Building sustainability and resilience at the water-energy-food nexus is recognized as a critical foundation for poverty reduction and economic development. While water, energy and food security are recognized as the foundation for social and economic resilience, it has become increasingly evident that the water, energy and food systems are highly interdependent—social and environmental changes that threaten one of these systems have repercussions through the others, and interventions in one system may have significant unintended consequences for the others.
While the Nexus approach is applicable to a diverse range of issues and processes across multiple scales, participants at the water-energy-food (WEF) nexus workshop in Nigeria identified three themes for which the Nexus approach could be particularly beneficial and that might serve as initial foci for a new WEF-Nexus Network.
- Creating new food value chains. New opportunities for intensified agriculture, food storage, reducing post-harvest food losses, food product development and processing across value chains for food and nutrition security, and optimizing water-energy-food utility—as seen through multiple lenses of environment, social and institutional realities.
- Local, household and community level integrated energy, water and food generation. Solar and other energy technologies, water management/recycling, that enhance food security at the community/household level —which then improves health outcomes and allows households to take advantage of additional livelihood opportunities, which leads to poverty reduction, etc.
- Environmental protection and reclamation. Using a WEFS approach to optimize benefits of resource extraction, such as mining reclamation, mitigating adverse effects of crude oil exploration, and forest and ecosystem restoration.