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Increased Collaboration Needed Across Water, Energy, Food Sectors | Water Energy Food Nexus, Bonn 2011

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Bonn2011 Nexus Conference

27 Oct 11

Increased Collaboration Needed Across Water, Energy, Food Sectors

With global demand for freshwater supplies expected to increase by an estimated 40 percent by 2030, and food and energy demands to increase by 50 percent, increased collaboration between the three sectors is a requirement, according to Director of the World Business Council on Sustainable Development (WBCSD) Joppe Cramwinckel.

“As an added challenge, water, energy and food are intrinsically inter-related: a sustainable solution for one almost always has an impact on the others. Producing more food or energy, for example, requires more water – to irrigate crops, cool power plants, refine crude oil or cultivate biofuels. New water options such as desalination require more energy,” he said in an article written for the Guardian newspaper.

“That’s why we need increased collaboration across sectors and geographies,” he added.

The German government echoed these sentiments as it prepares to host a major international conference on “The Water, Energy and Food Security Nexus – Solutions for the Green Economy,” in Bonn on November 16-18.

“It is increasingly clear: There is no place in an interlinked world for isolated solutions aimed at just one sector. They can have fatal consequences in other sectors,” the conference organizers, Germany’s Federal Ministries for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety and for Economic Cooperation and Development, said in a news release.

“On the other hand, these interconnections can themselves offer new opportunities – above all for more efficient ways of using limited resources. But to seize opportunities we need to know more about relationships and causalities. Political and economic decision-makers must know how their decisions will impact on other sectors.

“Sustainable solutions are only possible if we look carefully at the linkages – at the ‘nexus’ – between water, energy, food security and the role of climate change. Only a fresh look at the linkages, based on a networked perspective, will lead to coherent actions that take account of all the ramifications,” they added.

The Bonn 2011 Conference will provide a crucial boost to this new way of thinking, while providing the “catalyst for turning networked thinking into coherent action worldwide.”

It will focus on three areas of sustainable action; the social dimension, which focuses on improving access to water, food and energy services; the economic dimension that looks at achieving more with less; and the ecological dimension that will maintain healthy ecosystems.

The conference also has three main objectives: to develop overarching concepts for water, food and energy security, to integrate to nexus approach into the Rio+20 process and green economy strategies, and to launch coherent and concrete action “that can sustainable resolve the conflicts and objectives arising from greater water and energy use and our growing food needs.”

David Duncan, OOSKAnews


Further Reading

20 Nov 12

An interview with Torgny Holmgren, Executive Director of SIWI, summarising the outcomes of the World Water Week 2012

28 Jul 15

Food and water are tied to one another fundamentally. But in addition to their biophysical relationship, human systems intervene, whether through pricing schemes and trade agreements or shifting patterns in consumption and taste.

03 Feb 15

ESRC would like to invite leading UK academic and non-academics to be selected for a two-day workshop in Cape Town to develop the scope of the programme, on 24 and 25 Feb 2015. Deadline for application is 6 Feb 2015.

NEXUS in the Media

15 Jan 13

Gulf News

“Leaders call for global co-operation to address energy challenges.”

08 Aug 13

Laboratory Equipment

The U.S. should establish a National Sustainability Policy and take additional steps to encourage federal agencies to collaborate on sustainability challenges that demand the expertise of many agencies, such as improving disaster resilience and managing ecosystems, says a new report from the National Research Council. Among those areas given special focus is the connections among energy, food and water: Producing and using energy often consumes water and can also impact water quality, air quality, land use and the agricultural sector. For example, intensive production of corn for ethanol requires water for irrigation, and chemical fertilizers that are heavily applied to corn run off into rivers and become a major source of pollution.

08 Mar 16

The Poultry Site

As strategies for energy security, investment opportunities and energy policies prompt biofuels land and water increasingly are used to produce crops for fuel.

07 May 12

Cambodia Herald

An international conference convened by the Mekong River Commission has concluded that the water, food and energy sectors need to talk to each other more.


  • 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 für Bundesangelegenheiten, Europa und Medien des Landes Nordrhein-Westphalen
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