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.

International Food Prices Rise to Six-Year High, Presenting an Opportunity for Australian Exporters

Higher Chinese demand for feed grains and the imposition of Russian wheat export duties are pushing global food prices higher. Higher prices will benefit food exporters, including Australia, but will increase living costs for populations in poorer, import-reliant countries.

Trouble Brews in South-East Asia as Thailand Rejects Laotian Dam Report

The latest move indicates growing, if belated, concern around the environmental and economic viability of damming the Mekong River.

Ethiopia Accused of Weaponising Food in Tigrayan Conflict

While it is difficult to prove the allegation that Addis Ababa deliberately blocked the delivery of food aid, it is likely to tarnish the reputation of its reform-minded Prime Minister.

Water Storage Projected to Decline by Two-Thirds as Climate Changes

A study finds that the southern hemisphere will be especially at risk as terrestrial water storage falls, increasing the risk of violence within states.

US Launches Mekong Dam Monitor to Provide a More Holistic View of the River

The launch of the Mekong Dam Monitor is likely to place further pressure on Beijing to provide timely, accurate and robust hydrological data on water levels and dam operations on the Mekong River.

Covid-19 and Food Security in the Pacific: Considerable Challenges with an Opportunity to “Build Back Better”

While the health implications of Covid-19 in the South Pacific have been limited, the economic consequences of the pandemic have been severe. The loss of tourism revenue and remittances from overseas have reduced incomes and household spending. The economic downturn has limited economic access to food supplies, which has weakened food security. Efforts to “build back better” in the wake of the pandemic could focus on agricultural development, with significant benefits for regional food security.

India’s Worries and China’s Tibetan Dams

Chinese dams on the Brahmaputra River are just one more thorn in the side of India-China relations and India has good reason to be concerned.

The Logic of China’s Economic Coercion on Australian Agriculture

The imposition of Chinese trade barriers against Australian agricultural exports have been widely reported, but they leave a series of unanswered questions. Why is China targeting particular industries with particular instruments? What are the costs of the barriers for Australia and China? What are the drivers from within China? How can Australia realistically respond?

Indian Farmers Protest Against Market Liberalisation

Discussions between New Delhi and agricultural interest groups are unlikely to achieve consensus. The market reforms are likely to be implemented and will assist in improving food security outcomes.

Covid-19 Worsens Food Security in South-East Asia

While most of the South-East Asian region has managed to contain the spread of the Covid-19 virus and prevent a public health crisis, the regional economic downturn has resulted in weaker food security and a rise in poverty.

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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