On 12 -13 December 2022, the Seventh Meeting of the UNECE Task Force on the Water-Food-Energy Ecosystems Nexus took place in a hybrid format at the Palais des Nations, Geneva. Gathering experts from governmental authorities, the private sector and non-governmental as well as international organisations and other interested stakeholders, the meeting aimed to discuss and plan the implementation of activities on the Nexus under the framework of the Water Convention for 2022-2024.
The Task Force meeting was centred around the following three main topics:
- The application of the Water Convention’s and similar approaches to transboundary nexus assessments and dialogues around the world.
- The role of transboundary cooperation as a key to identify and implement nexus solutions and investments which in turn benefit both water management and cooperation.
- Opportunities in water-energy cooperation in transboundary basins to advance the Agenda 2030 for Sustainable Development.
Experiences with the use of Nexus tools
The Nexus Regional Dialogues Programme presented the Nexus Resource Platform as an international knowledge hub for the WEF Nexus community of practice. It is in this context that it hosts links to various Nexus application tools such as the Transboundary Nexus Assessment Methodology (TBNA) that was developed under the guidance of the UNECE WEF Nexus Task Force. It also enables access to a comprehensive WEF Nexus Training Material (consisting of different modules and including presentation slides, speaking points and a trainer’s handbook). The centralisation and easy access to different tools and methods is important to avoid overlaps and inspire a wide application of an integrated approach to natural resources management the worldwide.
For an overview of the main points of discussions, please refer to this document provided by UNECE.
Operationalising Nexus solutions through transboundary cooperation
Under item 4, a wide range of presenters illustrated different approaches to give a picture of how nexus solutions can be advanced at transboundary level, among them representatives from the Senegal River Basin Development Organization (OMVS), the Secretariat of the International Fund for Saving the Aral Sea (EC IFAS), the International Sava River Basin Commission (ISRBC), El Salvador and the Global Environment Facility (GEF).
As an example of bringing the approach to life, Mr. Walter Bamidele Olatunji, Hydrologist at the Niger Basin Authority, presented the institutionalisation of the WEFE-Nexus in the Niger Basin. Just 4 days earlier, the Council of Ministers of the NBA has officially approved guidelines on the implementation of the Water-Energy-Food Security-Environment Nexus. Here again, the decision-making process was based on different Nexus tools, including the UNECE Transboundary Nexus Assessment Methodology (TBNA). The successful adoption of such Nexus Guidelines is the first of akin for a transboundary organisation and it shows how transboundary and intersectoral cooperation in the field of water, energy and food security can be aligned.
About the Task Force on the Water-Food-Energy-Ecosystems Nexus (TFWFEEN)
The TFWFEEN was established under the framework of the convention of the Protection and Use of Transboundary Watercourses and International Lakes (Water Convention) of the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE).
The Water Convention enhanced promotion of cross-sectoral cooperation in transboundary basins since 2013, when the Meeting of the Parties decided to include the theme of water-food-energy-ecosystems nexus in the Convention’s Programme of Work. Since then, a Transboundary Nexus Assessment Methodology (TBNA) was developed to assess cross-sectoral issues and elaborate possible cooperative solutions, and it was implemented in six transboundary river basins and one shared aquifer. This work was carried out with the guidance of the Task Force on the Water Food Energy Ecosystems Nexus, a global platform open to Parties and non-Parties that involved over time hundreds of country and civil society representatives, experts, and practitioners.
Responding to the need of countries to discuss how trade-offs and synergies can be addressed concretely, the Water Convention supported in 2020-2021 a global stocktaking of “nexus solutions and investments”, and in the new Programme of Work (2022-2024) focused the nexus work area entirely on the “operationalization” of nexus solutions and investments
This paragraph was published first on the UNECE Water and Climate Task Force website.
Please find more information, the agenda and documentation material of the Seventh meeting of the TFWFEEN here.
- Nexus Regional Dialogues Programme // New Water-Energy-Food (WEF) Nexus Training Material
- The Nexus Regional Dialogue in the Niger Basin
- Nexus Regional Dialogue Niger Basin // The Niger Basin Authority adopts its first transboundary guidelines on Water-Energy-Food-Environment Nexus
- Synthesis Report // Solutions and investments in the water-food-energy-ecosystems nexus: A synthesis of experiences in transboundary basins