夠了!讓我們合力終止性別暴力

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文:鍾麗珊
社會性別與公民社會發展項目經理

全球來說,每三名婦女就有一名遭受過暴力;每五名女童就有一名遭受過性侵犯。38%被殺死的婦女為其男性伴侶所殺。
在中國,約三成婦女表示經歷過家庭暴力;媒體曝光的兒童性侵犯案件每天起碼一宗;出生性別比長期失衡,超過3000萬女性被消失了。

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夠了就是夠了! | Enough!

文:Winnie Byanyima
【摘譯】
她們說:「受夠了!」

我媽媽是一名社區領袖,她在我們的村裡莊帶領一個婦女小組,團結了村內的婦女,為自身及其女兒爭取權益,令我留下深刻印象。這些婦女大部分出身貧窮,她們在婦女小組中,了解到習以為常的「社會規範」如何剝削她們應有的權益,或遭暴力對待。

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為什麼我們說「貧窮源於不公平」?

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今日是10月17日國際滅貧日,我們選擇在這個別具意義的日子,啟動一個為期兩個星期的推廣活動,以「貧窮源於不公平」為口號。如果你是樂施會的長期粉絲,又或者記憶力不錯,應該對這句說話,不會感到陌生。

20年前,1996年,我們用這句口號做了不少宣傳工作。當時,引起公眾很大迴響。大家會問:貧窮就是貧窮,跟不公平有什麼關係呢﹖漸漸地,更形成對「貧窮成因」的一場辯論,開始多了人討論貧窮這個問題。

那麼,為什麼樂施會說貧窮是因為不公平呢﹖

我們認為,貧窮的成因非常複雜,亦很多樣化。但主要都是因為制度上的不公平,資源分配上的不公平,又或者是出於錯誤的觀念,令到某些人得不到公平的對待。同時,我們亦相信每一人都有改善自己生活的能力,亦應該被賦予這個權利,很多時候欠缺的只是機會。

作為一個國際扶貧機構,我們不僅回應世界各地貧窮人的即時需要,令他們的生計得到改善,亦著重透過向政府進行遊說及倡議,務求改變不公的制度,以保障貧窮人獲得應有的權利和資源。

有賴公民社會及很多人的共同努力,過去十多年,全球貧窮人口大幅下降,可以說大家在扶貧工作上,是有一些成果。然而,20年後的今日,我們發現「貧窮源於不公平」這句口號,在現今社會仍然非常適用,甚至更加適用。

根據樂施會的報告指出,世界最富有1%人口的財富,比其餘99%人口還要多;當全球財富每日不斷增加的同時,每日仍然有8億人要挨餓;G20國家的碳排放量佔全球74%,但貧窮國家的小農就最受氣候變化影響。

的確,消除貧窮及不公,是一個很大的挑戰,但我們明白,這是很多人的期盼。去年,聯合國通過可持續發展目標,明確指出希望在2030年前達成17個目標,包括消除極端貧窮、減少貧富差距及不公平。

content_30664[1]2016年,是樂施會在香港成立的40周年。四十不惑,樂施會到了「不惑之年」,我們更加堅信,解決貧窮及不公問題,要透過政策及制度的改變。我們亦更加相信,如果能夠喚起社會各界及更多公眾對貧窮及不公平的關注,加入扶貧的行列,世界會變得更公平、更美好,「無窮世界」是可以在我們這一代實現的。

最後,趁這個機會,我要感謝超過11萬名每月捐款給樂施會的「樂施之友」、企業及機構支持者,以及主要捐款人,還有無數曾經為樂施會的扶貧項目、籌款活動及樂施商店付出的夥伴及義工朋友。過去40年,全賴大家的支持及鼓勵,與樂施會並肩同行,我們才得以在世界各地開展多元化的工作,令貧窮人的生活得到改善。

在未來的日子,我們會繼續堅持理念,為貧窮人發聲。就是次宣傳及籌款活動,我們定下100萬港元的籌款目標,以支持樂施會在香港、內地及全球的扶貧工作。希望大家多多支持,與我們一起打破不公,共創無窮。

DG梁詠雩是樂施會的總裁。

Things are changing, but not enough

Yet again I am attending the World Economic Forum in Davos, warning about the global inequality crisis – and proposing steps to tackle it. Yet again, Oxfam has released shocking new statistics which illustrate how severe this crisis has become: 62 people now have the same wealth as the poorest half of the planet – that’s 3.6 billion people.

