A desperate and largely unknown humanitarian crisis is deteriorating in the Lake Chad Basin region of West Africa, forcing millions of people to flee their homes and leaving millions more in need of humanitarian assistance. Oxfam is providing life-saving support but help is urgently needed to prevent the crisis turning into a catastrophe.
Here's a statistic that I found when browsing the archives of the UNFCCC website the other day: At the UN climate talks that took place in Copenhagen in 2009, the US sent a delegation of about 190 people. Eritrea, on the other hand, could afford to send 8.
That's a ratio of about 25 to 1. And it's a statistic that goes some way to demonstrate the power-imbalance that exists within international decision-making processes. Because as much as all countries are meant to have an equal say within the UN, the truth is that richer ones are often in a much stronger position to make their voices heard.
That power imbalance is one of the reasons why Oxfam often sends a team of people to support developing countries at global events like the climate talks taking place in Qatar this week. So to give you a flavour of what it is that we do when we're here, below are a few photos of our team along with some descriptions of what we do. Feel free to leave us a comment and say hi at the end.
Teddy Kabunda, pictured below, normally spends his time coordinating Oxfam's humanitarian work in Zambia. But for the two weeks of climate talks, Teddy supports developing countries in the negotiations, lobbying to ensure that the rights of poor people are put front and centre at the talks. Photo credit: Laura Owsianka / Oxfam
Tracy Carty, pictured here at a meeting with the British government, is a climate change policy advisor for Oxfam Great Britain. Tracy's worked for Oxfam for three years, and in that time she's met regularly with the British government, lobbying them to get the UK to cut its emissions, and to do more to help developing countries adapt to climate change. As Tracy says herself, "the reason that politicians are willing to listen to us is because of the sheer weight of public support that we have from Oxfam supporters." Photo credit: Laura Owsianka / Oxfam
The next photo was taken a couple of days ago at an event held by the Pan-African Climate Justice Alliance (or PACJA for short) at the conference centre that the UN talks are being held in. PACJA is a network of 300 organisations across Africa that Oxfam helped found and works in partnership with. Together we aim to raise the voices of Africans in the UN negotiations. Photo credit: Laura Owsianka / Oxfam
Climate change has become one of the top news stories of recent years. So with hundreds of journalists present in Qatar this week, Sunita Bose – a press officer for Oxfam – helps make sure the voices of people from some of world's poorest countries are reported by the world's media. Photo credit: Richard Casson / Oxfam