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.

Increased Risk of “Day Zero” Droughts due to Climate Change

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.

Iran: A Passion for Large-Scale Water Projects is Unlikely to Alleviate Complex Water Problems

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.

China Continues to Confront Steep Environmental Challenges

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.

Food Security in Peril as Crises Continue to Mount

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.

Bangladesh a Winner in India-China Rivalry but Water Dispute Settlement is Still a Long Way Off

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.

Too Many Eggs in the Dragon’s Basket? Part One: Australia’s Reliance on Exports to China

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.

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.

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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