event 24 Nov 2021 time 14:00 GMT+1 location Morocco

Webinar // Side Event: Water-Energy-Food Nexus

Held by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO). This webinar is taking place at the 5th African Regional Conference for the International Commission for Drainage an Irrigation. The event will be an opportunity to learn from Morocco's experience and discuss concrete ways to move from concepts to practical action on Nexus and to develop innovative strategies, policy measures and governance arrangements for the coherence of policies for sustainable development.

Olive fields morocco

olive fields in Morocco @Fly_and_Dive/Shutterstock

24 November, 2021 | 2-5pm GMT+1


The 2030 Agenda and the Sustainable Development Goals have given a strong impetus to the debate on the nexus between several sectors and have highlighted the practical need for increased coordination, cooperation and cross-sectoral policy coherence to achieve sustainable development. These processes provide a unique opportunity to advance policy coherence between water, agriculture and energy - to mention just the three sectors critical to poverty reduction and sustainable development. The Nexus approach has been used in a variety of contexts as a tool offered to policy makers to exchange information, better understand and frame the links between relevant sectors with the ambition to align policies for sustainable development. While the nexus debate has been useful in drawing attention to the challenges of sustainability and the interdependencies between them, addressing the governance of the nexus has proven difficult. The session will address the issue of using the Nexus approach to identify and describe the complex water-agriculture-energy interconnections and discuss current and innovative institutional and governance mechanisms that can help reconcile the competing water needs of economic activities, in particular agriculture and energy, and different interests and perspectives of relevant stakeholders, while preserving the sustainability of water resources in the current context of water scarcity and climate change in the NENA region. The session will combine experience sharing (presentations) and practical exercise.


Global projections indicate that the demand for fresh water, energy and food will increase dramatically over the coming decades under pressure from population growth and mobility, economic development, international trade, urbanization, dietary diversification, cultural and technological changes and climate change. As demand increases, competition for resources increases with unpredictable impacts on livelihoods and the environment. Progress in developing ways to improve policy coherence and coordination between the water and water consuming sectors, including agriculture and energy, and their relevant stakeholders has been limited. The behaviors of the various actors are the result of political and political choices in sectors which often remain disconnected. This lack of cross-sectoral policy coherence and integrated decision-making often comes with high economic, environmental and social costs, especially for small producers and the rural poor.

Today, many governments are engaged in adapting institutional frameworks to implement coherent policies that effectively address the complex interconnections and trade-offs between water, agriculture, food production, food security and energy, while finding ways to involve diverse stakeholders to foster cross-sectoral coordination at the regional level, at national and local levels. In this context, the debate on the Water-Energy-Food Nexus has gained ground as a means of tackling the old challenges of interdependencies. What separates the link from the other approaches is the integration of multiple sectoral objectives at the policy level. What is often missing in the debate is practical advice on how to move from concepts to practical action, i.e how to bring relevant stakeholders together at regional, national and local levels, identify issues multiple and sometimes conflicting issues that should be addressed and integrated and how integration should be done in practice. This raises important questions about the socio-political context in which integration must be achieved: what must be integrated, by whom, for whom and how concretely? A key challenge for the nexus is governance: who decides what issues are handled, when and how. Managing the link therefore requires focusing on institutional and social processes, and power relations.

Participants will be engaged in the discussion in managing linkages to advance effective coordination and policy coherence between water, agriculture and energy for sustainable development.

Concept Note

Find the concept note in English here, and in French here.


Register for the webinar here.

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