OK it’s imminent: fasten seat belts for the impending wonk, campaign, celeb and media fest around Oxfam’s campaign launch tomorrow. Biggest thing ever; simultaneous launches in 45 countries; bigger (at least in ambition) than Make Poverty History or Make Trade Fair, yadda yadda yadda. But due to the arcane rules of press work, I can’t tell you anything before the embargo (midnight tonight), not even its rather provocative name (or I’d have to kill you, sorry). All you get is one rather fuzzy graphic, which sets out the global challenge between now and 2010 and 2050, namely how do we get from the circle on the left (the world in 2010), to the circle on the right (a viable world in 2050), rather than something much, much worse. In case you can’t read the key, stripey = ‘planetary boundaries’; dark green = ‘ecological impact of global resource use’; pale green = ‘resource share of the worst-off 20% of people’.
Intrigued? Come back tomorrow and I’ll fill in the details. As for me, it’s on with the crumpled NGO suit and off to hit the media circuit ……
Robert Chambers is a participatory development guru with a nice line in modesty. The one line bio he sent for this post reads ‘Robert Chambers is a research associate at the Institute of Development Studies, Sussex, currently working on Community-Led Total Sanitation’. Well OK, but he’s also author of books that have changed the way we see development, such as Whose Reality Counts? and Revolutions in Development Enquiry. In his late 70s, he remains an extraordinarily energetic and influential voice across the development world, his achievements discussed in a new book about his work ’Revolutionising Development‘. So I was excited and honoured when he agreed to write this:
“CLTS is Community-Led Total Sanitation. It does not sound such a big deal, but it is revolutionary. Hype? We have so many ‘revolutions’ in development that only last a year or two and then fade into history. But this one is different. In all the years I have worked in development this is as thrilling and transformative as anything I have been involved in. Let me explain.
First, sanitation and scale. 2.6 billion people today lack improved sanitation. 1.1 billion defecate in the open. The MDG for sanitation is badly off track in most countries. All the other MDGs are affected.
Second, sanitation and hygiene matter much more than most people realise. Where they lack, the effects are horrendous. Faecally-related infections are many. Everyone has heard of the diarrhoeas and feels outrage at over 2 million children killed by diarrhoea each year. We hear about cholera outbreaks. But who hears about the guts of 1.5 billion people hosting greedy parasitic ascaris worms, about 740 million with hookworm voraciously devouring their blood, 200 million with debilitating schistosomiasis or 40 to 70 million with liverfluke? And what about hepatitis, giardia, tapeworms, typhoid, polio, trachoma…? On top of all these, many millions are likely to be affected by tropical enteropathy with damage to the gut wall reducing nutrient absorption (in effect wasting food) and diverting nutritional energy to make antibodies. All these can be dealt with through safe disposal of excreta and hygienic behaviour. We give undernourished children more and better food. Let that continue. But we can reasonably ask whether attacking undernutrition through sanitation and hygiene may not in many cases be more effective and more lasting?
Worldwide the traditional approach to hygiene has been education – people have to be taught, and hardware subsidy – poor people cannot afford toilets and have to be given them. Rural areas in developing countries are littered with the results: toilets not used, put to other purposes as stores, hencoops, a shrine and the like, or dismantled and the materials used elsewhere. Or the toilets go to those who are better off, not the poor. The dollars wasted must run into billions; and in some countries like India very large sums continue to go, so to speak, down the drain.
CLTS turns these failed approaches on their heads. There is no standard design, no hardware subsidy, no teaching, no special measures for people unable to help themselves, and no use of polite words – shit is shit. India leads in the international glossary of words for shit with Kenya runner up. Communities are triggered, facilitated to do their own analysis of their behaviour – through making their own participatory social and shit maps, inspecting the shit in the areas of open defecation (OD), and analysing pathways from shit to mouth. Often children are facilitated in parallel with adults and then present their findings to them. Throughout, there is a cocktail of embarrassment, laughter and disgust. When people realize that ‘We are eating one another’s shit’ it can ignite immediate action to dig pits and construct latrines with their own resources.
A follow up of encouragement, emphasising handwashing and hygiene as well as construction, is important. Ideally and often, those unable to dig and build for themselves are helped by others. It is in the common interest. When a community can declare itself ODF (open defecation free), external verification takes place, with subsequent celebration.