I am not the only one raising the alarm: Consistently now, we hear concern on inequality from voices such as President Obama, the Pope, Christine Lagarde of the IMF, and people on the street. And things are starting to change. But not enough.

It’s not enough because the gap between the rich and poor has grown dramatically in the past 12 months. This time last year 80 people owned the same amount as the poorest half of the planet and Oxfam was predicting the wealth of richest one percent would overtake the rest of us by 2016 – this particular milestone was passed ahead of schedule in October.

The consequences of such rapidly growing and extreme inequality are huge. Economic inequality can act as brake on growth, slow poverty reduction efforts, and spark social unrest. Oxfam sees the devastating impact of extreme inequality in many of the countries where we work – from the school children of South Africa whose education is suffering because of lack of government funding, to the garment workers of Myanmar who work long exhausting hours for global suppliers but who can’t cover their rent and feed their families on what they earn.

This continued trend is hardly surprising: The inequality crisis is not a blip. It is hardwired into our economy. Oxfam’s recent report, An Economy for the 1%, explores how today’s global inequality crisis was born and raised on 30 years of unchecked deregulation, privatisation, financial secrecy and globalisation. Our economic system has enabled companies and individuals to use their power and influence to capture and retain an ever increasing share of the benefits of economic growth while the benefits for the poorest in society have shrunk.

Reversing this trend will take the determination of political leaders, and the active cooperation of business. It’s not hopeless, it’s just hard.

2015 saw some faltering steps forward. In September, the world agreed global goals in September on inequality and on eradicating extreme poverty. There was also a very welcome engagement from business. These commitments show governments’ intention to act. But these intentions need to be put into action. This requires addressing the drivers of inequality and challenging vested interests.

Top of that list of vested interests has to be tax havens. Serving no social purpose, these jurisdictions – characterised inter alia by high levels of secrecy and low or no tax rates – are fuelling the rise in inequality. As tax returns from wealthy companies and individuals disappear into this global network, governments are left with two options: to cut back on the essential spending needed to reduce inequality and deprivation; or to make up the shortfall by levying higher taxes on other less wealthy sections of society. Consequently, wealth is redistributed upwards, and the inequality gap grows.

Tax havens take billions from rich industrialised countries. But it is in the poorer countries that the impacts are felt most dramatically. Wealthy African’s use of tax havens cost African governments an estimated $14 billion in lost tax revenues in 2014. This is enough money to pay for healthcare for mothers and children that could save 4 million African children’s lives a year and employ enough teachers to get every African child into school. While UNCTAD is estimated that the use of tax havens by business costs developing countries around US$100 billion every year.

Some governments have recognised that tax dodging is a serious problem that needs addressing. In November G20 governments agreed steps to curb tax dodging by multinational companies. However these reforms largely ignore the problems posed by tax havens and do not do enough to ensure developing country governments can claim their fair share of taxes.

Now with tax havens becoming an ever more common way of doing business – 109 of the WEF’s 118 partners have a presence in at least one tax haven – it time we put a stop to this practice.

For the benefit of all their citizens, governments across the world need to commit to a second generation of tax reforms to end the race to the bottom on tax, and they need to end the secrecy around financial assets.

But this isn’t just about governments forcing companies to behave. I doubt many people, employees or employers, want a world of such vast inequities. Neither do they want the tax base on which their societies and economies rely to be undermined. So my message at Davos 2016 is for companies to think about how they can be tax responsible too – starting with a commitment to bring their money onshore.

