Oxfam welcomes new Secretary of State, urges pro-development agenda

By Oxfam

Washington, DC – In reaction to Senator John Kerry’s confirmation as Secretary of State, Raymond C. Offenheiser, president of international relief and development organization Oxfam America, made the following statement:

“As a Boston-based organization with offices around the world, Oxfam America sends our heartfelt congratulations to Senator Kerry for his confirmation and we look forward to working with him towards a world free from poverty, hunger and injustice.

“America's foreign policy and development assistance are powerful tools for sharing America's values, fighting poverty, and advancing human dignity. The United States government cannot solve poverty or injustice on our own, but our nation can do much to encourage and support governments in developing countries to be more accountable to their people and meet their needs. 

“To do so, America needs to invest in building strong, lasting partnerships directly with local citizens, governments, and entrepreneurs in developing countries. The Obama Administration’s 2010 Global Development Policy and related reforms have already put the United States government on this path.  We trust that Secretary Kerry will continue to advance this effort towards more transparency, local engagement and investment.

“Under the leadership of Secretary Clinton, the State Department has been a strong promoter of increased revenue transparency in the oil, gas and mining sectors in order to reduce corruption and monitor the use of billions of dollars in government revenues generated by these industries. We hope that Secretary Kerry will maintain US leadership on this critically-important priority and support the Securities and Exchange Commission as it defends landmark payment disclosure legislation.

“We also look forward to working with Secretary Kerry to address the impact of climate change on the global food system and vulnerable populations around the world.  Secretary Kerry’s leadership on climate change in the Senate can provide a critically-needed jolt for action to address the causes and consequences of a warming planet. 

“In a world where the massive and poorly regulated global trade in arms and ammunition continues to threaten the security and rights of millions of men, women and children, we urge Secretary Kerry to negotiate a strong UN Arms Trade Treaty at the UN in March. In order to be effective, it must include all conventional weapons and associated ammunition, and ban the transfer of arms that could be used for genocide, serious war crimes, or crimes against humanity.

“Most importantly, we stand behind Secretary Kerry as he will undoubtedly face humanitarian crises around the globe. During his confirmation hearing, he referenced the worsening insecurity and humanitarian situation in Darfur and the ongoing conflict in Sudan’s Blue Nile and Southern Kordofan states. We hope that he will put his extensive experience with the Sudans, and his personal relationships with senior leadership of both countries, to good use and ensure the US plays a strong role in seeking humanitarian access and peace within and between Sudan and South Sudan.

“There is so much work to do. We at Oxfam hope for a productive relationship with the State Department under Secretary Kerry’s leadership, as we continue working to right the wrongs of social injustice and poverty in developing nations.” 

/ENDS

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