CLTS was pioneered in 2000 by Kamal Kar in Bangladesh. Since then he and now many others have been energetically spreading it round the world. Plan International, Unicef, the Water and Sanitation Programme of the World Bank, and Water Aid are among the organisations behind it. It is happening in over 40 countries. In a few it has stalled, but in most it is spreading, even exponentially. It is widespread in parts of South and Southeast Asia. In Africa, Sierra Leone, Mali, Kenya, Ethiopia, Zambia and Malawi stand out. The scene changes fast. In more and more countries CLTS has been adopted as Government policy and hardware subsidies to individual households have been stopped, sometimes facing down donors. Worldwide, after discounting heavily for misleading reports of targets achieved, probably over 10 million people are now living in communities that have credibly been declared ODF.
CLTS is not a magic wand. It faces serious obstacles – entrenched (and large) budgets for hardware subsidies; professional and bureaucratic sceptics and vested interests; training facilitators in classrooms when it needs to be hands-on in real time in communities; programmes with targets that are then reported ‘achieved’; myths of success; donor and lender agencies insisting on subsidies; and the corruption that so often goes with hardware programmes.
But it is driven by passionate champions. And they multiply. They emerge at all levels. Once they have experienced the power of CLTS, many become energetically committed. They realise how it enhances human wellbeing. They see what a difference having a toilet makes to women and girls in particular – issues of privacy, menstrual hygiene, self-respect, and the bodily wellbeing of being able to defecate during daylight, which is such a transformation for women in South Asia.
CLTS has spread initially in rural areas. But in India, Kenya, Mauritania and Nigeria it has been pioneered in urban slums. Watch this space. And it has applications too for solid waste and liquid waste management, and perhaps other domains.
So, yes, it is thrilling. It is an international movement, itself a community of like-minded people who are inspired by what they recognise as a vast potential. The MDG for sanitation is badly off-track in almost all countries. With CLTS it need not be. After a slow but steady start, Kenya is rolling out a big programme and has set itself the target of making all rural areas ODF by 2013. Others are doing likewise. The questions now are how well it can be taken to scale, and whether enough people at all levels – from policy-makers to local leaders and facilitators - have the vision, guts and commitment to make it happen widely and well.
By 2020, say, could it be not ten million but hundreds of millions who benefit? Is it hyperbole to say that the opportunity is brilliant? What do you think?”
And here’s the 3 minute intro video featuring Kamal Kar (many more videos from Mali, Mozambique, India etc here)
Any trip contains numerous golden moments that don’t fit into a neat blogpost. Here are some of them:
The way a training session with activists regularly breaks into singing, dancing and general hilarity. If only all Oxfam meetings were like this.
A vote on export bans: the government reintroduced a ban on exports of maize and rice the night before our session with 40 ‘farmer animators’. So they held a vote – 9 supported the ban, 27 opposed and one abstention. Argument for the ban: ‘We must keep food in the country, we can’t export when there is hunger’. Argument against: ‘We have very limited access to markets in Tanzania, and inputs are very expensive. The government will only buy at very low prices.’
Justice as a basic need: meandering, miserable stories of communities being screwed by lazy, incompetent or corrupt lawyers, as they spend years trying to get the promised compensation for being expelled from their land to make way for mining companies. All summed up in a Swahili proverb: ‘In the case of the goat, if the judge is a hyena, there will be no justice.’ Same goes for hyena lawyers apparently – the villagers never even got to see a judge.
Best definition of research (from a woman farmer animator): ‘Going out and checking the cracks in your house’s [mud] walls, or else one day the house will collapse and kill your children.’ And talking of research, spotted during a break in the exhausting farmer animator workshop: two crack Oxfam organizers, Jane Lonsdale and Anna Bwana, reading respectively Freire’s Pedagogy of the Oppressed (for fun) and the World Bank 1997 World Development Report (on the role of the state, for a masters). Hats off.
Best Swahili word: Shagalabagala – chaos or disorganization (emphases on shag and bag – rolls delightfully off the tongue). For etymology, the word for white folks – mzungu - takes a lot of beating. It means ‘one who wanders aimlessly’……..
The overwhelming pleasure of a cold shower after a 10k run in the heat of Dar es Salaam (haven’t run that far in a long time).
The latest example of South-South frugal innovation – the Indian-made ‘bajaji’ (a Swahili adaptation of Bajaj, the Indian bike company), motor bike rickshaws that have appeared in the last couple of years and provide the ideal (if scary) way to weave through the shagalabagala of Dar es Salaam’s horrific traffic jams. Mzungus are reportedly now buying them for personal use – the end of the ubiquitous four wheel drive? Probably not.
