Decision-makers around the world face a critical question: How to ensure the sustainable provision of food, energy and water with intensifying environmental, economic and demographic change? While many understand that urbanisation and extreme weather pose risks to livelihoods, very few comprehend the systemic risks in food, energy and water that led to the global food price shocks in 2007-08, or how a drought in China contributed to the Arab Spring.
The world needs a global group of ‘truth tellers’ who understand the consequences of inactions and poor decisions related to food, energy, water and soils, and are prepared to tell decision makers what is wrong, and how to fix it. The world does not need yet another society to join the chorus that tells us what went wrong after the fact. Instead, it needs to stop or mitigate food price spikes, energy and water shortages, mass migration, and even war and conflicts before they happen.
The Economics and Science Group will face head on the challenge of sustainably feeding 9.7 billion people in 2050 by alerting decision makers to the responses which improve livelihoods without damaging long-term resource security. We are not a lobby or an interest group and neither are we a ‘think tank’ that simply publishes reports. We are a group of experts who have come together to show how many of the decisions taken today create cumulative risks for tomorrow and, more importantly, to explain the actions needed today to avoid future problems.
What we do is not simply a ‘show and tell’. Our work involves close engagement with the private sector, the public sector and civil society so that the solutions are delivered to those who need to know, and so that key decision-makers can act in time.
We ‘speak truth to power’, but we are not naïve. We say what needs fixing and what are the solutions and the trade-offs. We understand that tough decisions need to be supported by evidence, and also by individuals prepared to stand up and tell the world what is needed, and why.
The Group is independent, non-partisan, and not-for-profit. Thus, while we are affiliated through the Principals and Fellows to many institutes and agencies, the Group is not beholden to or located at any particular university. This independence allows the Group to keep its overhead costs to a minimum and ensures that its funds are spent on evidence and actions, rather than administration.
As a Group we comprise individuals who are world-leading scientists and economists deeply engaged on matters of public policy. The Group’s professional research and engagement team are based in Canberra, Australia, but the Group’s Fellows are affiliated with leading universities, institutes, and centres around the world.
Our work program is subject to rigorous peer-review processes to contest ideas and to avoid ‘Group Think’. We will deliver a clear, comprehensible picture of the risks, the actions needed, the trade-offs and the challenges facing the world in food, energy, soils, water and global security.
All of our work is freely accessible, in the public domain (creative commons), and be written in plain language that explains what needs to be done, and why.
In sum, the Group brings together the best available economic and scientific evidence, thinkers and doers from around the globe to find solutions to promote a more secure world, today and tomorrow.