event 08 Dec 2020

Nexus Blog // Outcomes of the virtual seminar: Opportunities for the adoption of the Water, Energy and Food Nexus approach in South America

ECLAC's Natural Resources Division, in collaboration with GIZ, held a virtual seminar on November 18 oriented to policy makers and decision makers from South American countries to discuss their national needs in adopting the Water, Energy and Food Nexus approach in the design of policies, plans, programs and projects.

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On November 18, ECLAC in collaboration with GIZ held the Virtual Seminar "Opportunities for the adoption of the Water, Energy and Food Nexus approach in South America", this event was attended by 50 participants representing 8 countries of the South American subregion, who had the opportunity to learn about and discuss Nexus experiences in the subregion and to debate about the potential of applying this approach in their countries.

Jeanette Sánchez, Director of the Natural Resources Division of ECLAC, welcomed the participants, highlighting the importance of promoting the Nexus approach as well as considering the water, energy and food interrelationships, under the subregion peculiarities. Meanwhile, Antonio Levy, GIZ regional coordinator of the Nexus for Latin America and the Caribbean, provided the context of the Nexus program at a global scale and the work developed so far in the region. Next, Silvia Saravia, from the Natural Resources Division of ECLAC, described the objectives of the session, highlighting the deep interest of ECLAC in knowing the needs and concerns of the countries regarding the application of the Nexus approach, as well as future collaboration opportunities.

The seminar was structured in two main sections. In the first section, the interventions of the following experts took place: 1) Bárbara Willaarts, official consultant of the Natural Resources Division of ECLAC, 2) Diogo Víctor Santos, supervisor of the Vulnerability and Adaptation component in the scope of the Fourth National Communication of Brazil to the Convention of the climate (4CN) in the Ministry of Science, Technology in Innovation of Brazil, and finally 3) Sebastián Espinoza, Director of Information Management, of the Institute of Geological and Energy Research (IIGE) of Ecuador.

Bárbara Willaarts presented the practical tool developed by ECLAC and GIZ "Methodological Guidelines: design of actions with a water-energy-food Nexus approach for Latin American and Caribbean countries". These guidelines aims to help the countries of Latin America and the Caribbean to develop policies in the Nexus sectors (water, energy and food) to make them more coherent, effective, efficient and relevant.

Diogo Víctor Santos presented the experiences of the 4CN project in the study of vulnerability assessment and adaptation measures, and the “Adapta Brasil” platform, which is related to the information system and risk analysis of climate change impacts and has indicators of the strategic sectors of water, energy, food and environment.

Sebastián Espinoza presented the research work on different Nexus actions carried out by the IIGE in the last years: geothermal energy supply for greenhouses, grain drying with renewable energies and biomass production. Sebastián highlighted the importance of improve the energy efficiency for agricultural production and finally commented about IIGE experience and the creation of inter-institutional links and the new opportunities that Ecuador offers under this integrative approach.

The second section consisted of an open discussion round led by Marina Gil and Elisa Blanco, from ECLAC's Natural Resources Division, who asked attendees what were the main opportunities to adopt the Nexus approach in their countries, as well as the main barriers to do it. In this space, there were several interventions. In the first place, Alfredo Vaneskahian, representative of the Uruguayan public investment system, commented on the need for a guide to assess the social and environmental impact of projects that affect actors from different sectors. Likewise, Melissa Salbatier from the National Water Agency of Peru, talked about the need to have intersectoral indicators to guide decision-making. Meanwhile, William Llactayo, from the Ministry of the Environment of Peru, expressed the interest shown by his organization in working with the Nexus approach, thus being able to integrate actions that had been addressed mainly in a sectoral manner. Finally, Dorian Alberto shared the experience of the National Planning Department of Colombia, which has carried out about 276 evaluations of public policies, 15 of them related to environment. These assessments can be found on the National Planning Development website.

To conclude, Silvia Saravia closed the session highlighting that requests for technical assistance can be accepted within the framework of the second phase of the Nexus Program between ECLAC and GIZ, which will begin in early 2021 and will last for three years. In this way, it is intended to provide greater practical support to the region’s countries for the adoption of the Nexus approach in the developed of their future plans, policies or projects.

This article was originally published on ECLAC's website here

(Spanish) Nexus Blog // Seminario virtual: Oportunidades para la adopción del enfoque del Nexo Agua, Energía y Alimentación en América del Sur

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