The Phaserl


Global demand for food, water and energy is inter-linked

by Joe Deaux, MineWeb:

There is an increasing global demand for food, water and energy. All three are inter-linked, a fact that has increasingly become the focus of attention for policy makers and governments.

One initiative has been the Water-Energy-Food security nexus developed in Bonn by Holger Hoff under the auspices of the international climate change conferences of the parties (COP). The aim was to improve management of the complex links between water, energy and food systems. It is increasingly being used by international organisations to evaluate whether approaches to meeting development targets set out under the Sustainable Development Goals are coherent.

Understanding the connections between basic food demands and accessibility to water and energy is also important when it comes to climate change and its impact on agriculture and livelihoods. This issue featured prominently at COP22 in Marrakech in 2016.

The approach can play a massive role in reducing resource loss and maximising benefits. For example, countries like South Africa and Tanzania have started using the approach to develop policies around water, energy and food production.

In South Africa the Water Research Commission has begun to use the model in national discussions on managing the effects of climate change.

Tanzania applied integrated water resource management in its water sector and African Union strategy on climate change. But very little progress has trickled down to actual policy development.

Regions like southern Africa need to move beyond simply having a framework for understanding the connection between the three. This is only the first step. Now more case studies are needed to see how the three components interact and also how policies can be successfully implemented.

Why and where is the nexus important?

The problem is that water, energy and food systems are often treated independently. Most countries have isolated water and energy policies. But policies that ignore the link between them can be inefficient and even counterproductive. The nexus approach can help transform isolated policies into integrated development plans.

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