event 09 Dec 2016

Drylands // The Water-Energy-Food Nexus in Arid Regions: The Politics of Problemsheds

By Martin Keulertz, Jeannie Sowers, Eckart Woertz and Rabi Mohtar. This article analyses institutional “problemsheds” that shape the implementation of nexus initiatives in arid regions of the United States, the Persian/Arabian Gulf, and China. The analysis reveals how nexus approaches are conditioned by property rights regimes, economic growth strategies based on resource extraction, and the ability to externalize environmental costs to other regions and states.

category Research Papers, Publications and Books globe MENA
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(C) flickr / CIFOR

Systems of producing, consuming, and distributing water, energy, and food involve trade-offs that are rarely explicitly considered by firms and policymakers. The idea of the water-energy-food “nexus” represents an attempt to formalize these trade-offs into decision-making processes. Multinational food and beverage firms operating in arid regions were early promoters of nexus approaches, followed by aid donors, consultancies, and international institutions seeking a new paradigm for resource management and development planning. The first generation of nexus research focused on quantitative input-output modeling to empirically demonstrate interdependencies and options for optimizing resource management. This chapter employs a different approach.


Oxford Handbooks online website


December 2016


The Oxford Handbook of Water Politics and Policy
Edited by Ken Conca and Erika Weinthal


Tina Schmiers


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