In 2010, 388 people had the same wealth as half the world. Now it’s 62. When my research team told me this, I asked where this trend was taking us. Half-joking they continued the line on the graph they had plotted to 2020 where just 11 people occupied this exalted position. But I am not joking. This year I will fight inequality harder than ever on behalf of the world’s poorest people.

winnie-byanyimaWinnie Byanyima is Executive Director of Oxfam International. She is a leader on women’s rights, democratic governance and peace building.

Oxfam International Executive Director: Why I just led hundreds of people out of the UN climate talks

By Winnie Byanyima – Executive Director at Oxfam International

Today, I led hundreds of people from around the world in a walk out of the 19th UN climate talks. Oxfam has been keenly involved in the talks for a long time, fighting to help stop climate change, and to support people affected by it, and every day the urgency for governments to help gets greater. But year after year, the talks have been mostly just going through the motions – with very little progress on reducing emissions, or on raising the $100bn governments have promised to support people affected by climate change by 2020.

We have campaigned passionately and powerfully. Yet the public’s shouts of urgency for governments to act seem to be falling on deaf ears. This year, the talks have reached new lows: The hosting Polish government has colluded with the coal industry to present “clean coal” as a solution to climate change (it isn’t a solution). Australia has attacked the very principle of climate finance. Japan has even pledged to increase – not reduce – their emissions!

Enough is enough

This year, we have an unprecedented opportunity to reconnect with people worldwide, and to start building a truly powerful movement for climate action in Warsaw. The solidarity movement for the Philippines, Filipino delegate Yeb Sano’s fast, and all the people who joined him are strong, loud and important. The world is getting impatient.

Now is the time to show governments that we won’t accept their lack of political will. That people around the world demand action. And that world leaders can’t ignore climate change any longer. That’s why so many organizations and individuals have walked out: to go and gather the voices of the public and return stronger than ever in 2014. We’ll be back.

For more photos, follow this link.

Hundreds walk out of the 19th UN climate talks in Warsaw.

 

 

In the face of global hunger, Hong Kong must stop wasting food

By Mayling Chan – International Programme Director at Oxfam Hong Kong

In Hong Kong, like any modern city that tends to rely on globally sourced imported food, it’s hard to visualise the link between global issues of food insecurity and our own issues of food waste. The UN Food and Agriculture Organisation estimates consumer-based food waste in industrialised countries is almost as high as the total net food production of sub-Saharan Africa, that is, 230 million tonnes a year.

In fact, being able to control and reduce the volume of our food waste is a concrete way to contribute to global food security, which is characterised by the accessibility and availability of nutrition and food for all, through sustainable production, collection, distribution, marketing and equitable trade systems.

Having said that, modern cities have learned to be more self-sufficient in food provision over the past two decades. For example, farms have sprouted up in and around the city areas in Singapore, Havana, New York, Beijing, Caracas and elsewhere. Their purpose is to ensure greater adaptation to a world undergoing climatic changes that have affected production and crop yields.

Overconsumption of food seems to have become a daily habit for many. The people of Hong Kong produce more than 3,500 tonnes of food waste every day. On average we consume 1.12kg of food a day, yet in every three-person household, about 1kg of food will end up in a landfill.

It is encouraging to see that a handful of people in our city are trying to close the food waste loop. We consume locally produced food: local pork is sold in markets in Sha Tin and Tai Po, for example; farmed fish is enjoyed by tourists and locals alike; and locally grown vegetables are sold in agricultural markets that have sprung up in many districts, including commercial areas like Central and Taikoo Place.

Almost 900 million people on the planet go hungry everyday, revealing the severity of the global food problem.

This circular trend of local production and consumption supports the economy, which creates jobs. On top of this, it promotes a culture of resilience for our food and trade systems at all times, and a feeling of community, which celebrates the actions and culture to grow, rather than waste.

