Independent Strategic Analysis of Australia’s Global Interests

Global Food and Water Crises

Australia’s greatest responsibility and opportunity in the 21st century is to help feed a hungry world. Mobilisation of political will and an overhaul of the existing global food systems are critical to avert crises.

Syrian Food Security in Decline as Wheat Shortages Loom

Unprecedented challenges to Syria’s food security may worsen as the government struggles to procure wheat.

Iraq: Kurdish Dam-Building Spree Threatens Fragile Water Supplies

Water security in southern Iraq is likely to further decline in the near future as new dams are built in Iraqi Kurdistan.

The Chinese Distant Water Fishing Fleet and Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated Fishing

Illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing has been described as the leading maritime security threat and the Chinese distant water fishing fleet is likely to be the world’s leading perpetrator. While Beijing has taken steps to address wrongdoing in the Chinese fishing industry, it might continue to ignore transgressions as the industry continues to play a role in the Communist Party’s maritime strategy.

Food Security Declines in East Africa Following Economic, Climate and Conflict Shocks

Food insecurity has risen across East Africa since 2016, due to economic, conflict and climate shocks. While cases of Covid-19 in East Africa remain low relative to other parts of the world, the pandemic has had a deleterious effect on the economies of the region. It is likely that food insecurity in East Africa will continue to rise for many years to come.

Wetter than Average Summer Anticipated for Eastern Australia and the Western Pacific

The last La Niña weather event between 2010 and 2012 caused billions of dollars of damage in eastern Australia and the western Pacific. While this summer’s is expected to be less severe, it is likely to bring wetter conditions to the region.

Indonesian Farm Estate Project Could Repeat Past Mistakes

While increasing rice production would reduce the country’s reliance on imported food, it is unlikely to be economically or environmentally beneficial.

Indian Farm Bills Seek to Liberalise Agricultural Markets

The legislation is designed to give Indian farmers greater bargaining power in agricultural markets, which could improve their financial position and Indian food security.

US Launches Mekong Partnership as Chinese Debt Trap Closes on Laos

Washington launched a new partnership with Mekong countries to counter rising Chinese influence in continental South-East Asia. As parts of the region are pulled closer into Beijing’s orbit, however, it is unlikely that the new partnership will alter the geopolitical situation.

UAE and Israel Discuss Closer Co-operation in Food and Water Security

After normalising diplomatic relations, the UAE and Israel could both stand to benefit from closer collaboration in agricultural and water research and development.

The Politicisation of Australian Agricultural Trade with China Suggests that New Export Markets Need to be Cultivated

While Australian agricultural exports to China remained steady in the first half of 2020, the latest trade data suggests that they will face considerable headwinds for the foreseeable future. As Beijing continues to target Australian agricultural industries with trade bans and tariffs, in an attempt to apply political pressure to Canberra, it is in Australia’s interests to cultivate new export markets.

Publication Guide

  • Associate papers are primary source assessments written by FDI associates. The assessment topics range from regional bilateral relationships and opportunities and challenges in our neighbouring countries.

  • Feature interviews are interviews conducted by an FDI Research Manager. Interview topics range from the sustainability of our planet to the improved provision of emergency food aid.

  • Normally issued in hardcopy, these represent a comprehensive study of one of FDI’s four research areas.

  • Strategic alerts are priority current intelligence items. We provide these alerts when events such as military deployments or foreign election results occur.

  • A 1500 to 3000 word, single topic assessment.

  • A number of short articles addressing current intelligence topics, issued each week.

  • A record of discussions resulting from a single, or series of, roundtable conferences.

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