A lot of tension between players stemmed from the interdependencies between the two countries. The upstream one had the privilege of controlling the headwaters and deciding on how much water would flow downstream. Also, it was favored by the NGO’s role, who claimed that "most problems need to be solved upstream." His position was strongly criticized by the downstream players, as they claimed that they have to bear the unexpected effects of their neighbors’ decisions (such as e.g. water scarcity or pollution).
As one of the players suggested, the stormy discussion over the perceived “unfairness” not only revealed the major conflict between African riparian countries but also made it evident that “policy-makers often don’t think about how their decisions impact their neighbors, especially downstream of a shared watercourse.”
The need to balance water use and determine efficient allocations (also for food and energy) was another issue. The session reminded players that progress comes at a cost and while they may do their best to ensure their nations’ prosperity, increased food or energy production leads to pollution, which in turn, negatively affects wetland ecosystems and freshwater availability.
Most importantly, the Nexus Game revealed that policy-making is much messier than one might think. Faced by time pressure, incomplete knowledge or personal bias, players often make irrational decisions and have to cope with their negative impacts.
All in all, Nexus Game offered a lively, transforming experience and made players understand that cooperation is the only way to ensure us a safe future.
“The simulation helps understand the benefits of collaboration, both inter-sectoral and transboundary. It also highlights the need for joint planning and mobilization of funds to address the challenges faced by affected countries,"
said one of the players.
Nexus Game is just one of the many social simulations developed by CRS, click here for the game catalogue. Each of them is different, including both board-games and computer simulations, but bound by the common mission - to raise awareness. Whether it is awareness of the SDGs, of climate change, of a need for energy transition or community resilience. The goal of these games is also to help us jointly address the big global challenges we are dealing with today.
- Aleksandra Solinska-Nowak (firstname.lastname@example.org) or Piotr Magnuszewski (email@example.com)
- visit the project website.
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