Significant changes are sweeping across the world: in the way people live and relate to each other; in the types of leaders we choose; in the periods of economic boom and bust; and in the changes to our climate. Against this uncertain backdrop, Oxfam has to confront the question of how best we can help bring an end to poverty in the world. Unfortunately, this is a very timely question as over 20 million people in the Horn of Africa and the Middle East are grappling with unprecedented threats to their lives, safety and food security, especially after a famine was declared in parts of South Sudan early in 2017. The challenge of bringing about viable relief and lasting solutions to these millions of lives who suffer from disasters caused by a combination of factors – droughts, climate change, and conflicts – is more complex than ever.
On top of this, the latest Oxfam global inequality report released in 2017 finds that eight men own the same amount of wealth as half of the world’s population. What we cannot accept is not only the figures, but the damaging social cost of acute inequality which leads to entrenched poverty, discrimination, violence, conflicts, and social upheaval. Oxfam remains determined to tackle the worsening trend of global inequality and the instability it is causing by working with others to demand a human economy which leaves no one behind. That is why public engagement as well as influencing policies and business practices form a significant part of Oxfam’s work, in addition to services delivery.
To achieve this, we need a great deal of imagination, creativity, intelligence, dedication and resilience – in all areas of our work. With these, we are better equipped to empower poor and vulnerable people to achieve greater equality and overcome poverty, and make them less vulnerable to disasters. We need to better mobilise resources for sustainable poverty alleviation programmes and garner support from all sectors of society to bring about an end to poverty.
The celebration of the 40th anniversary of Oxfam Hong Kong (OHK) in 2016 was a rewarding and rejuvenating occasion, thanks to the support of our many partners, supporters and staff. The anniversary reminded us of what we have achieved since the day OHK was founded by a small group of volunteers who shared a common mission to do something to help tackle poverty. I hope we have exceeded their initial expectations having reached millions of people in poverty around the world, including Hong Kong, over the past four decades. Like many people turning 40, we are mature, strong and confident, at the top of our game and about to enter the most productive and influential stage of our life.
We at OHK cannot achieve our mission without the support of all stakeholders – donors and partners, the Council, staff, volunteers, decision makers, opinion leaders, and innovators who are emerging from the young generation in our community. We need to work together with you all to map out how we can eradicate extreme poverty everywhere by 2030 to achieve Goal 1 of the United Nations Sustainable Goals (SDGs). We cannot do this alone, so let us continue working hand in hand to create a World without Poverty!