And finally, boarding my flight out by literally beating my way through wheeling flocks of crickets, attracted by the airport lights. Spiky crickets down the shirt, pinging off your face or getting stuck in your hair at 5a.m. Biblical, man…….
The new campaign that Oxfam is launching next week will have a big focus on gender – almost every issue in development looks very different depending on whether you are a man or a women. I saw that in graphic form last week in Tanzania, during a training session for 40 ‘farmer animators’ – local activists who are helping to galvanize their communities in Shinyanga, one of Tanzania’s poorest regions. Men and women split into two separate groups to discuss the causes of hunger, its impacts, and how people respond. Here’s what they came up with. First the men:
Causes: lack of fertilisers, infrastructure and seeds; drought; environmental mismanagement Impacts: hunger; sickness; death; street kids; rising crime and poverty How people respond: reduce the number of meals; do more day labour on other farms; sell off cattle and assets; borrow money and as a last resort, split the family up and send members to places where they can find food (eg with relatives elsewhere in Tanzania).
Compare this with the women’s list:
Causes: drought; deforestation; lack of tools; infidelity, prostitution and drunkenness (which all deprive families of income) Impacts: disease; divorce; ignorance (kids dropping out of school) How people respond: women look to friends and family for support, men try to find other women; women forced to start unprofitable petty businesses; children forced to beg
At which point a largely good-humoured battle of the sexes broke out (nothing livens up a meeting more than a discussion of gender differences). The men accused the women of stealing food for their lovers, while the women told stories of men sneaking out of the house off to their mistresses with the family rice stock down their trousers (with a hilarious mime of a man caught in the act). Eventually an animator who was also a (male) pastor intervened and said ‘men have to acknowledge the problem’ and was awarded with a loud ululation from the women.
What differences emerge from this? Mainly that women place much more emphasis on intra-household relationships as both cause and consequence of either hunger or survival. Men prefer to stick to talking about stuff – seeds, roads, fertilizers. Beyond this particular conversation, the gender differences include the mass exclusion of women from owning land, accessing state support services like agricultural extension, or getting credit. Despite these obstacles, they already grow much of Africa’s food. Simply equalizing their access to such things would provide a substantial boost to the food supply. Gender issues matter not just because of equality and human rights, but because the uphill battle facing Africa’s women farmers entails a horrendous waste of human and economic potential.
Bumba village in Tanzania’s deprived Shinyanga region is green, but not green enough, considering we are just at the end of what was supposed to be the rainy season. The maize is already withering on many of the small farms. But Thelezia Salula’s fields are looking pretty good – neatly planted rice paddy bending under the weight of the grains, just two weeks away from harvest. She reckons she’ll get 35 bags, each of them weighing 80 kilogrammes (as we talk, farmers with earlier harvests stagger by, bent under the load of their crops). She keeps some for family consumption, but has to sell the rest to pay for clothes and school fees for her 7 children. As a result, last year she ran out of rice half way through the year. For the last six months, the family have been living off their maize and what rice they could afford to buy in the market.
A conversation with Thelezia, sat on a muddy path next to her rice field, provides a guided tour of the problems (sorry, we’re supposed to say ‘challenges’) facing Africa’s farmers. The family has no title deeds to the land, but do have a local document that the village authorities accept. On that document, however, all the land is in her husband’s name, apart from one field that belongs to her eldest son. ‘I would like to have my name on’ Thelezia says, ‘I have contributed’. She is over-modest: she is the farmer, while her husband teaches (and brings in less money than she does).
Thelezia launches into the issue of prices – always gripping for farmers. In particular the gulf between the price at which she is forced to sell her rice soon after harvest (when prices are lowest), and the price she has to pay when her family stocks run out. She blames the lack of storage, which would enable her to put away her rice until prices improve, but also the local traders who come to the village and buy rice, but at much lower prices than in the local towns.
What single change would improve her life? She suggests two: to control the price she receives for her rice (every farmer’s dream, however unfeasible) or to sell the rice beyond the village, where prices are better.
One thing that has improved is her yields: the simple switch from sowing broadcast (i.e. throwing the seed around), to planting seedlings at 20cm intervals, has hugely increased productivity (plug for Oxfam, its programme has funded the training that Thelezia attended). More generally she says, farming in her parents time was not based on knowledge and that has changed.
