COP22 Side Event // The nexus approach in the MENA region: A road to climate adaptation and mitigation in science, policy-making and practical implementation

The Middle East and North Africa face growing challenges related to water supply, energy security and political stability, which are likely to be exacerbated by climate change. This makes it crucial to develop integrated approaches to natural resources management, socio-economic and industrial development, and overall policy-making. This event will discuss how the water-energy-food nexus approach can help achieve the needed integration, with insights from experts and MENA-region decision-makers.

Where and when

  • 10 Nov 2016
  • 12:30–14:00
  • EU Pavilion (Bratislava)


Given the MENA region’s growing challenges in terms of its water, energy and food security and related political stability, integrated approaches to environmental management  and policy making are urgently required. The impacts of climate change will further intensify the existing challenges. At the same time, the region has a big potential for renewable energy and increasing resource efficiency, with the industrial and private sector playing a key role.  An integrated or nexus approach identifies crucial interlinkages between sectors, promotes synergies and reduces negative externalities that often come with silo approaches. It can help to decouple economic development from resource use and environmental pressures  and hence support a Green Economy.

While the mitigation focus of MENA countries’ NDCs is primarily on energy (and land use), climate adaptation priorities are in the water and agricultural sectors. Conventional sectoral approaches to adaptation may for example result in very energy and greenhouse gas intensive water solutions, such as fossil-fuel driven desalination or water pumping across large gradients. Similarly, silo approaches to mitigation may overstress scarce water resources and leave communities and ecosystems even more vulnerable to the increasing water scarcity, e.g. by relying on hydropower or by promoting water intensive afforestations. Too narrowly defined agricultural intensification accordingly may be more water- or energy- intensive than the local context and robust adaptation or mitigation would permit.

The Water-Energy-Food Security Nexus provides methods, tools and data for identifying integrated solutions and it facilitates coordination and cooperation across sectors and institutions. Nexus mainstreaming renders national strategies, policies and plans, including NAPs and NDCs more coherent and effective. Nexus mainstreaming at the governance level for improved policy coherence builds on bridging institutions and common issues around which several sectors can cooperate. Practical implementation on the ground builds for example on multi-functional water, energy and food production systems, such as in the Sahara Forest Project or in solar desalination or energy recovery from wastewater, as well as on water and energy savings through cleaner production or industrial solar thermal applications.

Eventually nexus approaches can improve resource efficiencies, access to resources and water-, energy- and food-security. Nexus dialogues between adaptation and mitigation communities can improve the coherence of NDCs, guide investments into climate resilient societies and support the implementation of the Paris Agreement.

Presenters, Panelists and Moderators include:

  • Matthieu Ballu, EU Directorate General for Climate Action
  • Eric Beaume, EU Directorate General for International Cooperation and Development
  • Samir Bensaid, Office National de l’Electricité et de l’Eau Potable, Morocco
  • Angelika Cerni, Millenium Energy
  • Mariam El Forgani, Regional Center for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency
  • Rana Ghoneim, United Nations Industrial Development Organization
  • Holger Hoff, Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research
  • Richard Klein, Stockholm Environment Institute
  • Philipp Knill, Federal Minstry for Economic Cooperation and Development, Germany
  • John Matthews, Alliance for Global Water Adaptation
  • Lahcen Taiqui, Université Abdelmalek, Morocco
  • Christophe Yvetot, United Nations Industrial Development Organization

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