New Oxfam International Executive Director Gabriela Bucher's first public announcement today launches the organization's new 10-year strategy to fight inequality to end poverty and injustice around the world.
Bucher, who started on November 16, said the strategy helps to set Oxfam on a course to meet the deepening crises facing people living with poverty, exclusion and discrimination. Together with accompanying budgetary, governance and planning processes, the strategy helps to set Oxfam's future course on a more relevant and resilient footing.
Launched in a world reeling from the coronavirus pandemic, the strategy focuses Oxfam on challenging inequality, an issue it has exposed particularly in high-profile criticism over recent years at the Davos World Economic Forum and beyond, ranging from billionaires' wealth to tax reform to the care economy. This has already prompted Oxfam into new campaigning calls against profiteering and hunger, and for more aid, debt relief and a "People's Vaccine".
"Inequality is entrenching poverty, privilege and impunity. It is deepening discrimination, sexism and racism, driving climate and ecological breakdown, coarsening our politics and exacerbating conflict and deprivation. Coronavirus is fueling this further. Oxfam is doubling-down on tackling the systemic causes, not the symptoms, of inequality," Bucher said.
In implementing its new strategy, Oxfam will work as a part of social justice, feminist and youth movements around the world. "We will play an even stronger part to contribute to what is a global movement for change - amplifying people power and as a better partner for everyone committed to the cause of social justice," said Bucher.
Oxfam will adopt a feminist approach in all its analysis, action and interaction - both internally in how staff work together, and with all stakeholders and externally in pursuit of gender justice. "By fulfilling the rights of women and girls in all their diversity, we can build a more equal world," Bucher said. The strategy will be supported by a Youth Engagement Plan developed by young activists from across the world.
The strategy takes into account Oxfam's review in May of its global presence in light of COVID-related funding pressures. "We will be present in fewer countries in order to be more focused and efficient. We will continue to do justice to people's deeply held belief that the work we do makes a vital difference. By working ever more closely with the people and communities that we serve, we understand better how to add most value to their work and that of our partners within specific national contexts."
The strategy also commits Oxfam to fight discrimination based on race and other differences that exist between us all and to be accountable, internally and externally, to the organization's own equality and inclusion efforts.
"Oxfam's future is premised on solidarity, in joining hands and uniting people of different backgrounds and across borders. This goes beyond charity and the idea of the rich world coming to the rescue of the poor. We recognize the lasting injustices from a colonial era that must be challenged, and that power, mindsets and culture must urgently change, also within our own sector."
"As Oxfam, we are committed to sharing and shifting power, internally and externally. We will work to expand people's agency over their lives and the decisions that impact them. We will reform our own governance and management structures to make them more diverse and inclusive," she said.
Crucially, the strategy brings together all those who are part of Oxfam behind this common vision. "This strategy is borne of the collective effort of Oxfam's partners, our staff and critical friends around the world and will guide us into the future as one Oxfam family," said Bucher. National Oxfam affiliate and country entities are in turn forming their own plans that align with the Global Framework.
"I'm excited by Oxfam's vision and the decisive and creative ways we will tackle the new and complex challenges that people are facing around the world. This strategy is an invitation to everyone who believes in a better world - whether you're an activist, a policymaker, farmer, teacher, an Oxfam shopper or a business leader, whoever. Only an inclusive, powerful, people-led movement can meet the grave challenges of our time," Bucher said.