event 11 mai 2020

Nexus Blog // Outcomes of the fourth Nexus Latin America Virtual Forum

The fourth Nexus Virtual Forum for Latin America and the Caribbean organised by the Nexus Regional Dialogues programme together with CEPAL was focused on the question how regulatory and institutional frameworks can be supported to implement a Nexus perspective between water, energy and food in the region. This article was written by Alba Llavona (consultant at CEPAL) and Marina Gil (Water and Energy Unit, Natural Resources Division, ECLAC).


On April 30, 2020, the Fourth Regional Virtual Forum for Latin America and the Caribbean took place with more than 170 participants representing 23 countries and 70 institutions worldwide. The event, organized within the framework of the GIZ Nexus Regional Dialogues Programme in collaboration with the United Nations Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (CEPAL), focused on the analysis of the influence that regulatory and institutional frameworks have on the implementation of the Nexus perspective on the region's public policies.


Antonio Levy, Regional Coordinator of the Nexus Regional Dialogue in Latin America, oversaw welcoming and moderating the meeting. For its part, ECLAC was represented by Marina Gil of the Division of Natural Resources, who explained the work of the institution under the Nexus Programme and its importance in the region. The meeting was also attended by panellists representing Guatemala, Colombia and Chile.

Lisbeth Naranjo, consultant for CEPAL, presented her work in developing a "Methodological Applied Guide for the Design of Plans and Policies with a Comprehensive Approach to the Nexus", which will be published shortly. The objective and structure of the guide were presented, emphasizing its practicality based on the specific experience of case studies implemented in the region. Finally, the guide will address the regulatory and institutional frameworks, enhancing the need to include the nexus in each stage of policy development process.

Elisa Colom, a legal specialist in water law and member of the Global Steering Committee of the World Water Association, presented the "Solidarity Nexus for Guatemala", highlighting the legal gaps in water resources in Guatemala and the inconsistencies in some of its institutions. Her presentation emphasized the valuable opportunity that exists for implementing the Nexus approach in the country within the framework of its’ national development system created in 2012, which presents ambitious objectives to address issues such as food and energy security, and which requires legal and institutional framework reform. Finally, Elisa established as the main challenge the need for reaching an agreement regarding policy on the adequacy of the implementation of a Nexus approach, on the basis that it will only be implemented to the extent that institutional and budgetary resources are allocated for its development.

For her part, Dr. María del Pilar García Pachón, Director and Professor at the Department of Environmental Law of the “Universidad Externado de Colombia”, presented "NEXUS in Colombia, possibilities and legal barriers". Dr. Garcia highlighted the lack of connection that exists between the different sectors of the nexus in Colombia, from a normative and institutional point of view. The complexity of Colombian institutions was commented. Although integrated management policies have been developed, none explicitly considers the nexus approach. She highlighted the lack of specific water regulations, which makes it difficult to adopt long-term policies, as they are merely dependent on the government in place. She further indicated that there were clear opportunities for adopting the Nexus approach under Colombia's National Development Plan, which included a pact for managing public resources (including water and energy) and regional development plans centrally focused on integrated watershed management, energy and food security. Finally, the first or main challenge is to achieve an understanding regarding the importance of using a nexus approach to obtain a robust regulatory and legal framework.

The nexus approach in the Chilean context was presented by Humberto Peña, Civil Hydraulic Engineer and former Head of the Department of Studies and Planning and General Director of the General Water Directorate of Chile. Humberto presented a historical tour of the nexus approach in Chile, from the early twentieth century to the present day, illustrating the political changes and its influence in adopting a more integrated, nexus type of approach. In addition, concrete examples of water and energy consumption by mining and agricultural activities were discussed, illustrating that the interaction between the different elements of the nexus in Chile is increasing. Finally, it is essential that institutions be able to meet the challenges that always come up, hence its effectiveness will depend on each case.

The presentations were concluded with Dr. Michael Hantke-Domas, specialist in environmental and water law, economic regulation and free competition, Former Minister and President of the Third Environmental Court of Valdivia, Chile. Dr. Hantke focused his presentation on "Regulatory Barriers to the Adoption of the Nexus Perspective", indicating as one of the main problems worldwide that natural resources are considered separate disciplines, regulated specifically in different areas and whose planning and control fall on different institutions that do not talk with each other. Coordination between institutions would hence be highly beneficial in terms of efficiency, facilitating or improving the decision-making process. The importance of prioritizing the nexus as a public policy was highlighted by considering that, without political will, success in its implementation will not be possible. Finally, despite a broad methodological development for the implementation of the nexus, practical information about its implementation is not easy to find.

The meeting concluded with a question and answer session with event participants, which voiced their concerns regarding the challenges of reaching consensus for implementing the nexus approach between the various sectors and institutions. In this regard, Dr. Hantke considers it key for each of the involved sectors to know the individual benefits that this approach can provide. For her part, Dr. García stressed the need to create a normative and political framework that could promote the nexus and foster this new approach for political decision making. Finally, Mr. Peña indicated that effective regulations must be established by seeking and developing trust between the different sectors to generate institutions that act and collaborate for extended periods, generating lasting relationships of trust between the parties involved.

Find the presentations in PDF format here:

  1. Antonio Levy: Welcoming remarks and Agenda
  2. Lisbeth Naranjo: Methodoloigal guide
  3. Elisa Colom: Solidarity Nexus for Guatemala
  4. Maria del Pilar García Pachón: NEXUS in Colombia, possibilities and legal barriers
  5. Humberto Peña: The Nexus experience in Chile and its evolution
  6. Dr. Michael Hantke-Domas: Regulatory Barriers to the Adoption of the Nexus Perspective

Full video recording of the forum available upon request.

More information

For further information, please contact , Regional Coordinator of the Nexus Regional Dialogues Programme in Latin America and the Caribbean.

To view the full webinar, please contact .

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