Mekong Forum 2013 Opening remarks andrew campbell


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3rd Mekong Forum on Water, Food & Energy 2013. Opening remarks by Professor Andrew Campbell, Head, School of Environment; Director, Research Institute for the Environment and Livelihoods; Director, Centre for Renewable Energy, all at Charles Darwin University in Australia.

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Mekong Forum 2013 Opening remarks andrew campbell

  1. 1. Research for development: ANDREW CAMPBELL Mekong Forum on Water, Energy & Food Ha Noi 19 November 2013
  2. 2. Key Points • We live in one of the most dynamic parts of the world • Food, water, energy and land are intricately interconnected • Long-term security concerns, amplified by climate change, affect all • The CPWF Mekong project is leading in many areas • You know far more than me about your own context • The science – policy interface is crucial • How can we build durable institutions while responding adaptively to unfolding events and shifting priorities? 2
  3. 3. Personal declarations • I have had several careers – so far! • Farming background south-western Victoria, Australia • Studied Forestry & rural sociology: Creswick, Melbourne & Wageningen • 5 years Forester Victorian government 1984-88 • 4 years National Landcare Facilitator 1989-92 • 5 years as a Senior Executive in Australian Government • 7 years as CEO of a national research funder • 4 years as an independent consultant • 4 years as Chair of Terrestrial Ecosystem Research Network • 3 years at Charles Darwin University in Darwin…
  4. 4. Converging Insecurities • Climate change • Direct impacts • Impacts of climate change policies – e.g. pricing carbon • Energy • the era of cheap, energetically efficient fossil fuels is ending • Water • Every calorie we consume uses one litre in its production • Every litre weighs one kilogram — energy intensive to distribute it • Per capita global freshwater availability declining steeply • Food — must increase world production by 70% by 2050 • Using less land, water, fossil energy and nutrients 4
  5. 5. Profound technical challenges 1. To decouple economic growth from carbon emissions 2. To adapt to an increasingly difficult climate 3. To increase water productivity — decoupling the 1 litre per calorie relationship 4. To increase energy productivity – – 5. more food energy out per unit of energy in while shifting from fossil fuels to renewable energy To develop more sustainable food systems – – – In competition for land and water with the resources sector while conserving biodiversity and improving landscape amenity, soil health, animal welfare & human health 6. TO DO ALL OF THE ABOVE SIMULTANEOUSLY! — improving sustainability and resilience
  6. 6. Timescales for response to climate change • Many of the main drivers of biodiversity loss operate at the landscape-scale e.g. habitat fragmentation, invasive species and changed fire regimes. • It is the scale which lends itsel CSIRO 2010
  7. 7. We need a third agricultural revolution • High level goals: e.g. doubling food & fibre production while doubling water and energy productivity • How to get there? – Farming/agroforestry systems that make more efficient use of and conserve water, energy, nutrients, carbon and biodiversity (natural and cultivated) – – – – – – 7 Smart metering, sensing, telemetry, robotics, guidance, biotechnology Better understanding of soil carbon & microbial activity Radically reducing waste in all parts of the food chain Much more decentralised energy grids, diverse generation portfolio Farming systems producing renewable (2nd generation) bioenergy Attracting talented young people into exciting careers
  8. 8. Planning landscapes & infrastructure • How can this all ‘fit’ at a landscape and regional scale? • The landscape needs to be re-plumbed and re-wired • We need new planning approaches that: – work under a range of climate change & demographic scenarios – build in resilience thinking (conserve natural areas, improve habitat connectivity & buffering) – Integrate ways to reduce carbon pollution (energy, transport, food) – safeguard productive soil and allow for increased food production – facilitate recycling of water, nutrients and energy  Leading, educating and bringing the community on the journey
  9. 9. Governance “How society shares power, benefit and risk” (Xing) • Vertical and horizontal • The challenge of integration • Need to honour the past and respect local values, without being shackled by them • The tyranny of lowest common denominator consensus • Local institutions are essential, but not sufficient • As everything becomes more interconnected, better governance becomes more vital, and more difficult. Campbell: Mekong Forum on Water, Energy & Food, November 2013 | Slide 9
  10. 10. Ideas for distributed governance “In order to discover new lands, one must be prepared to lose sight of the shore for a very long time”* • Leadership at all levels • Networks and communities of practice across sectors, scales, disciplines, basins, nations • New technologies to share information, at all levels • Building social capital that dilutes rigid divisions • Hard-wiring involvement of schools, civic society (clubs etc) • Good governance is a great investment * André Gide 1925 Les Faux Monnaieurs Campbell: Mekong Forum on Water, Energy & Food, November 2013 | Slide 10
  11. 11. Pumped hydro Tumut 3 1500 MW
  12. 12. Lake Argyle
  13. 13. The Science-Policy Interface • Contested, crowded, contextual • Stakes high, decisions urgent, facts uncertain or disputed • Science thrives on a contest of ideas • This can be problematic in public debate (e.g. climate change) • Public officials just one of many sources of advice • Ministers/governments prefer wins, credit, initiatives • Durable relationships are critical • based on mutual respect and trust 14
  14. 14. Knowledge fit for purpose • Understand the knowledge need, in the application context – What type of info is needed, by whom, when and in what form? – Do you need to put a dollar figure on everything to make a better decision? • How good does the information have to be? ANSWER: GOOD ENOUGH! • This includes the process used to generate the numbers - expert/stakeholder interaction etc • Having the science won’t necessarily win the argument • Understand the politics and the economics 15
  15. 15. The nature of policy questions • Policy issues mostly in the applied research domain • Key questions revolve around “What should we do?” • Scientists must be very wary of ‘should’ questions • Where values & aspirations are as important as facts • The opinion of the scientist about ‘what should we do’, is just an opinion (albeit hopefully informed) 16
  16. 16. Researching policy questions • Of course science has a big role in policy questions • Apart from helping us understand how the world works, science can inform “What should we do?” • E.g. What policy settings or interventions will have what impact? • Who will be affected? How? How much? When? and Where? • Policy decisions are made by the body politic 17
  17. 17. the future is in our hands “The future is not some place we are going to, but one we are creating. The paths to it are made, not found.” • This is the greatest challenge of our age, not a blip • Climate, biodiversity, water, energy, food and health are interconnected • We must deal with them holistically • The CPWF-Mekong is a leading initiative Dare to be even better! 18
  18. 18. For more info: • The Getting of Knowledge • Managing Australian Soils • Paddock to Plate [policies for sustainable food systems] • Managing Australian Landscapes in a Changing Climate 19 • Powerful Choices: transition to a biofuel economy