Few of us perhaps have a clear picture of how the people of Hong Kong can grow food, including raising small livestock. As of March 2012, there were 1,872 vegetable farms covering 415 hectares that were registered under a government scheme in Hong Kong. There are many more that have not registered that are scattered around on outlying islands, in food gardens and on the rooftops of many buildings across the city.

In Hong Kong, 4,600 people are directly involved in land-based agriculture and 11,000 in fisheries. The fact is that, due to a lack of support for a modern agricultural policy, overall production has fallen in the sector by some 24 per cent compared with a decade ago. This includes the raising of pigs, which has been marginalised; in 2011, the industry shrank to a fifth of what it was in 2001.

Researchers have recently looked at the potential for Hong Kong’s fisheries and livestock sectors to use feed processed from food waste, given that its production and distribution are subject to stringent health inspections and regulations. Take pigs as an example. It is estimated that there are 80,000 pigs being raised on Hong Kong farms. Every day, each pig consumes around 4kg of feed, or a total of 320 tonnes. By processing our food waste into pig feed, more than 2,100 tonnes could be put to good use, clearly demonstrating the market potential and value of food waste, pig feed and live pigs.

To encourage modest and sustainable consumption, Oxfam runs its Grow campaign all over the world. The purpose is to persuade policymakers to assist small farms and families by providing resources and helping them secure control over essentials like water and seeds to sustain a global network of food production.

Today, according to the International Fund for Agricultural Development, the world’s 500 million smallholder farms support around two billion people, almost one third of the total world population. However, many are among the world’s poorest people and, sadly, often go hungry. Thus, it is heartening to see that even impoverished countries like North Korea, where Oxfam Hong Kong works, has been able to grow more food in the past 10 years, closing its food gap by 60 per cent between 2002 and 2012, even with difficulties in obtaining sufficient fertilisers and fuel.

On annual World Food Day today, the UN estimates that 842 million people, around one in eight in the world, suffer from chronic hunger, regularly not getting enough food for an active life. We must see beyond our own desires, and consider our food waste and landfill sites in Hong Kong.

The actions of local people in collecting food waste on Lantau and Cheung Chau are encouraging. These initiatives have succeeded in reducing food waste gradually through education and by turning it into useful products to grow vegetables, and also creating jobs for women and retirees.

This local economy loop is happening in New York, Singapore and Tokyo; they are role models for Hong Kong to foster a more resilient and innovative society that grows food, rather than wastes it.

扭轉糧食危機 食品企業責無旁貸

消費者似乎有很多選擇,但實際上許多食品和飲品都是由數家跨國企業生產的。圖中顯示十大食品及飲品公司旗下所擁有的品牌數目。

撰文:曾迦慧

走進世界上任何一家超級市場,隨即會被琳瑯滿目的食品和飲品包圍。表面看來,消費者擁有許多選擇,但事實上,大多數罐裝、盒裝及瓶裝食品和飲品都是由數家跨國食品企業生產。這些跨國企業不但控制著全球食品產業,還涉及大量開採耕地和水資源,污染環境,影響地球上數以億計的小農生計。作為消費者,也是全球糧食系統中的一員,我們不應只關注個人消費權益和食物安全,更有責任監督及推動跨國食品企業完善其經營及生產手法。

食品飲品背後的犧牲與剝削

在超市食品和飲品冷冰冰的包裝內,除了人造色素或防腐劑,最大成份來自不同種類的農作物。這些農作物大部分由發展中國家的小農,利用當地寶貴的水和土地資源,加上小農和農場工人的辛酸血汗生產而成。小農原本能自給自足,並生產出足夠糧食餵飽全球人,但不幸的事實卻是,他們偏偏吃不飽,成為最弱勢的一群。反而,那些僱用小農的跨國食品及飲品公司,成為糧食系統中影響力最大的操控者。

