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MENA  |  , News  |  10 Apr 2018

Human Capacity Building // The Major Pillar within the Nexus Regional Dialogues Programme

By Ruth Erlbeck, Ralph Trosse, Nisreen Lahham and Maarit Thiem. Capacity Building has been identified as a major driver for advancing the implementation of the Nexus approach and thinking at national and regional level. Hence, the Nexus Regional Dialogues programme designed and developed a Nexus training specifically tailored to the needs expressed by representatives of sectorial ministries and regional partner organisations.

In cooperation with the Institute for Technology and Resources Management in the Tropics and Subtropics (ITT) at FH Köln - University of Applied Sciences, two training modules have been developed that present hands-on tools and instruments on how to approach these challenges in practice:

  1. Introduction to the Water-Energy-Food (WEF) Security Nexus
  2. WEF Nexus case studies from Europe and Germany

The workshop participants learn about different perspectives, needs, priorities and values of other sectors and their interdependence in an interactive and participatory way. This helps to identify common objectives and entry points for future collaborative work.

The training modules are designed in a way that provides the participants with the opportunity to apply the Nexus thinking to concrete examples within the context of regional and national case studies. The programme has organised a number of trainings since the end of 2017 (for example: The Water-Energy-Food Nexus in the Niger Basin).

The programme teamed up with partner GIZ programmes to run trainings workshops with a specific thematic focus. These trainings were built on curricula the partner programmes have already developed and applied, e.g. a training on Solar Powered Irrigation in collaboration with Powering Agriculture and a Training on the application of Nexus in cities with “Integrated Resource Management in Asian cities: the Urban Nexus Project

More than 40 representatives from 4 municipalities; Monastir (Tunisia), Karak, Sahab (Jordan) and Jdaidet ech Chouf (Lebanon) underwent a two days’ Nexus Training Workshop back to back with the First Annual Meeting of the MINARET Project “The MENA Region Initiative as a Model of Nexus Approach and Renewable Energy Technologies” on 13 February 2018.

Urban Nexus Training

The Nexus Training provided a perfect platform for experience sharing between municipalities and countries of the MENA Region, as well as between different donors and international organisations implementing Nexus initiatives. The training further allowed for exchange between regions such as the Middle East and North Africa represented by UN-ESCWA with 22 Middle East member states and South and South East Asia represented by the GIZ Urban Nexus Project implemented by the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia Pacific (UNESCAP) representing 62-member states in Asia Pacific.

The GIZ project “Integrated Resource Management in Asian cities: the Urban Nexus Project” financed by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) and implemented by UN ESCAP has elaborated an Urban Nexus Training course to promote integrated resource management concentrating on the “Nexus” sectors of energy, water and food security, also embedded in the Global Agendas.

The training consisted of different training modules referring to the Nexus approach as a multi- sectoral and multi-level tool for integrated resource management, linked to the Global Agendas, considering innovative cross sectorial and environmentally friendly technologies (The Nexus Brick, innovative waste water and solid waste management, energy efficiency of buildings), political and legal framework conditions (laws, standards, tariffs/fees), vertical and horizontal integration (clustering), and participatory action including gender (“leave no one behind”) creating resilient cities. Cities have to improve their services by improved sustainable physical infrastructure as well as social infrastructure in order to become inclusive and resilient.

Workshop Results

The workshop was conducted in a very interactive manner consisting of short inputs followed by intensive group work within the four municipalities, respective presentations and discussions. 

The groups worked on specific cross sectoral infrastructure projects to be implemented within their cities throughout the two days concretising and completing these projects according to the inputs given. It is assumed that the concrete projects worked upon would qualify for financing by MINARET or other financiers such as World Bank, KfW and / or the national level within the respective countries. 

The topics of energy efficiency of buildings (air tight building envelop, thermo - technical insulation/retrofitting), and water reuse (producing energy out of black water, reuse of grey water and nutrients for agriculture, PV for energy production) dominated the discussions.

The presentations of the workshop can be downloaded here.

It was agreed upon that the Nexus approach is to be seen and interpreted on the basis of the vision of a circular economy separating energy and mass flow cycles (“closing the loop” on the basis of “take, make, return”). The linear economy, consisting of “take, make, dispose” cannot be the guiding principle any more in times of a growing scarcity of natural resources such as water, energy and land.

Moreover, it was agreed upon that a south-south dialogue between the MENA Region and South and South East Asia is useful in order to learn from each other and share experiences on best practices and on what might go wrong. It is therefore recommended to seek for formats to continue the exchange of know-how on innovative and sustainable solutions for improved infrastructure development and urban services of Municipalities also including the two UN organizations UN-ESCWA and UNESCAP involved.

The next Regional Workshop of the Urban Nexus Project implemented by GIZ in collaboration with UNESCAP as political partner scheduled for November 2018 could be a possible starting point for a more continued south-south dialogue and peer-to-peer learning also including the different GIZ initiatives/projects.

About the Nexus Regional Dialogues Programme Phase I

The Nexus Regional Dialogues Programme Phase I (2016-2018) is jointly funded by the European Union and the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ). The objective of the programme is to foster the water-energy-food security Nexus approach at municipal, national, ministerial and regional policy levels. It aims at promoting dialogue and a stronger cross-sectoral collaboration between the water, energy, agricultural and environmental sectors in decision-making processes. The programme involves five regional Nexus dialogues, which are active in the Niger Basin, Southern Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean, Central Asia (Aral Sea region) and the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region. The regional dialogues involve various stakeholders, including national and regional policy makers, the private sector, academia and civil society in order to support the formulation and adaptation of concrete Nexus policy recommendations and action plans. An additional aim is to foster future investment plans for multi-purpose infrastructure.

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