TAJIKISTAN, Dushanbe – Today members of the Central Asian Network of Academic Societies (NAS) learned about the application of the water-energy-food (WEF) Nexus approach through an interactive Nexus Game. 29 professors from Central Asian universities, who educate water, environmental and economic professionals, played out a series of WEF management scenarios in downstream and upstream countries. The event was organized by the EU-funded project "Nexus Dialogue in Central Asia" in cooperation with the USAID Regional Water and Vulnerable Environment Activity (WAVE project) and the SDC “Blue Peace in Central Asia” project.
The academic community has an exceptional potential to foster and reinforce the cross-sectoral thinking, which is key to ensuring water, energy and food security in the region. Therefore, it is important to raise awareness of the WEF Nexus approach among academia by delivering the principles of its practical application.
Ms. Aina Mamytova, Head of the Research Department "Green Economy" of the Academy of Public Administration under the President of the Kyrgyz Republic expressed the joint opinion of the workshop participants: «The Nexus Game helped us to experience the 'burden of decision-making' at different levels, in different sectors, and with different challenges. The visual illustration of the problems faced by upstream and downstream countries helped us to not only understand the important relationship between food, water and energy in the context of national security, but also gave an insight into the specifics of energy and food production in the water management cycle. I think the game is an excellent complementary tool for training specialists in public administration, water diplomacy and international relations».
Upon the results of closing discussions, NAS members expressed their interest in integrating the WEF Nexus approach into the educational programs of their universities by developing special training modules, playing the Nexus game within practical classes and summer schools, as well as engaging students in cross-sectoral research.
The second phase (2020-2023) of the European Union project "Central Asian Dialogue to Promote Sectoral Financing through the Water-Energy-Food Nexus" is a continuation of the first phase (2016-2019) and is being implemented by the Regional Environmental Centre for Central Asia (CAREC). The project is part of the global Nexus Dialogue Programme, which is supported by the European Union (EU) and the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) in five regions.