Climate change is driving global inequality.

Oxfam reaction to President Biden's address to the UN General Assembly


In response to President Biden’s address to the United Nations General Assembly today, Abby Maxman, President and CEO of Oxfam America, made the following statement:

“President Biden rightly appealed for leaders to uphold the UN charter and recommit to peace, human rights, and global cooperation today. As millions of people around the world are battered by ongoing conflict, widening inequalities, economic crises, and repeated climate shocks, President Biden underscored the need for collective action by the international community to tackle the most pressing issues of our day. As he put it plainly, we do have a lot more to do.

“In fact, the international community has failed to meet its collective obligation to promote and protect the right to food for tens of millions of people who are on the brink of starvation today. Despite a global commitment to make famine a relic of the past, it is once again knocking at the door. Oxfam and others estimated this week that one person is dying of hunger every four seconds due to hunger.

“In Somaliland last week, I witnessed communities past their breaking points. Grandparents there told me they could not recall a drought like this in their lifetimes. The climate crisis has put their very survival in doubt. And as this disaster unfolds, leaders are making the commitment to prevent famine look more and more like an empty promise.

“We applaud the additional assistance President Biden announced today, which must be matched by other donors. The Global Humanitarian Appeal to address acute hunger in East Africa and other places is only 36 percent funded. Even that funding will have little impact unless local and international organizations have unfettered humanitarian access to reach those in need.

“To prevent future food crises, we must address runaway climate change. President Biden highlighted the human costs of climate change and recent US commitments $369 billion to support climate action. From Pakistan to Puerto Rico, we are seeing the dramatic and increasingly frequent impacts of our changing climate, in countries rich and poor. We know what works in the fight against climate change: cutting emissions, investing in clean energy and green jobs, and helping farmers adapt and cope with climate shocks. We just need to act.

“The UN General Assembly provides a big stage for big speeches. We wholeheartedly agree with the President - we cannot see our communities backslide. We must now see urgent, sweeping action to save lives now and a long-term commitment to build a more resilient future to back up these words and the political courage to tackle the existential crises we all face together. Addressing hunger, the climate crisis, and violations of human rights is not charity, it’s an issue of moral obligation and collective survival.”

Press contact

For more information, contact:

Lauren Hartnett
Humanitarian Media Lead
New York, NY
Cell: (203) 247-3920
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