COP22 Side Event//The WEF Nexus approach in the MENA region - a road to climate adaptation and mitigation in policy making, science and practical implementation

The side event will discuss good practices and recommendations on how the Water, Energy, Food Security Nexus can benefit activities on adaptation to climate change and the mitigation of greenhouse gases in the region. The session will involve key experts and decision makers from the policy, science and practitioner’s communities, involving both the public as well as the industrial sector.


The MENA region’s growing challenges in terms of its water scarcity, energy security, human securities and political stability call for integrated approaches to the management and governance of natural resources, socio-economic and industrial development as well as policy making. The impacts of climate change are likely to further intensify the existing challenges. At the same time, the region has a big potential for renewable energy and increasing energy efficiency, with the industrial sector playing a key role.

Where and when

  • Date: 10th November 2016
  • Time: 12:30 - 14:00
  • Venue: European Union Pavillion (Blue Zone)

Speaker and Presenters

·       Eric Beaume, DG DEVCO

·       Samir Bensaid, ONEE

·       Angelika Cerni, Millenium Energy

·       Mariam El Forgani, RCREEE

·       Richard Klein, SEI

·       Philipp Knill, BMZ

·       John Matthews, AGWA

·       Lahcen Taiqui, Université Abdelmalek

·       Christophe Yvetot, UNIDO


Holger Hoff (Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research/Stockholm Environmental Institute)


Given the MENA region’s growing challenges in terms of its water, energy and more generally human securities and related political stability, integrated approaches to the management and governance of natural resources, in policy making environmental management and development, 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 energy efficiency, with the industrial 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 and human wellbeing from resource use and environmental pressures i.e. support a green economy.

While in the MENA region and in the countries’ NDCs the climate mitigation focus is primarily on energy (and also the land use), climate adaptation priorities are in the water and agricultural sectors. Conventional silo 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 that allow to identify integrated solutions and facilitate coordination and cooperation across sectors. Through mainstreaming it renders strategies, policies and national development and action plans, including NAPs and NDCs more coherent and effective. Application of the Nexus approach at the governance level for improved policy coherence builds on bridging institutions and common issues on which several sectors can cooperate. Practical implementation on the ground builds for example on multi-functional production systems, such as in the Sahara Forest Project, water and energy savings through cleaner production, solar desalination or industrial solar thermal applications or energy recovery from wastewater.

Eventually nexus approaches can improve resource efficiencies, equitable access to resources and water-, energy- and food-security. Through integrated climate adaptation and mitigation and also through integrated SDG implementation, nexus approaches can support resilient societies and ecosystems. Also when developing NDCs, nexus approaches can foster the dialogue between the respective adaptation and mitigation communities,

Supported by

The side event is supported by GIZ’s ACCWaM project and Regional Nexus Dialogues as well as the UNIDO-IIASA Nexus Project and DG DEVCO. Contributors are also ONEE, RCREEE, AGWA, Millenium Energy, Université Abdelmalek, SEI, PIK.

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