Wednesday, February 17, 2010

A climate change person

Following up on my previous piece (which seems to be becoming a habit), another reader tells me to have a look at Anita Swarup, the author of the Oxfam report on Tajikstan. It turns out that the lady has "form".

Formerly a "communications officer" for the Institute of Development Studies, University of Sussex, she subsequently became freelance, describing herself at a UNESCO International Conference on Broadcast Media and Climate Change in Paris in September 2009 as: "Research, advocacy and communications – Climate Change."

In her Carbon Capture bio (above), she is described as a "climate change person," telling us that she is an Oxfam International regional research report author, "who has worked as a consultant on climate change for Oxfam , Unicef and other organisations."

Interestingly, the Oxfam Tajikstan report was edited by John Magrath and Richard English. Magrath is a writer and researcher who has worked for Oxfam GB for over 20 years in a range of roles, including press officer and executive assistant to the Director. For the last three years, he has researched climate change implications for Oxfam's work. English is the campaigns manager for Oxfam.

Thus, we have a report "researched" and written by a climate change advocate, and edited by another "researcher" on climate change, overseen by a campaigns manager for an organisation that is active in climate change activism. And it was going to report anything else, other than climate change was a problem?

More than ever, this underlines the unreliability of NGO reports – in particular from advocacy groups such as Oxfam, whose work is not worth the paper it is printed on.