Nexus Interview Series // Antonio Levy, Regional Coordinator in Latin America and the Caribbean
The interview series aims to provide a better picture of the people within the Nexus team and their perspectives on Water Energy Food Nexus challenges and opportunities. In this episode, we invite you to get to know Antonio Levy, Regional Coordinator in Latin America and the Caribbean.
Antonio is the Regional Coordinator for the Nexus Dialogue in Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC). Antonio has over twenty years of experience in international cooperation, especially in the fields of renewable energy and climate change mitigation as well as project finance, management, evaluations and finance. He holds a Master´s Degree in Business Administration (MBA) from the University of Chile and Tulane University. Antonio is native bilingual English and Spanish and is based in Santiago, Chile.
How has your understanding and your interpretation of the WEF Nexus changed, after working on the implementation of the WEF Nexus over the last two years?
When I started out, a little over two years ago, the WEF Nexus seemed very theoretical and abstract. Several papers and publications had been written on the subject and one training session had been carried, but it was unclear how this concept was contextualized and how it could be applied.
Since then, I think the importance of the Nexus context is much clearer, originating from the Bonn 2011 conference and its relationship with other initiatives promoting sustainability. The Nexus program is not here to reinvent the wheel, but rather to build on the shoulders of great visionaries and contribute to a virtuous cycle of sustainable development.
I also realize that the WEF Nexus is intimately intertwined with other initiatives such as Nature based Solutions (NbS), Water-Energy-Food-Environment (WEFE) and others, though it is not “all things to all people”.
Additionally, these two years of experience have demonstrated the great level of interest in Nexus in our region, from the public sector, academia, civil society and private sector.
Finally, I also have a much better understanding of how Nexus solutions can be implemented in the field, and their unique value added.
In the 2020 interview you highlighted that the main challenge in LAC lies in creating space for fostering effective interaction between the WEF sectors. In practice how did you approach this challenge and were there unforeseen challenges that you came across? Can you name a specific example?
Creating a common space for interaction is still a challenge. The different sectors and organizations have different priorities, incentives, and power levels, which makes effective collaboration far from evident or intuitive.
The first step was to generate understanding and interest in Nexus. Through several Nexus courses and online forums, Nexus has attracted the attention of various sectors throughout the hemisphere, leading to a large number of participants in our events and specific requests for technical assistance in Nexus.
For example, last month we carried out a national Nexus Dialog in Peru, which brought together the agriculture and water sectors in a collaborative atmosphere to celebrate the completion of a demonstration Nexus project and explore the benefits of the Nexus approach in public policies. A follow up event is planned for March 2023 which will bring together mayors of rural communities to explore opportunities for replicating the Nexus demonstration project.
We are looking forward to a Nexus Dialog in Ecuador in October, which will bring together stakeholders and authorities from energy, agriculture and possibly water to celebrate the completion of the Nexus demonstration project in Kallari (a solar-powered cacao drying facility that replaces diesel units). We hope to launch an intersectoral working group at this same event, that will meet regularly to explore concrete opportunities for synergies and joint solutions.
We are working on one of the main remaining challenges, which is proving the benefit of Nexus with concrete figures, through cost-benefit analyses that look at the two demonstration projects in the region.
From your experience, what has proven to be the most promising approach for implementing/mainstreaming the WEF Nexus in the Latin American and Caribbean region? And why?
The most promising approach for implementing and mainstreaming the WEF Nexus in LAC is to keep broadening the Nexus network, work through local champions, and identify and support concrete actions that demonstrate Nexus solutions.
Broaden the Nexus Network through online forums and courses. Courses have been especially valuable to meet fellow professionals in the region committed to service in their respective countries and deeply interested in Nexus.
Through such events, we have been able to identify local “Nexus champions” that have been instrumental in furthering Nexus work in the region, individuals who have gone beyond the minimum requirements to help us collaborate with local authorities and stakeholders through a Nexus approach, whether in Peru, Ecuador, Argentina, Mexico or elsewhere.
Identify and implement actions that demonstrate concrete Nexus solutions that can be implemented and replicated in our region to show tangible benefits.
Thank you Antonio for taking the time to answer these questions!
More Information on the Nexus Regional Dialogues Latin America and the Caribbean
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- Nexus Interview Series // Robert Kranefeld, Regional Coordinator in the Niger Basin
- Nexus Interview Series // Maria Ana Rodriguez, Head of the Nexus Regional Dialogues Programme
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- Nexus Interview Series // Ludmilla Kiktenko, Regional Coordinator Central Asia
- Nexus Interview Series // Desire Sengoga, Regional Advisor for the support to the integrated management of water resources of lake Kivu and Ruzizi river