Another farmer, Philip Msemakweli, chips in on another big change – to the climate: ‘in our parents’ time, the rainfall pattern was fixed – we knew the rain would come in this or that month. But now there are huge uncertainties – we don’t know when to sow, when it will rain. It has a big impact. It’s almost impossible to farm sustainably any more.’
More farmers arrive and we move to the partial shade of a leafless tree. The conversation turns to their hopes for their children. Most of them, like poor farmers everywhere, want their kids to study and escape from farming to a ‘good job’ in an office, or for the government. ‘The world is changing, but if they stay in farming their lives won’t change.’ None of their children want to be farmers: ‘no-one will farm when I am old and I will suffer the consequences’, says Thelezia ‘My children will have to pay for labourers to work the farm.’ Farming, it seems, is the last resort when you fail your exams.
But one woman, Salome Luboja, does want her kids to be farmers, and sets out three things that would have to change for that to happen. Firstly, education and knowledge about modern farming methods; second irrigation to safeguard farmers from the vagaries of the newly unreliable rains, and third improved markets and prices. I’m not convinced – towns are just so much more fun than farms, especially for young people – but the women insist that if the facilities were there, the work would not be such a grind, and if the incomes were higher than in the town, the kids would stay on the farm.
I still think many of them will chose to migrate, but if governments and aid donors invest properly in small farmers like Thelezia, (which is one of the things Oxfam is pushing for in its impending global campaign, launching on 1 June) at least her children will have a dignified and genuine choice between staying and leaving. That’s only the start though: the flatness of this plain, under a huge sky and scorching sun, seems especially vulnerable to the whims of an increasingly harsh climate. Unless climate change can be controlled too, and people helped to adapt to it, any progress is likely to be short-lived.
I spent last week in Tanzania, but had to wait til I returned to internet-land before blogging on it. So this is Tanzania week on the blog.
First up, models of change (MoC). As you may have noticed, I’ve been thinking a lot about these recently. That usually involves exhausting intellectual gymnastics in seminars or dozing off over impenetrable academic papers, but now I got to apply them to Oxfam’s work in Tanzania. Fascinating (at least for me). The task was to use MoC to develop a programme called Chukua Hatua (‘take action’ in Swahili), part of an innovative and ambitious DFID programme managed by KPMG called AcT (Accountability in Tanzania).
Here’s a blurb from the programme coordinator, the redoubtable Jane Lonsdale (left, apologies for the Oxfamese – she wrote it at the end of a long, it was a hard trip):
‘Chukua Hatua (Take Action) does what it says on the tin. The programme is testing different approaches through a series of pilots to learn which can best act as a catalyst for Tanzanians to claim their rights. These include training a network of ‘farmer animators’ at village level, student councils, and an ‘active musicians’ scheme. Each pilot uses several of the following approaches in the design: 1) using visual and digital communication on issues such as monitoring election promises and land rights; 2) building the capacity of citizens to understand the concepts of rights, entitlements, transparency and accountability, and to seek information, organise and take action; 3) supporting citizen networking and the establishment/ strengthening of spaces for engagement and collective action; 4) researching issues that are a priority for the communities and providing simplified information along with disseminating relevant budgets, policies and laws and providing appropriate monitoring tools; 5) promoting women’s voices and rights, including in decision-making; 6) supporting communities’ initiatives to plan, organise and take action. Following a year of piloting along with close monitoring of changes in communities and their leaders, the programme will be scaling up the most successful approaches through a combination of promoting natural replication across communities and groups, increasing programme coverage, and advocating for adoption and/ or replication. The programme is delivered across the Shinyanga region and in Ngorongoro district, and is integrated with Oxfam’s agriculture, pastoralist and education programmes.’
The first step was two days ‘in the field’ (literally and figuratively). More on some of the encounters there in subsequent posts. In what was essentially a two day rolling seminar, we identified three MoC already exemplified by the programme, and a further three that could add new elements to the work. Ready?
First the MoCs that best describe the current programme:
Evolution: Take Action is a nice example of evolutionary acceleration, built on evolution’s core process of variation-selection-amplification. In the first phase, the programme sets lots of different hares running, from ‘farm animators’ to ‘active musicians’ to primary school student councils. It then selects (or allows natural selection, as projects multiply or die of their own accord). The final phase will be amplification: creating an enabling environment for them, promoting synergies between different initiatives, but otherwise staying out of the way so that new ideas and approaches bubble up from the grassroots.
