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18 Jun 12

Side Event at Rio+20

Mountain Knowledge Solutions for Sustainable Green Economy and Improved Water, Food, Energy, and Environment Nexus

This side event aims to contribute to the “The Future We Want” outcome document by highlighting the need to better manage mountain natural resources as global public goods supplying water for life, food for health, and clean energy for livelihoods.

Rapid global changes including climate variability and socioeconomic transformations are creating new knowledge needs in the world, especially in mountain regions. Mountain water and biodiversity resources are increasingly threatened, while their potential as future sources of water, food, and energy is growing worldwide.

Time & Place

18 June 2012, 9.30-11am, Rio Centro, P-3A

About the Event

Enhancing food, water, and energy security will require an appropriate institutional framework and the development and transfer of research-based knowledge that can influence policies. Technical know-how is also the foundation for building infrastructure that can enhance water, food, and energy supply. Incentives to private, public, and civil society sectors are needed to accelerate the production and distribution of knowledge-based solutions for reducing environmental risks and natural resource scarcities. ICIMOD and its partners are working together to develop knowledge solutions and technical expertise on the water, food, energy, and environment nexus.

Role of Mountains

Mountains have a special role in the water, food, energy, and environment nexus. More than half of humanity relies on water from mountains. Glaciers, ice fields, and snowpack store an immense amount of fresh water and gradually release it to meet year-round needs for irrigation, drinking, sanitation, industrial processing, clean energy, and food production. Mountains are sources of rich biodiversity providing numerous foods and medicinal products. These services are vital for human wellbeing, both in the mountains and downstream, and especially for improving the lives of indigenous, marginalized, and poor people. Yet they are under threat from rapid changes such as globalization and climate change. Applicable, accessible, and affordable knowledge is needed to help mountain people and ecosystems to adapt and to create sustainable societies.


  • Minister of Environment, Science, and Technology, Government of Nepal
  • Minister of Agriculture and Forests, Government of Bhutan


  • Dr David Molden, Director General, ICIMOD – Overview
  • Mr Nabin Chandra Ghimire, Secretary, Ministry of Forest and Soil Conservation, Government of Nepal

Forest policies and practices

  • Representative, GWCA – Livelihoods and Gender Equity
  • Dr Karin Lexén, Stockholm International Water Institute (SIWI) – Water management
  • Dr Maria Teresa Melis, Ev-K2-CNR – Data and information management
  • Dr Madhav Karki, Deputy Director General, ICIMOD – Mountain ecosystem services

High Level Panel Discussion

Related Resources

Report of Side Event at Rio+20

Mountain Knowledge Solutions for Sustainable Green Economy and Improved Water, Food, Energy, and Environment Nexus

Co-chaired by Keshab Man Shakya, Minister of Environment, Science and Technology, Nepal, and Pema Gyamtsho, Minister of Agriculture and Forests, Bhutan, this side event highlighted local, national and regional knowledge-based solutions that are inclusive and supportive to the water, food and energy nexus and have promoted green growth strategies and reduced poverty. Organized by the International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD), the Government of Nepal, Mountain Partnership, Stockholm International Water Institute (SIWI), EVK2CNR, Global Gender and Climate Alliance (GGCA).

Related Media Coverage

23 Jun 12


The water-energy nexus has been coming into focus over the last couple of years. The idea is that water and energy are inextricably linked: it takes water to make energy and energy to clean and move water. In the last year or so, a third critical human resource has been added to the mix: food. Theoretically, we can better and more sustainably manage each of these resources if we understand their impact on each other. This week the water-energy-food nexus hit prime time at Rio+20, with meetings following out from reports at the 2011 World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland; a dedicated meeting in Bonn, Germany; and the Sixth World Water Forum in Marseilles, France, in March. These meetings have reached similar conclusions: The water, energy and food security nexus will be one of the major challenges in achieving universal access to these resources without compromising the health and stability of the environment.

Further Reading

01 Jan 11

There are strong reasons for a new approach to the issue of sustainable water management

08 Mar 12

The Call for Papers for the World Resources Forum 2012 has been published. Deadline for submission of abstracts is 30 April. Full papers are not required.

10 Jun 14

To better coordinate UK research efforts on the nexus, the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) is launching The Nexus Network. The ESRC has committed GBP 1.8 million of funding to The Nexus Network over the next three years. It will be led by the University of Sussex, in partnership with the University of East Anglia and the Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership.

NEXUS in the Media

19 Oct 14

Sustainable Development Policy & Practise

The UN Environment Management Group (EMG) has published a ‘Stocktaking Report on Green Economy Knowledge Products by UN Agencies and Partners.

11 Nov 11

Farming First

The Water, Energy and Food nexus refers to the interlinked risks of water security, food security and energy security. With the current combined challenges of degraded ecosystems, a rapidly increasing demand for resources, climate change, growing urbanization and globalization, there is a threat that social-ecological systems at all levels will be driven across critical thresholds.

19 Dec 11

Ethical Markets

20 Mar 12

Planet under Pressure - Conference Blog

We need green economy roadmaps with “concrete goals and benchmarks of progress” and we need them fast, according to the zero draft of the outcome document from the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development, or Rio+20. Between now and 2015 this ambitious plan aims to establish indicators to evaluate implementation, mechanisms for technology transfer, sharing of know-how and capacity building.


  • IFPRI International Food Policy Research Institute
  • WEF World Economic Forum
  • WWF World Wide Fund for Nature

Bonn2011 Nexus Conference – in the context of Bonn Perspectives

  • Bonn Perspectives

initiated by

  • BONN
  • BMZ

funded by

  • European Regional Development Fund EFRE
  • NRW Ministerin fr Bundesangelegenheiten, Europa und Medien des Landes Nordrhein-Westphalen