An African proverb on collective engagement goes “Knowledge is like a baobab tree; no one person can embrace it alone”. This echoes one of the objectives of the WEF Nexus in Africa: to explore possible partnerships with institutions and individuals interested in immediate collaboration around specific nexus research, education or outreach programs. Represented by Ms. Margaret Koli, Education Programme Associate at the United Nations University – Institute of Environment and Human Security (UNU-EHS), the WEF Nexus in Africa network had the opportunity to present its initiative at the UNFCCC Technical Expert Meetings on Mitigation (TEM-M) this summer in Bonn, Germany. The technical examination process on mitigation consists of regular in-session thematic technical expert meetings and focused follow up work to be conducted by Parties, international organizations and partnerships throughout the year. Parties to the Convention on Climate Change resolved to start this process in 2014 and to further accelerate it by 2020 in order to implement scalable best practice policies and bridge the ambition gap.
As a network of academic, public and private sector institutions addressing significant scientific, social, environmental and engineering challenges at the water-energy-food nexus, the WEF Nexus in Africa is a policy and governance solution, available to help accelerate the scaling up of renewable energy and smart water use in the agri-food chain by building collaborations. As one of the ways of meeting this ambition, the network in its year of inception has launched an online collaboration platform. Developed by UNU-EHS with support from the Pennsylvania State University and other partners, the online collaborative platform is intended for specific project development ideas and discussions. Participants are also welcome to share news, project ideas, project proposals and other learning tools on the website.
Ms. Margaret Koli shared the potential of the network to contribute to the clarion call of the TEM-M to promote collaboration for the sustainability of the water-energy-food nexus to address the issues related to increasing demand for food for a growing global population which, in addition to climate change, is placing significant pressure on agricultural production and natural resources. The network in Africa has identified, but not limited to, 3 major areas to focus WEF nexus efforts particularly in the region:
- Creating new food value chains.
- Local, household and community level integrated energy, water and food generation.
- Environmental protection and reclamation.
With a focus on these areas, the network is exploring opportunities for research, education, capacity building, community development and entrepreneurship. As a starting point, hosting webinars, using expert knowledge to develop e-learning material for capacity building as a first step in way building more interaction.
When asked what Parties and non-Party stakeholders can learn from such solution, Ms. Margaret Koli emphasized that the interaction and partnerships within the network are at different levels; country to country, international level, community level. Policy makers can learn at different levels, from different partners and engage various actors. The network wants to be active in promoting events, activities and innovations. Parties and non-party stakeholders can use the platform to ask questions they want solutions for and the network can mobilize its expertise to respond to those questions. Someone interested in developing a solution in an area can partner with or consult one of the members. Academia carries out applied research for stakeholders, and can translate knowledge from academia that is not easy understood. The network has wide possibilities for example it has the expertise to carry out policy relevant research and projections, project reviews, technology & innovation transfer, capacity building, event promotion, and problem definition and solution development.
We would like to welcome you to join us on the WEFS online platform to share your ideas, initiatives and innovations while growing the WEFS nexus in Africa network.