The Four Powers: One model of change holds that disempowered, marginalised people must first feel a sense of ‘power within’ – the lightbulb moment when people realize they have rights, and that those they elect should serve them, rather than vice versa. Then they move to ‘power with’ – coming together around common issues - before achieving ‘power to’ – asserting their rights, campaigning, mobilizing. Finally comes ‘power over’ officials or companies. Chukua Hatua concentrates on the upstream part – power within and power with, especially among women. What happens next is up to them.
Transitions to Accountability: This is based on the work of Jonathan Fox in Mexico (an elected one party state for most of the 20th Century, so some similarities with Tanzania, which has been under one party rule since independence). Fox found that local breakthroughs in accountability arise through the interaction of ‘the thickening of civil society’ and successful reformism by parts of the state e.g. particular ministries, or local officials. These often involve cycles of conflict and resolution.
OK, so far that’s just a fancy theory(ies) to describe what is already happening (or at least planned), but three other MoCs we identified actually suggest changes in the programme design.
Drivers of Change and importance of alliances: one of the findings of DFID’s ‘drivers of change’ work was that successful change often comes about through alliances of dissimilar actors, e.g. social movements, churches, sympathetic officials and private sector champions. What works best is if they come together around a simple, winnable aim – nothing like an early victory to galvanize people and overcome fear (a real issue in Tanzania). That suggests the relative purism of the programme in seeking to build ‘active citizenship’ needs to move much quicker to exploring alliances – e.g. when we asked them, five out of 40 farm animators turned out to be church leaders (protestant and Moslem), yet the programme had never explored alliances with faith based organizations. The lesson? Start building alliances from the outset – don’t wait til you’ve got a nice big citizens’ movement (and emerging leaders do it anyway – they don’t wait for your permission!)
Granularity/local political economy analysis: This is linked to the previous point. Social movements are seldom homogenous masses. On closer inspection they are made up of building blocks of more permanent, stable organizations – churches and mosques, savings groups, village militia, faith healers, cultural groups etc. You need to explore and understand this local granularity both to identify potential allies, and to understand the political economy of change (and resistance to change) at local level.
Positive Deviance: the evolutionary process doesn’t fit into distinct periods of variation, selection and amplification. It is constant. So even as you support successful experiments, you need to be constantly watching for new innovations. One way to do that is via positive deviance – studying outliers in terms of project performance or otherwise looking for what was ‘not in the plan’.
Conclusion: In order to use MoCs to understand reality (rather than the other way around), you need as big a range of them as possible. Looking for a single grand theory may close down avenues and stop you spotting opportunities (I even found myself urging our staff not to get too hung up on active citizenship….). Instead, you need a toolkit of ideas, which each contribute to understanding what is happening and how to improve things. But overall, I am reassured that I haven’t been wasting my time in the ivory tower – this looks like an approach worth developing. Feel free to agree or disagree below……
What should South Sudan (the world’s newest country) do? Chris Blattman disagrees with Duflo and Banerjee and they respond. The Wronging Rights blog goes with Chris. Prime disagreement is over whether you have to get the politics and institutions right before you can deliver aid.
What do we really know about poverty and inequality? Claire Melamed casts a geeky eye over the sources of the data used for all those big numbers and confident assertions.
128 million children are enrolled in primary schools across Sub-Saharan Africa. But few of them get anything to eat while they’re in school. Many go to school hungry each morning without any breakfast. 13 year old Sylvester is one of them. He lives in Kibera, the largest slum in Kenya’s capital Nairobi, where children are amongst the least healthy in the country.
But Sylvester is one of the lucky few. At 12.40 p.m., his ears prick up at the sound of the school lunch bell. He looks forward to the steaming hot, freshly cooked porridge which could well be his only meal for the day.
As in any urban slum, there is no dearth of food on sale in small shops in Kibera. Though the price of the staple maize is far less than its peaks in 2008 and 2009, many families still do not have the money to buy enough food. Many people suffer from HIV/AIDS and are unable to find work in a country where the unemployment rate is as high as 40 percent.
But, school meals can motivate poor families to enroll and retain their children in school. An analysis of the World Food Programme’s (WFP) interventions across sub-Saharan Africa found that school feeding increased enrolment by 28 percent for girls and 22 percent for boys in the first year of initiation.
This is a double dividend for children. While the first two years of life are the most crucial to address malnutrition, school meals too have proven to enhance children’s diets in their growing years, and with it, their life chances in terms of achievement.
Growing Out of Poverty But where does the food come from? This week, Sylvester’s school, which receives supplies from the WFP, is serving porridge cooked with fortified oil that has traveled all the way from Japan and bulgur wheat grown on mechanized farms in the United States.
