Australian Partners /

About  Sustainable Futures  Institute – Australia

The Sustainable Futures Institute (Australia) works in close collaboration with the Mekong Region Futures Institute (MERFI). The Institute combines scientific assessment methods, participatory processes and local capacity building to effectively contribute to evidence-based decision making leading to more sustainable natural resource management in the Greater Mekong Sub-region. The Institute was established in 2013 by Dr Alex Smajgl and Dr John Ward, formerly senior research scientists with the Australian Government’s CSIRO. The Sustainable Futures Institute (Australia) intends to export the Australian water management expertise into decision making processes in the wider Mekong Region through the policy-making network of MERFI. Recently, we advised cross sectoral analysis in the Nam Xong basin, Lao PDR, funded by the CGIAR Water Land and Ecosystems group. We have also recently advised up-scaling methodology for climate change adaptation in the Vietnam Delta, a groundwater and managed aquifer recharge project in India and an ecosystem service valuation tool for USAID. The portfolio of current research continues and extends a DFAT (Australia) funded water food and energy nexus project conducted from 2010-2014 in five Mekong countries.

Dr. Alex Smajgl is a partner in the Sustainable Futures Institute (Australia) and the Managing Director of the Bangkok-based Mekong Futures Research Institute. His background is in environmental economics with a focus on trans-disciplinary modelling in the context of natural resource management, development, urbanisation and climate change systems. Dr Smajgl also designs and implements participatory processes with various Governments across the Asia-Pacific region to establish effective science-policy interfaces for development policy. In his most recent work Dr Smajgl coordinated assessments of water-food-energy decisions in the wider Mekong region, their likely trade-offs and transboundary dynamics. This work is conducted in partnership with many government and research agencies in Cambodia, China, Laos, Thailand and Vietnam.

Dr John Ward is a partner in the Sustainable Futures Institute (Australia) and a Director of the Bangkok-based Mekong Futures Research Institutes. John pecializes in integrated natural resource management, with a focus on water related participatory processes, science-policy interactions and trans-disciplinary research. Dr Ward has developed applied experimental and behavioural economics to design and test governance and policy instruments related to water trading, carbon sequestration and trading, and payment for conservation procurement. Recent research has involved the development of psychometric attitudinal scales, the evaluation of commom pool resource property rights and policies and the water food and energy nexus in a climate changing world. Internationally, he has completed spatial econometric poverty analyses of the Niger and Mekong River Basins, processes to coordinate food, water and energy security in the Greater Mekong sub region, a groundwater management scheme in rural India and a rice adaptation project in the Vietnam Delta. He is based in Vientiane, Laos. He was a member of CRC for Catchment Hydrology, has advised the National Water Reform Commission and the Australian Government on Northern Australia Development