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Research Papers, Publications and Books

Expertism // The Confederacy of Experts: The Crushing Nexus of Silos, Systems, Arrogance and Irrational Certainty

By Gary Lawrence. The problems of our time, belief in the value of specialization over generalization and the history of educational praxis inspire people to become ever more “expert” in their chosen field – to delve deeper into technical understanding, to focus more narrowly on one specific application, to create niches within already specialized niches. Our expertise in the fields of water, energy and agriculture is growing more sophisticated every day. We can analyze, predict, model and innovate at an almost molecular level in each field. What we are not good at is the big picture.


Gary Lawrence was Vice President and Chief Sustainability Officer for AECOM Technology Corporation, a $20-billion global provider of professional technical and management support services. Gary leads AECOM’s sustainability efforts by managing its extensive resources and skills in sustainability for projects across the enterprise. In addition he is a Senior Fellow at the Design Futures Council, a Senior Fellow at the EastWest Institute for Water, Food, Energy, Security Nexus programme, and he is on a number of advisory boards related to sustainability and resilience.




The Water, Food, Energy and Climate Nexus: Challenges and an agenda for action. Edited by Felix Dodds and Jamie Bartram. London, New York 2016, pp. 117-124

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Peace and conflict

Project // Improving Security and Climate Resilience in a fragile Context through the Water-Energy and Food Security Nexus (Frexus)

The Frexus project fosters cross-sectoral and integrated approaches in resource management, within local communities in Mali, Niger and Chad that are faced with the consequences of resource scarcity and climate change. The vicious cycle of resource scarcity, competition, conflict and instability currently challenging many communities, can be turned into a virtuous cycle of resilience, sustainable resources management, cooperation and security. Frexus (Nexus in Fragile contexts) aims at providing...

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Pocket Flyer // Water, Energy and Food for All A Nexus Approach

The 2017 BMZ Water Strategy, with its six intersectoral strategies, is a binding basis for German Development Cooperation and integrates cross-sectoral thinking for economically sustainable, integrated and climatefriendly development. The Water, Agriculture and Energy Nexus is one of six intersectoral strategies, highlighting the need to achieve water, energy and food security for well-being.

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Publication // What-If: An Open-Source Decision Support Tool for Water Infrastructure Investment Planning within the Water–Energy–Food–Climate Nexus

By Raphaël Payet-Burin, Mikkel Kromann, Silvio Pereira-Cardenal, Kenneth Marc Strzepek and Peter Bauer-Gottwein. This paper presents a new open-source hydro-economic optimization model, incorporating in a holistic framework, representations of the water, agriculture, and power systems. The model represents the joint development of Nexus related infrastructure and policies and evaluates their economic impact, as well as the risks linked to uncertainties in future climate and socio-economic...

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