SMALL Mosque Niger ID 1460421323 Catay Kopie


Improving security and climate resilience in a fragile context through the Water-Energy-Food Nexus

Project Details

  • EN V Co funded by POS
  • BMZ
  • Logo NBA
  • CBLT Logo
  • MAEDD Logo
  • Ministère de l Economie de la Planification du Développement et de la Coopération Internationale 002
  • WPS Logo Stacked Web
  • Logo GIZ 730x730
  • Implementing organisation:

    Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH

  • Collaborating partners:

    International, regional, national and local stakeholders

  • Implementation period:

    July 2019 – June 2023

  • Beneficiary countries:

    Mali, Niger, Chad

  • Funding by:

    European Commission (EC) - FPI, German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ)

Key Resources


Legacy of the FREXUS Project // Final Products


The Frexus Approach Guidelines: Fostering Climate Security in Fragile Contexts

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Booklet // Frexus: Promoting change through an inclusive approach

Factsheet FREXUS

Fact Sheet // Frexus: Improving security and climate resilience in a fragile context through the Water-Energy-Food Security Nexus

Frexus cover success stories

Success stories from Mali, Chad and Niger



A collection of success stories from different local areas of the three countries Mali, Chad and Niger are highlighted here in form of videos and factsheets.

Policy brief en

Policy Brief // From forecast to prevention: Acting on resource-related conflict risks

NRP Blog Nexus Frexus Kickoff 3580431e48aedf97dcedf972d1481942

Nexus Blog // A Nexus way forward – two projects kick-off their activities in the Niger Basin



This article reports about the kick-off of the FREXUS project and the Niger Basin Nexus Dialogue, which took place on March 23, 2021 in Niamey, Niger.

RBO session cover picture

Recording // Water, climate, and borders - The role of River Basin Cooperation for Climate Resilience at COP26



This is the recording of the session "Water, climate, and borders - The role of River Basin Cooperation for Climate Resilience", that took place at the Water Pavilion at COP26 on November 12, 2021.

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Frexus at Stockholm WWW 2022 // Improving security and climate resilience with participatory processes



This article reports about the FREXUS session at the Stockholm World Water Week 2022 that took place on August 24, 2022.

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Frexus at Stockholm WWW 2022 // Improving security and climate resilience with participatory processes



This is the recording of the session “Improving security and climate resilience with participatory processes” that took place at the Stockholm World Water Week 2022 on August 24, 2022.

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Frexus at Paris Peace Forum 2022 // Peace by the people: involving civil society in conflict resolution



This is the recording of the session “Peace by the people: involving civil society in conflict resolution” that took place at the Paris Peace Forum 2022

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Baseline Study Mali // Établissement de la situation de reference du delta interieur du fleuve niger

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Baseline Study Chad // Frexus : Étude de Référence Province de Kanem, Tchad

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Baseline Study Niger // Analyse diagnostique de trois évaluations sur l’analyse de conflits, l’étude de référence et l’étude locale des risques climatiques dans la région de Dosso

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Conflict analysis Mali // Frexus : Rapport final - Analyse systémique des conflits au Mali

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Conflict analysis Chad // Frexus : Analyse systémique des conflits Province de Kanem, Tchad

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Conflict analysis Niger // Conflits liés à l’usage, à l’accés et à la répartition des ressources naturelles à Dosso, Niger


Climate risk assessment Mali // Etude d’évaluation des risques liés aux changements climatiques dans les zones d’intervention du projet Frexus au Mali

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Climate risk assessment Chad // Frexus : Étude de Risques Climatiques Province de Kanem, Tchad

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Climate risk assessment Niger // Etude d’Evaluation des Risques liés aux Changements Climatiques dans les Zones d’intervention du Projet FREXUS au Niger

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Final Report on the co-development of analytical tools 2022


Sécurité en Afrique de l’Ouest Investir la filière agricole

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Les Lignes Directrices de l'Approche Frexus: Promouvoir la Sécurité Climatique dans les Contextes Fragiles

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Training Material for security actors (FR only)

Frexus News

Regional Context

Context of natural resource scarcity and conflict

Pressure on natural resources is increasing due to factors such as misuse of natural resources, high population growth, migratory movements, but also Climate Change (CC). These factors reduce the possibilities for sustainable development and increase the risk of conflict. The competitive exploitation of natural resources easily leads to conflicts at all levels of governance: community, local, national, sub-regional and regional. In this current state, these risks are exacerbated by the adverse effects of CC impacts in Sahelian countries in general and in Chad, Mali and Niger in particular. They form a vicious circle (conflicts and insecurity feed on the competitive exploitation of natural resources, which are also affected by the harmful effects of CC).

