Water-Energy-Food Nexus Workshop Held in Nigeria

More than 60 representatives from Penn State and multiple African institutions and governments came together around the intersection of water, energy and food.

Participants from the WEF workshop in Nigeria. Image: Penn State

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — On June 26 and 27, representatives from Penn State, including Vice Provost for Global Programs Michael Adewumi, traveled to Ibadan, Nigeria to participate in the first WEF (water, energy, food) workshop hosted by Penn State and its core partners in West Africa. The workshop was held on the campus of the International Institute for Tropical Agriculture and involved over 60 participants from the U.S. and ten African countries, representing 23 academic, multilateral, government, and private sector organizations.

“The nexus of water, energy, and food security is of paramount importance in the 21st century,” said Adewumi. “The intersection of these three issues is particularly challenging and vital on the African continent, where many countries are experiencing a rapidly burgeoning and urbanizing population.”

Among those who made opening remarks at the workshop was His Excellency, Mr. Godwin Obaseki, Executive Governor of Edo State-Nigeria. He recently followed up the workshop with a visit to Penn State to learn more about the University’s Agricultural Extension programs.

Throughout the workshop, a few key themes emerged. The need for partnerships, public-private sector collaboration, and transdisciplinary approaches; the vital importance of a true systems approach which encapsulates all three areas and all stakeholders; and the necessity of developing solutions that are locally-relevant and globally-applicable, were all mentioned.

“It’s all about partnership,” said Rob Crane, associate vice provost for Global Programs at Penn State. “The challenges are larger than any one institution can address and, while the challenges are global, the solutions have to be local. Local partners are critical for defining problems and developing solutions.”

By the end of the workshop, participants agreed to:

  • Work toward creating a distributed center, or network, to make the most effective use of current capacity; leverage local and regional expertise and resources; and provide a mechanism for identifying and seeking resources for new capacity needs.
  • Identify a core group will act as local and institutional champions for building Nexus capacity.
  • Develop identified individual projects in the near-term and explore further projects in the long-term.
  • Keep consistent communication with Nexus stakeholders through listservs, the creation of a website, and the appointment of a WEF coordinator.

“We are thrilled with the workshop. By all accounts, it was a total success,” said Adewumi. “I look forward to the incredible global impact that Penn State can achieve. This is yet another example of Penn State’s global leadership.”

In addition and partly as a follow-up to the WEF workshop in Nigeria, the Institutes of Energy and the Environment hosted a workshop at University Park to begin leveraging similarly themed research and initiatives. The FEW workshop brought in more than 100 faculty, graduate students and staff, to begin making research connections at Penn State which will contribute to both local and international Nexus- initiatives.

For further information on WEF nexus initiatives in Africa, contact Rob Crane, associate vice provost for Global Programs, at rqc3@psu.edu.

For further information on Penn State’s Food-Energy-Water Nexus initiatives in general, contact Tom Richard, director, Institutes of Energy and the Environment, at tlr20@psu.edu.