts of the climate crisis while 66 percent of funds were spent helping countries cut emissions. However, the volume of funding for adaptation rose significantly from $9 billion per year in 2015–16 to $15 billion in 2017–18. 
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