Claudio Bacigalupi, Head of Water Sector, DG DEVCO (EU) gives welcoming remarks. (c) Maria Ana Rodriguez / GIZ

Nexus Workshop // Water, Energy and Food: EU Delegations trained to apply ‘Nexus Thinking’

The Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH organised in cooperation with the EU International Cooperation and Development (DG DEVCO) a training on the WEF nexus for representatives of EU Delegations in 16 countries.

"Working across sectors is key to successful delivery of Sustainable Development Goals".

The 17 UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are inextricably linked, and so call for effective and efficient solutions. A nexus perspective, which promotes integration across different sectors and reduces the risk of sector-specific actions undermining each other, is thus essential. 

The nexus approach represents  a shift away from a sectoral approach. It challenges existing structures, policies and procedures at global, regional and (sub-) national levels.


Since 2016, EU International Cooperation and Development (DG DEVCO) and the German Federal Ministry of Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) have supported the Water, Energy and Food (WEF) Nexus Regional Dialogue Programme for the benefit of human well-being, poverty reduction and sustainable development.

The programme responds to the challenge for radical proposals to help achieve universal access to food, drinking water and energy. It supports five regional nexus dialogues: in Latin America, Middle East and North Africa, Central Asia, Niger Basin and Southern Africa regions.

The Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH , which coordinates the Global Nexus Secretariat and is the implementing partner in 3 of the 5 regions, organised – in cooperation with DG DEVCO – a training on the WEF nexus for representatives of EU Delegations in 16 countries. The event was held on the 5th and 6th of November 2019 in Brussels. The aim was to inform delegation staff about the nexus approach for their future programming exercise.


The training event introduced participants to the WEF nexus and provided an opportunity to apply ‘nexus thinking’ using interactive exercises. Participants engaged with different perspectives, needs, priorities and values of the water, energy and food sectors and identified their interconnections in a collaborative and participatory way. They applied nexus thinking to concrete examples in a regional case study.

Issues examined included:

  • Understanding the synergies and regulated negotiation of fair trade-offs between competing uses of water, land and energy related resources.
  • Promoting the integration of goals across sectors and reducing the risk of sector-specific policymaking.
  • The benefits of embracing a cross-sectoral, coherent and integrated perspective.

Participants reflected on the importance of negotiation, power balances and the benefit of finding a compromise between different sectors.

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