We haven't heard much out of the World Trade Organization since 2005, when the US government decided to continue subsidizing corporate farms rather than forge a global trade deal. Yet the WTO machinery keeps grinding on -- and grinding poor countries down.
Policy Coordinator, Oxfam Canada
Mark Fried has been Policy Coordinator for Oxfam Canada since 1998. Mr. Fried undertakes outreach to government officials on humanitarian and development issues related to aid, trade and conflict. He was editor of the Oxfam book From Poverty to Power. In a previous life he edited a magazine and taught school. He lived for ten years in Latin America and has published ten books as a literary translator. He holds a masters degree from the National Autonomous University of Mexico.
It was recently World Malaria Day, and there is news about the disease. A pilot project is trying to reach more people with ACT, the latest anti-malarial medication, by selling it at a subsidized price in local shops. The majority of poor malaria sufferers buy medicine at such corner stores, where it is sold off the shelf along with cooking oil and sugar.
04/28/2012 02:13 EDT
When I first lobbied officials at Canada's ministry of finance on the issue, they just nodded their heads. A year later, they called our proposal reckless; such a sale would so upset the gold market, it should never be considered. As Gandhi's dictum has it: First they ignored us, then they mocked us, and then we won!
03/12/2012 04:27 EDT
The world's diplomats recently met in New York to launch the concluding negotiations of the Arms Trade Treaty, that was initiated six years ago. During the hours the diplomats huddled over the Treaty, some 10,000 people died from armed violence. A killing every minute. Conventional arms are the real weapons of mass destruction.
03/07/2012 12:20 EST
In a report called "Left Behind by the G20?", Oxfam looks how every country treats its poorest. Inequality in Canada rose as fast as India's and nearly as fast as South Africa's. Only four have managed to reduce income inequality since 1990 and they are all emerging powers: Brazil, Korea, Mexico, and Argentina.
01/20/2012 05:33 EST
As we enter Durban's final day, an agreement seems plausible on a second period under the legally-binding Kyoto deal -- without Canada. Other scenarios are equally plausible. Governments that take climate change seriously could choose to defer, or a dramatic final plenary could end in collapse.
12/08/2011 05:45 EST
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