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Oxfam leads with big ideas at the 2023 ACFID Conference

2023 ACFID Conference: Left to right: Daniel Respall, Rod Goodbun, Melissa Bungcaras, Anthea Spinks, Tiara Permadi, Elsa Carnaby, Josie Lee. Photo: Oxfam

The development sector’s premier annual conference hosted by ACFID was held in October. Oxfam was thrilled to lead five sessions and feature in the closing plenary. 

We led challenging conversations, posed big ideas and provided cut-through insights in the influential conference attended by thought leaders across the development sector and government. 

Tax can be a powerful tool to redistribute extreme wealth

In Oxfam’s session titled ‘Tackling poverty through redistribution: what’s tax got to do with development?’ we challenged the development sector to consider how tax can be a powerful tool in redistributing extreme wealth to where it’s really needed – to eradicating poverty, reducing inequality and tackling climate change.

Oxfam’s Policy & Advocacy Lead, Josie Lee said “Currently, the world’s poorest bear the cost of climate change. A just transition demands rich polluters pay to fix the harm they have caused.” 

Carbon offset projects are failing

We continued our focus on climate in our session ‘Carbon Offsets are failing us, what is the alternative?’ Here Oxfam led discussions about how projects designed to reduce carbon pollution in the atmosphere, often through protecting forests in developing countries, are failing. We presented Oxfam’s alternative vision for ‘carbon contributions’ that ensure good outcomes for people and the planet.

Rod Goodbun, Executive Lead – Public Engagement, said “The voluntary carbon market is being held up as a solution to the climate crisis, but we know there are loopholes and regulatory failures being ruthlessly exploited by people seeking to make a fast dollar and corporations greenwashing to their customers. What we need is policy that drives the big polluters to reduce their emissions in the first place.” 

Recognising unpaid care work in the economy is vital

Oxfam Australia’s Gender Justice Strategic Lead, Anila Aftab Schroers, co-led a session with Oxfam Timor Leste and Oxfam Fiji named ‘Care matters – Advocating for an economy that works for all’. In this session Oxfam highlighted that transforming the way we think about the economy and women’s unpaid care work is central in the struggle for women’s equality.

Anila highlighted that provision of care is not ‘women’s burden’ but a societal issue requiring acknowledgement and action from a broad range of actors to invest in care services and infrastructure.

In this session, Oxfam presented a toolkit called Rapid Care analysis that can enable the user to generate a knowledge base in care work patterns that is locally-led and contextually informed, which can inform policies and investments on care work. 

We also featured in sessions ‘Let’s Talk about Locally-Led Action – why and how it can happen’ and hosted the session ‘Creating a Loss and Damage Compass: navigating our way through complex accountability and finance’, where Oxfam’s expertise in these areas came to the fore.  

2023 ACFID Conference: Left to right: Negaya Chorley - Results Australia, Gershon Nimbalker - Common Grace, Thenu Herath - Oaktree Australia, Anthea Spinks - Oxfam Australia. Photo: Oxfam

From band-aid solutions to systems change

Oxfam’s Director of Programs, Anthea Spinks, rounded out a big contribution from Oxfam by speaking at the closing plenary ‘From band-aid solutions to systems change’, where there were many insightful comments on how we can create a bold new vision for aid that aims to shift the structures that keep people in poverty. 

Her powerful message to close the day was: “We often misjudge short-term gains and lose sight of long-term shifts in thinking that are critically important. Let’s focus on a 10-year vision for locally-led programs that put gender justice, First Nations justice and a safe climate at the heart of our work.” 

What a great conference. Thank you ACFID.