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29 May 12

The Last Push for Rio

The Rio+20 Summit is less than a month away. Policymakers and civil society representatives have been advocating for the inclusion of the nexus approach in “The Future We Want”, the outcome document of the negotiations — by Olimar Maisonet-Guzmán

The last push for the inclusion of the nexus will take place during the Rio+20 Dialogues, where members of civil society will meet to propose recommendations for sustainable development.

The need to improve water, energy and food security for a growing population increases existing pressures on natural resources. Agricultural production is expected to increase 70 percent by 2050. Energy production is expected to increase by 50 percent as well. Both increasing demands will translate into increasing demands for water and land resources. Climate change is expected to aggravate pressure on natural resources by affecting water availability and land productiveness. According to experts, a nexus approach is needed to promote climate mitigation measures (e.g. forest conservation), increase water efficiency (e.g. more value per drop), and promote adaptation measures (e.g. water-saving irrigation).

Olimar Maisonet-Guzmán

is a 2011 Boren Fellow and a member of the SustainUS Youth Delegation that will participate in the Rio+20 Earth Summit. She is currently in Brazil studying water and energy policy, with a particular focus on hydropower development in the Amazon. She is one of the facilitators for the Rio+20 Water Dialogues.

During the last week of May, the Rio+20 Co-Chairs proposed a new draft text to accelerate the negotiation process. The new version includes some concrete proposals in terms of water management, sustainable energy production, and food security. However, it still lacks a clear reference to the water-energy-food security nexus.

Ongoing discussions are taking places between civil society representatives in the form of the Rio+20 Online Dialogues. The Rio+20 Online Dialogues are hosted by UNDP and the Government of Brazil. Civil society representatives are advocating for a clear reference to the nexus. For example, one of the proposed recommendations to elevate the importance of the WEF nexus is the integrated management of water-energy land policy. The recommendation states:

“Sustainability requires joint consideration of the crucial need for water, food and energy security. Through an integrated approach we can ensure a clear understanding of interplays and trade-offs, and to identify policies that will maximize benefits and minimize negative impacts. World leaders should reject narrow single-issue approaches – even if they seem more politically viable – and encourage integrated thinking at all scales, from the local to the global.” – Water Dialogue.

If you are interested in supporting the inclusion of the nexus as one of the proposals that will be presented to Member States, you will need to join the Rio Dialogues and vote for recommendations to promote a sustainable use of our natural resources. You have until June 3 to review and support recommendations.

Related News

In Preparation of Rio+20

The Rio Dialogues have set up a website to vote which challenges are most urgent and which solution approaches are most promising.

NEXUS in the Media

17 Sep 13


The rapid expansion of coal energy projects in China, experts say, threatens another already-scarce resource in the country: water. - A World Resources Institute (WRI) report has found that over half of China’s 363 planned coal-fired power plants - which use large quantities of water to produce steam to drive turbines, and for cooling - are to be built in areas with high or extremely high water stress. Another investigation by Greenpeace earlier this year revealed that China’s largest coal chemical company – which converts coal to liquid fuels - is using scarce water and polluting much of what remains in rural Inner Mongolia. The company has admitted to many of these negative impacts, researchers say, but has yet to share any plans to change, and in fact says it plans to expand production.

13 Nov 13


Green energy is a good idea. However, even the production of green energy has an impact on the environment: Millions of acres of conservation land have been wiped out, habitats destroyed and water supplies polluted as farmers strived to plant corn for ethanol prodction, an Associated Press investigation found


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