Global Workshop on the Water-Food-Energy-Ecosystems Nexus

Publication date: 08 December 2016

Global Workshop on the Water-Food-Energy-Ecosystems Nexus

December 6-7, 2016, Geneva (Switzerland) hosted a workshop on assessments of the water-food-energy-ecosystems nexus and response measures in transboundary basins. Target audience of the event included country officials, practitioners, river basin organizations, project managers, international organizations, research institutes and academia. Overall, there were 36 countries, 37 international organizations, 7 research institutions and many others participated in this event.

The workshop was organized under the leadership of the Government of the Finland, with the support of the UNECE secretariat of the Water Convention. Funding for the workshop and the nexus assessments under the Convention was provided by Finland, Germany, Italy, Sweden and Switzerland.

Water, energy and food sectors are so strongly interlinked that actions in one area commonly affects one or both other sectors. Yet these sectors operate in isolation, and seeking security in one sector may in fact compromise others or affect negatively the integrity of ecosystems.

With the adoption of the Agenda 2030 and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), it is clear that as the SDGs on energy, food security, water and ecosystems ─ and beyond ─ are closely interlinked and there are trade-offs involved. Therefore, a nexus approach is required to support dialogue about the impacts, priorities and choices related to progress in different areas of sustainable development. Coordination between the resource sectors and cooperation between the riparian countries in transboundary basins where impacts of sectoral management can spread from one country to another is complex but necessary.


The aim of this workshop was not only to review what is the current understanding and practical application of the nexus concept, but also to discuss possible management responses in the light of expectations from Governments as well as from organizations for transboundary cooperation, notably river basin organizations.

On behalf of CAREC, Ms. Ludmila Kiktenko, Environmental Management Programme Manager, facilitated the discussion on Nexus opportunities in Central Asia and presented a new EU-CAREC-IUCN project “Central Asia Nexus Dialogue Project: Fostering Water, Energy and Food Security Nexus Dialogue and Multi-sector Investment in Central Asia”. The group consisted of the governmental officials and the representatives of the Global Water Partnership network in Central Asia.

According to the results of the workshop, the nexus approach is becoming more and more recognised concept all over the world. There are developed and tested different methodologies and approaches to assess benefits and build nexus models. Nevertheless, there are still a lot to do, as all regions and basins are different, the nexus based dialogues and measures demand specific skills, capacities and political will of all involved actors.

Photo from the main page: © A night view of the "allée des drapeaux" of the United Nations in Geneva. 14 February 2014. UN Photo / Jean-Marc Ferré

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