食品和飲品業在過去世紀以來,一直以最低廉的成本生產最便宜的商品,但卻要創造最大的利潤。在這種低成本的經營模式之下,小農、農場工人及婦女農民的利益往往被忽視、被犧牲。小農賴以為生的耕地和水源,經常被跨國企業開發、收購或壟斷;在這些土地上出產的農作物,又在很多情況下會加工成為生物燃料,而非可食用糧食。

在農業中,婦女往往負擔起落田耕種的勞動工作,同時又要分擔大部份家務,可是她們卻備受歧視與剝削。

隨著甘蔗園、油棕種植園和大豆種植園的不斷擴張,失去耕地的小農最終被排擠至貧瘠及遠離水源的荒蕪山區耕種,進一步阻絕他們接收市場資訊和享用基礎設施。受僱的農場工人則要面對微薄收入、不安全工作環境、不合標準的住宿和歧視等。

在2011年,研究員在經「熱帶雨林聯盟」認證的印度茶園內,發現工人沒有獲發最低工資或長期僱用合約,住宿及衛生條件又不合標準,工人還要在沒有保護措施之下使用殺蟲劑。重男輕女的傳統則令婦女農民備受歧視,如非洲的婦女農民只擁有1%耕地;在肯尼亞,交易許可證只會發給男性。

完善七大範疇政策 保障小農生計權益

跨國食品及飲品公司的影響力之大與廣不止於此。目前,全球人口每秒鐘喝掉四千多杯雀巢咖啡;每天享用可口可樂產品的人達十七億人次;全球四成可可市場由三家公司壟斷。至於全球十大食品及飲品公司,包括英聯食品、可口可樂、達能、通用磨坊、家樂氏、瑪氏食品、Mondelez國際(前稱「卡夫食品」)、雀巢、百事公司及聯合利華,加起來每天的營業額超過十一億美元,這些公司的產品在原材料種植、加工、分發和銷售各環節中,直接或間接僱用的工人數以百萬計。這十大公司所屬產業的總市值更高達七萬億美元,相當於全球經濟活動總值約十分之一。

由此可見,假如十大食品及飲品公司不改變現行的政策及運作,農民、天然環境資源,以至全球糧食系統中的每個人,將會面對越益嚴峻的貧窮與饑餓問題。有見及此,樂施會在最新的「品牌背後」倡議運動中,就對這十家食品及飲品公司的農業政策、公眾承諾及供應鏈監管作出評分排名,結果顯示,十家公司在婦女、小農、農場工人、水資源、土地、氣候變化和透明度七個主要範疇均未能獲得理想評分,並須於多方面作出改善。

在危地馬拉的Tiquisate市,大規模種植供出口的橄欖樹,霸佔了當地大量農田,令當地農人沒有足夠糧食。

勿輕視消費者與政府力量

十大食品及飲品公司在過去一世紀對無數人造成巨大影響,它們的力量足夠推動原材料供應商、貿易商和政府做得更好,創造更公平的未來。不過,他們必先從上述的七大範疇糾正自己的經營方式和政策,致力消除種種不公義情況,確保農場的營運方式得到改善,繼而發揮影響力推動其他行業的公司作出改革。

十大食品及飲品公司的影響力毋庸置疑,但消費者的力量亦舉足輕重。透過改變消費模式、主動了解產品背後的資訊、以不同途徑向公司施壓等,足以推動這些公司作出重大和長遠的改革,最後還要配合各國政府的政策與管治,才能避色全球糧食危機進一步惡化。

樂施會在現正於全球推動的「GROW糧食公義運動」中呼籲,各國必須合力在國際貿易、糧食援助、金融市場和氣候融資方面作出改革,以減少未來面對糧食危機與資源短缺的風險,並可以有效地作出應對。

想了解更多有關「品牌背後」倡議運動及十大公司的評分,請瀏覽「品牌背後」網頁:http://www.behindthebrands.org/zh-hk 或樂施會網頁:http://www.oxfam.org.hk

 

作者:曾迦慧樂施會香港項目部高級經理