This needs to change. If existing school meals were to purchase maize from smallholders within the country, it is estimated to increase the income of 175,000 Kenyan farmers by $50 each year. This could contribute substantially to invest in and revive agriculture.
Though the WFP makes a genuine effort to support local procurement across developing countries, it continues to receive substantial quantities of ‘in-kind’ food aid from rich countries. Its Purchase for Progress (P4P) and Home Grown School Feeding Initiative (HGSF) too have so far remained limited in scale. The Kenyan Ministry of Agriculture’s Njaa Marufuku (Eradicate Hunger) programme to link smallholder farmers to school meals also has yet to take root nationwide.
British celebrity chef Jamie Oliver is also on a similar crusade to ensure that school meals are healthy and locally grown.
Money Matters But the main challenge for countries in sub-Saharan Africa is to secure predictable, sustainable and inflation-indexed funding to finance local procurement of school meals.
On the other hand, most high and middle income countries have long-standing, politically popular, partially subsidized and near universal availability of school feeding. A comprehensive World Bank study, Rethinking School Feeding, reveals the importance of affordability — since there is a very sharp decrease in the relative costs of school feeding as GDP increases.
And wealthier countries also have the luxury to generate internal sources of revenue. El Salvador uses the interest generated from a trust fund established with the privatization of a national telecommunications company. India has an innovative ‘education cess’ (a 3 per cent addition to existing tax revenues) which finances meals for 130 million school children. But these large pots need to be ring-fenced and protected. Three years ago, for example, the Indian Education Ministry had to stave off severe pressure by private companies eager to replace the $ 1 billion ‘market’ for freshly cooked school meals with packaged biscuits.
New research published in Science magazine shows climate change is already hitting food production, but the journos reporting it seem to have got themselves in a tangle. The Guardian reported it as saying that prices would be pushed up by ‘as much as 20%’, while the Economist put the figure at about 5%. It pains me to say it, but the Guardian got it wrong.
The origin of the discrepancy appears to be that the Guardian article glosses over the research’s finding that the fertiliser effect of higher CO2 concentrations (CO2 is the basic input for photosynthesis, so more CO2 means more plant activity) works in the opposite direction to other aspects of climate change, increasing yields and bringing down the 20% figure for the reduction from climate change impacts on the weather to something more like 5%.
The numbers on food prices are actually: 18.9% gross impact of higher temperatures (and precipitation trends, though these are far less significant than the temperature effects) from 1980 to 2008, and 6.4% net impact of higher temperatures plus estimated benefits of the fertilisation effect.
The study points out that this approximately 5% increase in food prices is equivalent to around $50bn per year of additional spending on food (out of the total of around $1 trillion the world spends annually).
So… we have a study which (for the first time, I think) quantifies the impacts of climate change on today’s yields and prices, due to changes in temperature and rainfall – both of which are projected to become more severe as a result of increased levels of CO2 in the atmosphere (note that higher temperatures are shown to be much more significant than rainfall patterns over the period of this study). It finds a 4% decline in maize and 2-3% decline in wheat yields (i.e. around 4% less maize and 2-3% less wheat was produced globally than would have been the case without global warming.) In real terms, these percentages are equivalent to the annual production of maize in Mexico, and of wheat in France.
Putting some of these elements together, the study shows that changes to the climate (higher temperatures, changed rainfall, increased CO2 concentration) has meant that:
- global food prices have risen by 6.4%
- the world has spent an additional $50bn per year on food
- crops equivalent to one year’s production of maize in Mexico and wheat in France have been lost
These may seem like relatively small numbers so far, but the key driver identified in the study – temperature rises – is projected to increase at significantly faster rates in the coming decades than occurred in the period of this study (global average temperatures have risen by 0.13C per decade since 1950, and are projected to rise by 0.2C per decade over next 2-3 decades, according to IPCC, with higher rises likely in areas of cultivated land – so local impacts in food growing areas will be more extreme, even assuming that there are no tipping points along the way).
This blog is written and maintained by Duncan Green, strategic adviser for Oxfam GB and author of 'From Poverty to Power'. More information on Duncan and the book is available on the From Poverty to Power official website.
It is a personal reflection by the author. It is intended to provoke debate and conversations about development, not as a comprehensive statement of Oxfam's agreed policies - for those, please take a deep breath and read the Oxfam International strategic plan or consult policy papers on a range of development issues.