Policy makers, the media and academics are increasingly interested in the interdependencies between the Nexus water-energy-food sectors, which are particularly crucial in Africa's river basins and which are also considered among the most vulnerable to CC impacts. These and other factors, such as land-use change and increasing urbanisation, will affect water, energy and food security, as well as economic development and ecosystem health. The WORLD ECONOMIC FORUM, warned that the failure to adapt to CCs and water crises in general are the main risks facing the world. Similarly, the security implications of climate change have also been addressed in the 4th Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) as it exacerbates conflict drivers by exacerbating existing fragilities within societies, straining weak institutions, reshaping power relations and jeopardising post-conflict recovery and peacebuilding.

Thus, in the coming years, competition between bulk water supply and agriculture (the largest user of water) will increase, followed by competition for water between agriculture and energy. Competition between water and energy is also expected to intensify. This growing competition and perceptions of insecurity motivate the need for trade-offs and synergies between water, energy and agriculture. The concept of the Water-Energy-Food Security nexus (WEF Nexus) provides a means by which actors can achieve more economically efficient, socially equitable and environmentally sound outcomes for all three sectors.

Global climate change – an environmental conflict multiplier or process for triggering cooperation?

The Sahel region has experienced a deterioration of its security situation over the last decade with a rise in armed conflict, rebel groups and terrorism. Access to natural resources is one of the factors that plays a major role in tensions between communities. In parallel, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has declared the Sahel one of the most vulnerable regions to climate change worldwide. With a rapidly growing population, currently estimated at more than 150 million inhabitants, whose revenues depend mainly on agriculture and livestock, Sahelian countries face growing pressures on water, land and energy resources, exacerbated by climate change and leading to competition and conflict between different user groups. Furthermore, sectorial projects addressing conflict and instability and strengthening climate resilient development sometimes have unintended negative effects, deteriorating the security situation even further. In interdependent and complex constellations reinforced by climate change and other stressors, resources scarcity, competition over resources, conflict and instability mutually reinforce each other and form a vicious cycle.

SMALL shutterstock 703026958 People working in fields near Sangha village Dogon Country Mali West Africa Torsten Pursche
Mali @Torsten Pursche / Shutterstock

We hold the key to a comprehensive response. Let’s unlock the tools to jointly address the nexus between water, peace and security … To make sure that a water-secure world is not a dream, but definitely a possible reality"

— Henk Ovink, Special Envoy for Water Affairs for the Kingdom of the Netherlands
Region Header Grafik Frexus NEU

The inland delta of the Niger River is selected for the implementation of the project in Mali. This area covers an area of 64,000 km2. It is the intermediate part of the river where it divides into several arms before resuming its normal course. It extends from the Djenné circle in the Mopti region to Timbuktu. It is reputed to be the largest wetland in West Africa. The inland delta is considered to be a concentration area for more than two million people and provides up to 15% of the country's cereal products, 80% of its fish production and about 90% of its livestock. The combination of this population and high production puts further pressure on the inland delta, which is already being degraded by the effects of climate change.

Increasingly, the pressures on the delta are embedded in a difficult socio-political context. Violent conflicts are now a daily reality in Mali, particularly in the central regions (Segou and Mopti) and especially in the inner delta. The Government of Mali recognises the links between the management of natural resources, the increase in community conflicts, the intervention of terrorist groups and the emergence of militias.

In order to contain this situation, the Inner Delta is now the focus of several development projects and programmes. These actions are developed by state bodies, international organisations, NGOs, etc.

The Niger Basin encompasses nine West African countries in the catchment area of the Niger River, the third longest river in Africa. The waters of the Niger River and its tributaries originate from the high rainfall of the eastern Guinea Highlands, crossing country lines and forming a boomerang shape as the Niger ‘bends’ in Mali before flowing south into the sea at the Gulf of Guinea in Nigeria. The landscape and climate is diverse, containing mountains, moist forests, savannahs and wetlands and features large ranges in rainfall depending on the season and climatic area.

