Water, energy, and food are fundamental for human well-being and promoting sustainable development and are inextricably linked through complex interactions and feedback. These cross-sectoral interdependencies influence the operation and developments in the coupled system; therefore, action in one sector affects the other sectors (Abulibdeh & Zaidan, 2020; Hoff, 2011). Population growth, economic development, and continued urbanization, among other factors, are putting immense pressure on resources. Future projections indicate that global water, energy and food demands are estimated to increase by over 50% by 2050 compared to 2015 levels (Ferroukhi et al., 2015). As the resources are becoming scarce under growing pressures, competition over them increases, thus compounding cross-sectoral challenges and interdependencies (Hoff, 2011; Zhang, Tan, Yu, & Zhang, 2020). Furthermore, these combined pressures could reduce the resiliency of these resources in the face of shocks (such as climate change), and increase conflicts over resources, hence threatening the socio-ecological system (FAO, 2014; Hoff, 2011). Therefore, integrated management of water, energy, and food is necessary to balance human-environment systems.
This policy paper is also available in Arabic.
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