Oxfam America awarded Rockefeller Foundation grant for climate change resilience in poor countries

By mborum

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BOSTON ? International relief and development agency Oxfam America has been awarded a $500,000 grant from the Rockefeller Foundation to promote policy solutions to the climate crisis that build the resilience of the world?s most vulnerable communities facing the consequences of climate change.

Dedicated to finding lasting solutions to poverty and injustice, Oxfam America has undertaken a campaign to increase the climate preparedness of poor communities and arrive at equitable international solutions to the climate crisis. The Rockefeller Foundation?s grant will support Oxfam?s work to build a powerful advocacy effort to promote US government policies that provide funding for climate resilience and promote fair allocation of resources in the United States and other countries.

?The Rockefeller Foundation is proud to support Oxfam?s innovative work as part of our $70 million initiative to strengthen local resilience to the global climate crisis,? said Judith Rodin, the Foundation?s president. ?Oxfam?s advocacy will inform and inspire individual, institutional, and community efforts to better prepare for and recover from climate disruptions around the world.?

?While least responsible for causing climate change, poor people bear the brunt of its impacts,? said Raymond C. Offenheiser, president of Oxfam America. ?People living in developing countries are 20 times more likely to be affected by climate-related disasters compared to those living in the industrialized world, and nearly two billion people in developing countries were affected by climate-related disasters in the 1990s alone. If we do not assist vulnerable communities in building resilience and adapting to climate impacts, the costs we face will be measured not only in dollars but also in lives lost.?

Vulnerable communities in the United States are also facing increased threats from severe weather events, as well as health impacts that disproportionately affect poor people. The estimates of how climate change will worsen conditions around the world are disturbing. According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, as many as 250 million people in Africa alone will face climate-induced water scarcity by 2020. In South Asia, the 17 million people who live on sandbanks in Bangladesh?s river basins could be homeless by 2030 as increasing Himalayan melt water floods their homes.

?Communities around the world are already showing resiliency ? early action is being taken to reduce the negative impacts of climate change being felt now,? said Offenheiser. ?We?ve seen it in projects ranging from planting drought resistant crops to building homes and schools on raised foundations, which are all essential for the poor to survive this global challenge. We?ve also seen it in the Gulf Coast of the US, where communities are rebuilding in ways that increase preparedness for future climate-related disasters. But there are limits to what communities can achieve alone, and they need support.?

The Rockefeller Foundation grant will help strengthen Oxfam?s efforts to build new constituencies and use innovative media tools to engage the US public on climate resilience issues. Oxfam will work with African American, Latino and women?s groups, as well as experts on issues such as public health and security. Since climate-related disasters will further stretch already strained governmental and non-governmental humanitarian assistance resources, the Rockefeller Foundation grant will also support original research focused on the ways in which US policy and deployment of resources will have to change to address the impacts of climate change both internationally and domestically, including strategies to reduce disaster risk and to engage local communities in disaster response planning.

?Oxfam brings a unique value to the climate change debate, including our public outreach and constituency building, our campaign and policy expertise, our knowledge built from on-the-ground operations in developing countries and in low-income communities in the US, and our work with the private sector,? said Offenheiser. ?The Rockefeller Foundation?s commitment to working on climate change resiliency issues with a focus on public outreach and federal policy change makes the Foundation an ideal partner as we build alliances and reach out to key constituencies.?