event 13 Apr 2018

Nexus and Security // Critical Thinking on the New Security Convergence in Energy, Food, Climate and Water

By Shilpi Srivastava and Lyla Mehta. Not Another Nexus? In recent years, the notion of the nexus has gained immense traction in the domain of natural resource governance. It has captured high interest across academic, policy and popular debates, and has become the defining vocabulary to understand the interlinkages between land, water, food and climate. Driven by the alarmist rhetoric of uncertainty and scarcity, the nexus thinking is often couched in the language of security. This paper focuses on critical perspectives on the securitization of water, land, food, energy and climate change debates and the implications of the nexus for policy making and natural resources management.

Logo steps centre uk

What are the drivers of this nexus re-thinking? Who is driving this debate of the nexus and to what ends? What do these debates tell us about the character of the development ‘industry’ and the political, ideological and institutional logics operating within it? What are the challenges of this nexus formulation, what spaces may open up for addressing issues of equality and justice?

In October 2012, the STEPS Centre and SOAS organised a colloquium that set out to explore and address some of these questions. This paper draws on the critical insights from this meeting and explores some of the fundamental ways to unpack the nexus formulation and address the challenges therein.


STEPS Centre website


November 2014


STEPS Working Paper 75


STEPS Centre

Today’s world is experiencing rapid social, technological and environmental change, yet poverty and inequality are growing. Linking environmental sustainability with poverty reduction and social justice, and making science and technology work for the poor, have become central challenges of our times. The STEPS Centre (Social, Technological and Environmental Pathways to Sustainability) is an interdisciplinary global research and policy engagement hub that unites development studies with science and technology studies. We are developing a new approach to understanding and action on sustainability and development in an era of unprecedented dynamic change. Our pathways approach aims to link new theory with practical solutions that create better livelihoods, health and social justice for poor and marginalised people. The STEPS Centre is based at the Institute of Development Studies and SPRU (Science Policy Research Unit) at the University of Sussex, with partners in Africa, Asia and Latin America. We are funded by the ESRC, the UK’s largest funding agency for research and training relating to social and economic issues.

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