While there is uncertainty about future climate conditions, it is probable that South Africa, Australia and other regions with similar climate conditions will experience severe droughts that could deplete water sources, mainly as a result of climate change.
As Iran inaugurates the first stage of a major water transfer project this month, history shows that similar projects failed to alleviate water insecurity as they did not address the root causes of water scarcity.
Beijing recognises that there are growing concerns within China about environmental conditions, especially in relation to air, water and soil pollution. In recent years it has introduced new laws and set a range of goals to reduce pollution and greenhouse gas emissions. Chinese officials admit that while environmental conditions have improved in recent years, they fall short of public expectations. Beijing is expected to announce new environmental goals in the upcoming 14th Five-Year Plan. If they are as poorly implemented as those in the previous plan, they are also likely to fall short of public expectations.
Covid-19, severe weather events and pest outbreaks have meant that food security will continue to decline in the near future, with aid agencies increasingly unable to help.
Although India is keen to grant concessions to Bangladesh to keep it from China’s sphere of influence, domestic politics have prevented New Delhi from solving the long-standing water-sharing dispute with Dhaka.
China is manifestly Australia’s principal two-way trading partner. Australian exports of goods and services to China were worth $153 billion and constituted 32.6 per cent of all exports. Over the past six months, the Chinese Government has either denied, or given indication of restricting, a range of Australian exports, including barley, meat, wine, cotton and services. Given that alternative or substitute markets either do not exist, or take time and market development to form, a strategic reappraisal of Australia’s export base is required.
Unprecedented challenges to Syria’s food security may worsen as the government struggles to procure wheat.
Water security in southern Iraq is likely to further decline in the near future as new dams are built in Iraqi Kurdistan.
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 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.