Many rural mountain communities in developing countries face major difficulties in meeting basic needs for water, clean energy and healthy food, not to mention strengthening economically and socially. Local and global changes – such as population growth, climate change and overuse of natural resources – shape and sometimes constrain these communities’ water, energy and food security. Increasing resource demands from nearby urban and lowland areas compoundthe challenges.
How can rural mountain communities improve their water, energy and food security in contexts of growing resource pressure, competitionand uncertainty? Does a water–energy–food (WEF) nexus approach offer a way to identify forward-looking options and policies to strengthen their livelihoods and resilience? Indeed, a WEF nexus assessment can be beneficial when conducted in a participatory process that effectively engagesand empowers mountain communities with a view to fostering equal access to water, energy and food, and enhancing the diversity and depth of mountain communities’ livelihood options.
The suggested participatory process aids stakeholders in assessing the status and trends of WEF systems in mountains, in identifying governance and technical options and in negotiating alternative scenarios. It promotes sharing of relevant knowledge and addressing diverging interests and power relations. It helps to build stakeholders’ capacity to implement cross-sectoral strategies and policies effectively, thus facilitating transformative change towards increased water, energy and food security in mountains.
Issue Brief on Sustainable Mountain Development 2019. Bern, Switzerland: Centre for Development and Environment (CDE)); funded by the Austrian Develoment Agency