Collaboration and Capacity Building – Successful Pacific Dialogue

June 25, 2023

The much-anticipated Crawford Fund’s Pacific Dialogue workshop was held in Nadi from 6-8 June. We were pleased to welcome over 40 early to mid-career agricultural researchers and scientists from Pacific nations, Australia and New Zealand. 

The Dialogue, supported by ACIAR and the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, aimed to: 

  • Understand the impact of risks to agriculture from climate change, biosecurity challenges and other physical, social and economic factors. 
  • Examine knowledge, infrastructural and financial impediments to developing research and action programs to adapt to risks. 
  • Build networks between Pacific Islander and Australian and New Zealand scientists to promote future scientific cooperation.  

The Fund’s CEO, Dr Colin Chartres, has provided the following summary report on the event with key messages arising from the discussions between the very enthusiastic participants.

As reported by Colin, the Crawford Fund will use the Dialogue outputs to consider appropriate capacity building opportunities with our Pacific partners. Participants will collaborate to consider using the Dialogue findings to develop research projects of interest to regional organisations, governments and funding agencies.

(l-r) Dr Colin Chartres (CEO, Crawford Fund), Dr Audrey Aumua (CEO Fred Hollows Foundation NZ, past Deputy DG Pacific Community – SPC), Susannah Hodson (First Secretary, Australian High Commission, Fiji), Mai Alagcan (ACIAR Regional Manager Pacific, Fiji).

And a sample of the positive response comes from this reflection by RAID Committee member, Jessica Fearnley:

I was lucky enough to attend the Crawford Fund’s Pacific Dialogue in Nadi, Fiji. This was one of the most rewarding experiences I have had the opportunity to do, with everyone bringing enthusiasm, ideas and passion for the agriculture sector. There was a great mix of early, mid and established career researchers who were all able to contribute different ideas and opinions on risks and challenges in the Pacific. One of the most eye-opening topics of discussion for me was having the right frame of mind when working with Pacific communities and being wary of the fact that often, these communities are in a state of recovery, and we need to be mindful that natural disasters are commonly occurring, and we may need to think about resilience and development rather than production and yield. It was really special making the connections with other researchers and we have now established a smaller working group to keep this group together.