Why are WEF Nexus solutions needed for peace security in the Sahel region?

The vicious cycle of scarcity, competition, conflict and instability can be turned into a virtuous cycle of resilience, sustainable resources management, cooperation and security. This can be achieved by providing people, communities, countries and regions with means to mitigate current potential negative impacts of resources use by one group or sector on another while considering the impacts of climate change. A cross sectoral and integrated approach in the areas of development and security will create and foster new opportunities ensuring sustainable development and peace in the long term.

A Nexus approach entails considering the totality of the available sources for food, energy and water security and planning holistically how they can most efficiently together serve human and conservation needs. Taking a Nexus approach to resource use and project planning in a basin allows to 1) avoid undesired impacts on other sectors and conflicts between them, and 2) improve efficiency in use of natural resources for human livelihoods ensuring ecosystem conservation. The involvement of the three sectors takes place on an equal footing and the intersectoral discussion of relevant issues and joint development of solutions leads to win-win solutions or (where this is not possible) at least to jointly accepted trade-offs.

It pursues an integrated and NEXUS-based approach that will be applied to counter negative spirals of resource scarcity and conflicts and, instead, establish climate resilient development opportunities. Frexus focuses on local communities and is dedicated towards the inclusion of the security stakeholders and the most vulnerable parts of the population, especially women.

  • Sahel Region

    Mali, Niger and Chad lie in the heart of the Sahel region which is shaped by its two major basins and its ecosystems, the Niger River and the Lake Chad.

  • 60 Million

    60 million people are dependent upon the Niger River and the Lake Chad for drinking water, provide hydropower generation, irrigated agriculture fishing and transportation.

  • Climate Change Vulnerability

    The Sahel region is estimated to be the most vulnerable to climate change worldwide experiencing fluctuating rainfall, floods and droughts.

  • 10 Years

    The past 10 years have seen an increase in violent conflicts within the Sahel region due to resource scarcity and competition

  • 516 Million

    The population in the region is expected to increase almost threefold between 1990 and 2030 to reach 516 million people

  • Population Growth

    Rapid population growth will exacerbate the pressures on all resources


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A deepened understanding of social and environmental factors in fragile areas

Since its start in 2019, the Frexus project has aimed to establish climate resilient development opportunities to help counter negative spirals of resource scarcity and conflicts.

An overview of the project activities and major achievements is presented in the Frexus booklet.

The core achievements of the Frexus project include:

Key Activities 

Towards peace and stability through integrated natural resource management

The purpose of the FREXUS project is to increase peace and stability in areas where resource conflict is exacerbated by climate change. This is made possible by improving the understanding of the interaction of social and environmental factors, including climate change, governance and management of natural resources, and conflict in fragile areas.

The main objectives include:

  • Developing and testing assessment tools and methodology regarding the linkages between resources uses, climate change and conflicts
  • Identifying and implementing activities to counter the challenges found especially in fragile contexts
  • Developing conflict-sensitive and climate-sensitive action plans for an integrated management of land and natural resources.
  • Supporting selected community stakeholders identify and implement action plan measures through inclusive community workshops
  • Empowering stakeholders’ ability to adequately address and mitigate conflicts and the effects of climate change through integrated planning and training
  • Enhancing the awareness of WEF nexus concept at a local, national and regional level

WPS - GIZ collaboration on the Frexus project

The Water, Peace and Security (WPS) partnership is an international collaboration between GIZ, the Netherlands Ministry of Foreign Affairs and a consortium of six partners: Deltares, The Hague Centre for Strategic Studies, IHE Delft, International Alert, Wetlands International and World Resources Institute. The WPS partnership develops innovative tools and services that help local stakeholders identify, understand and address water-related security risks aiming to transform the vicious cycle of water challenges and instability into a virtuous one of sustainable water management and peace. The WPS partnership collaborates with GIZ on the Frexus project by extending the global hotspot identification and early warning tool to capture food and energy security dimensions to help to analyze areas of potential conflicts over water, food and energy resources.

Find more information here.

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