The Nexus Platform is enabled by
The Nexus Platform is enabled by
Bonn2011 has provided a first platform for consideration of the close interlinkages of water, energy and food security and the benefits of a nexus perspective in a multi-stakeholder process. The specific message from Bonn2011 have now been sent to the UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.
Concerns about limited access to water, sanitation, energy and food — often primarily a consequence of inappropriate governance structures and poor management - and thus inequalities in distribution — are compounded by growing concerns about their future availability and sustainability:
Adding two more billion people to an increasingly urbanized and wealthy planet will put significant additional pressure on energy, water and food demands with growing trade-offs among these three development goals; and will accelerate ecosystem degradation. Water, energy, and food sectors are interconnected in important ways, and actions in one sector may either help or harm the other two. Disconnected approaches and silo thinking are more likely to make matters worse.
Action is urgent. If we continue with business as usual we will have — in less than two decades — globally 40% less freshwater resources available than we need for ensuring water, energy, and food security for all and a global development beyond poverty alleviation. Realizing long-term water, energy and food security for all is possible within planetary boundaries. Business as usual cannot achieve this — a transformation is necessary and new opportunities must be identified. We must move towards a nexus perspective:
A nexus perspective increases the understanding of the interdependencies across water, energy, food and other policies such as climate and biodiversity. The nexus perspective thus helps to move beyond silos and ivory towers that preclude interdisciplinary solutions. It opens the eyes for mutually beneficial responses and the potential of cooperation. We need to think and act interlinked to realize direct and indirect synergy potentials.
Understanding the nexus is needed to develop policies, strategies and investments to exploit synergies and mitigate tradeoffs among these three development goals with active participation of and among government agencies, the private sector and civil society. In this way, unintended consequences can be avoided.
In sum, the nexus perspective provides an informed and transparent framework for determining and resolving trade-offs to meet increasing demand without compromising sustainability. It is thus important to incorporate the nexus perspective in Rio + 20 as well as in local, national and other international planning activities focusing on either water, food, or energy.
Applying a nexus approach is an urgent must to identify the policy levers to implement a common future agenda and to create new opportunities for achieving water, energy and food security while reducing tensions between sectoral objectives. Realizing these opportunities requires action for change in key fields:
by ensuring that synergies and trade-offs among water, energy and food are identified both in design and implementation of policies, plans and investments. And by incentivizing co-operation and coordination for mutually beneficial approaches, multiple benefits and fewer unintended or adverse consequences.
by progressively realizing — in a more coordinated way — the human rights obligations related to water, sanitation, energy and food to reap the resulting health, productivity and development benefits. And by prioritizing access for the poor and the marginalized in sector strategies, planning and investments.
by increasing resource productivity, establishing mechanisms to identify the optimal allocation of scarce resources for productive purposes, and sustainably intensifying the use of land and water to achieve equitable social, economic and environmentally sound development.
End waste and minimize losses by reducing waste and losses along supply chains to capture significant economic and environmental gains within and across sectors and reduce demands on water, land and energy. And by changing mindsets and incentivizing technological development to turn waste into a resource and manage it for multiple uses.
by investing to secure, improve and restore the considerable multi-functional value of biodiversity and ecosystems to provide food and energy, conserve water, sustain livelihoods and contribute to a green economy while strengthening the basic role that nature plays in supporting life, well-being and cultures.
by acknowledging and actively utilizing the catalyzing role that individuals have in choosing consumption patterns on water, energy and other resource footprints and improving efficiency of resource use both through their direct actions and in influencing the way business is done.
Implementing a nexus approach must be guided by overarching principles, namely:
While the opportunities of the nexus perspective and their social, environmental and economic benefits are real, implementation requires the right policies, incentives and encouragement, institutions up to the task, leadership as well as empowerment, research, information and education. Accelerating the involvement of the private sector through making the business case for sustainability and the nexus is essential for driving change and getting to scale. In any case, a true nexus approach can only be achieved through close collaboration of all actors from all sectors.
Bonn2011 has provided a first platform for consideration of the close interlinkages of water, energy and food security and the benefits of a nexus perspective in a multi-stakeholder process. The specific message from Bonn2011 is clear: outcomes of Rio + 20 in June 2012 should adequately take into account and address the interdependencies between water, energy and food and act upon the challenge to make the nexus work for the poor and for all of us. The nexus approach is very much at the heart of the overall challenge of transforming our economies to green economies by changing growth patterns to become more sustainable.
Making this happen will require to identify the forces that are driving the adoption of a nexus approach and to build alliances with them; this includes supporting leaders and champions at every level to take ownership and to develop the business case for integrated and sustainable solutions.
Considering any change of approach is a particular challenge in today's economic climate. Yet the consequences of inaction will progressively limit our ability to deliver on our commitments and result in increasingly severe consequences for people's welfare, economic growth, jobs, and the environment. The costs of inaction are too high. We need to act now.
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