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European Report on Development 2011-2012

19 May 12

Confront scarcity now or pay later

Launched in Brussels on 16 May 2012, the 2012 European Report on Development (ERD) highlights predicted increases in the scarcity of natural resources – with demand for water and energy expected to rise by 40% and demand for food by 50% before we reach 2030.

Unless action is taken to confront these pressures, there will be considerable costs and missed opportunities. Environmental stresses (e.g. in water) affect women and girls disproportionally, lack of energy services is a binding constraint to economic growth, and the poorest are frequent losers from large scale land deals.

Population growth, economic growth and rising incomes are increasing and changing the demand for food, energy and water. Despite declining income poverty in many developing countries, around 1 billion people are still undernourished, 0.9 billion do not have access to clean water, and 1.5 billion do not have access to electricity. It is estimated that, compared with present levels, the demand for energy and water will grow by 40 per cent by 2030, the demand for food by 50 per cent. How can the current scandalous undersupply be overcome quickly, and how can the growing demand be satisfied sustainably in the future?

The third European Report on Development (ERD) – drawn up by three European think tanks, the Overseas Development Institute (ODI), the European Centre for Development Policy Management (ECDPM) and the German Development Institute / Deutsches Institut für Entwicklungspolitik (DIE) – focuses on the use of scarce resources for inclusive and sustainable growth in the spheres of water, energy and land.

It introduces the concept of the water, energy and land nexus (the WEL nexus) as crucial to tackling these challenges in an integrated way.

The report highlights a four pronged approach towards achieving a growth path that is socially inclusive and environmentally sustainable:

  • Demand management - reducing the environmental footprint of consumption, aiming to increase inclusive growth with fewer natural resources
  • Increased quality and quantity of supply of resources such as soil, renewable energy and water
  • Greater resource efficiency – promoting innovation in sustainable agriculture and renewable energy
  • Improved resilience - minimising the negative impact on the poorest for example by better and more transparent land deals


Website ODI
Website DIE-GDI

Related Resources


The Nexus Perspective on Water, Energy and Food Security

Leveke Neumann of the Division “Water, Energy, Urban Development, Geosector” at the German Federal Ministry for Economic Co­op­er­a­tion and De­vel­op­ment (BMZ) discusses the Nexus perspective and gives examples of how the German government puts the nexus approach into practise.


Confronting scarcity: Managing water, energy and land for inclusive and sustainable growth

Presentation on the ERD 2011/12 by Dirk Willem te Velde and Imme Scholz, given at the UNCSD (Rio+20) on 19 June 2012

Press Release

Sustainable Development Goals: From “silo thinking” towards an integrated approach

Yesterday, the European Commission and the Government of the United Kingdom organised a side-event at the Rio+20 Conference to present the European Report on Development (ERD) 2011/2012 and discuss its findings in the framework of the Sustainable Development Goals. Following the launch of the report in Brussels in May, a number of other events have been organised throughout Europe to present and debate its findings on national level, involving civil society, governments and media. The series of events led to the Rio+20 Conference.

European Development Report 2011-2012

“How to get the future we want”

Interview with Dirk Willem te Velde, team leader for drafting of the ERD 2011/12

European Development Report 2011-2012

Effective natural resource management for inclusive and sustainable growth in the context of increased scarcity and climate change: what role for the public and private sector?

This project undertakes the preparation of an the European Report on Development (ERD) 2012 researching this issue with the objective of presenting a report on effective natural resources management for sustainable and inclusive growth in the run up to the next RIO+20 Earth Summit in 2012.

Related Events

14 Jun 12

Panel Discussion

The third European Report on Development (ERD) – drawn up by three European think tanks, the Overseas Development Institute (ODI), the European Centre for Development Policy Management (ECDPM) and the German Development Institute / Deutsches Institut für Entwicklungspolitik (DIE) – focuses on the use of scarce resources for inclusive and sustainable growth in the spheres of water, energy and land.

19 Jun 12

Side Event at Rio+20

Insights from the European Report on Development

Related Media Coverage

29 May 12


More technological innovation is needed to fight growing resource scarcity, but it will only be successful in achieving sustainable development if it considers the use of water, energy and land as interdependent issues, according to a European report. Investment in innovation is required for sustainable agriculture, for achieving more efficient use of water and energy, and for rolling out renewable energy technologies, says the ‘European Report on Development 2011–2012’, funded by the European Commission and seven European states.

21 May 12

The Guardian

Lowering consumption in the developed world, renewables, ending land grabs, a price for natural resources, private sector investment – what’s the answer?

NEXUS in the Media

12 Sep 12


The Chinese middle class is already larger than the entire population of the United States. Africa is not too far behind with a third of its population – nearly 350 million people – having now joined its social middle ranks. This is good news. The leap forward in quality of life for so many millions is something to celebrate. But, we still only have one planet to satisfy the demand of the growing middle classes to buy, drive and eat more. Greater social mobility also means greater demand for water. An increase in national income is linked with a country’s access to a secure and safe water supply. Security of supply and the stability it brings is critical for businesses to flourish. Clean water also brings with it the economic as well as human benefit associated with improved health. And water security is fundamental in the provision of another pillar of economic development: adequate food supply. - by Andy Wales

25 Dec 11

World Economic Forum

10 Jul 15

Innovation at the water, energy, and food nexus

31 Mar 12

MarketWatch (by Wallstreet Journal)

The global director of water stewardship for Coca-Cola Co. says that water risk isn’t imminent; it’s already manifest.

13 Mar 12

Environment News Service

Issued every three years since 2003 at the triennial World Water Forum, the UN World Water Development Report offers an overview of the state of the world’s freshwater resources and aims to provide decision makers with the tools to make sustainable use of water a reality.


  • 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
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