event 22 ene. 2017

SDGs // The importance of the Water-Energy-Food Nexus in the implementation of The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)

By Rabi Mohtar. Progress toward 12 of these SDGs is directly related to the sustainable use of resources such as land, food, water, energy and materials. The commitment of the Nations to adopt and achieve the SDGs, eradicate poverty, and achieve sustained development that will impact more and more populations, represents an unprecedented opportunity to enter a new era of policy making and resource management. One that can make the integration of social, economic and environmental issues a reality.

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In September 2015, Heads of State met at the United Nations General Assembly to announce the end of the term of “Millennium Development Goals” (MDGs) and commit to a new set of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The 17 SDGs were written by disciplinary teams, and as they are formulated now, they recognize the interlinkages between well-being, economic prosperity and a healthy environment. The SDGs include a wide spectrum of topics and issues: food security, poverty, gender inequality, economic development, climate change, and health, among others. Under each of the Goals is a list of quantifiable targets to be achieved in the coming 10-15 years.

Key Messages

The targets of the water goal can impact the targets of food and energy goals and as such a quantifiable platform for the interactions of these goals is key to achieving them. This platform must be inclusive with multi-stakeholder approaches to ensure sustainable implementation of these goals. Inclusiveness is imperative and it refers to the sectors (water, energy, food) as well as types (private, public and civil society) of stakeholders. The Water-Energy-Food Nexus offers a useful platform for quantifying and assessing interactions between these goals during their implementation. It is also critical to have transparency and accountability in the Nexus. Monitoring of accountability measures must be undertaken and the decision making process must be kept inclusive and transparent. Measurable, attainable goals for water and energy must be set, with targets for meeting them. Impacts of each of these targets on the other goal and targets must be quantified. Lastly a structure of governance that allow for interaction across sectors must be established.


OCPPC website (open access)


December 2016


OPC Policy Center - Policy Brief

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