The Rise of Populism and Its Implications for Development NGOs

Recent political events in Europe and North America pose a problem for Oxfam and organizations like it whose mission is to eradicate global poverty and injustice.

The rise of populism, and specifically right-wing populism, has challenged the internationalism underlying that mission and threatened aid budgets. It has undermined the development consensus and many different components of it, including the struggle for gender justice and the fight against climate change. And it has left many development practitioners and policymakers uncertain how to respond or even how to interpret these events and the mass of commentary about them.

This paper, originally commissioned as an internal trends analysis and discussion brief, is intended as a first-stop guide to the rise of right-wing populism in western democracies and its broad implications for the development sector.



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