Addressing the Agriculture, Energy, Water, Climate Change Nexus

12-13 August 2019, Canberra


The Crawford Fund’s annual conference is a highlight of Australia’s agricultural development and food security calendar. For almost 30 years we have drawn significant focus to issues worthy of global and Australian attention.

“The Perfect Storm” was a term coined by Sir John Beddington, the Sir John Crawford memorial address presenter when UK Chief Scientist, to describe his prediction that by 2030, food shortages, scarce water and insufficient energy resources would threaten to unleash public unrest, cross-border conflicts and mass migration as people fled from the worst-affected regions. Download the conference proceedings.

10 years after Sir John’s dire prediction, our 2019 conference examined the available evidence as to whether the ‘storm’ is still on track to happen, or whether scientific, engineering and agricultural innovation and what is happening in the farmer’s field has lessened or delayed its impact.

The Sir John Crawford Memorial Address was presented by Professor Ross Garnaut AC, who worked with Sir John in many areas of development economics, including as a PhD student and colleague. Ross has had a career built around the analysis of and practice of policy connected to development, economic policy and international relations in Australia, Asia and the Pacific.

On 13 August, our full-day event was held in Parliament House, Canberra, and we were pleased that after nearly three decades we were able to move the event to the Great Hall.

Once again, we brought together leading international and Australian thinkers and practitioners for an interactive day that included:

  • Keynote presentations from eminent international public and private sector experts.
  • Targeted overview presentations on the status quo and innovative policy and development project options that addressed a set of significant nexus issues, highlighting where action was needed or underway around agriculture, energy and water which are all further exacerbated by climate change impacts.
  • A set of examples of impact delivered as case studies in short, rapid-fire presentations by leading Australian and international researchers across industries, global regions and agricultural sectors.

By providing extended question and answer sessions and opportunities for informal networking, the Fund’s annual conference continues to allow participants to contribute and to place food security issues into a context relevant to their lives and work.

Our conference audience included views from science, agriculture, politics, business and civil society to help focus our attention on the way forward.

We hope you enjoyed our 2019 event and had input and achieved insights on these significant issues in order to improve understanding and appreciation of what must be done to ensure food and nutrition security in a complex world.