The Water-Energy-Food (WEF) Nexus has emerged over the past decade to build understanding around interlinked resources as a tool for achieving sustainable development. Various frameworks developed to implement nexus thinking however, do not always consider both access and availability of resources in a security perspective. Moreover, indices that calculate WEF measures on a national scale may not adequately describe regional variation within a country. To further understanding of these coupled natural resources and tools for development, this paper presents an approach to quantify WEF security and highlights cases in Ecuador, Peru, and Bolivia where national statistics leave out important regional variation. The outcome is an integrated approach to quantify security measures that can be implemented at multiple spatial scales and institutional levels. This approach can not only provide insight into FEW security in Ecuador, Peru, and Bolivia but can also be an effective tool for assessing multiple development priorities simultaneously throughout the world.
To sustain a reliable and secure future in food, energy, and water resources that is environmentally sound and supports economic growth and development, interconnections and interdependencies among these three resources need to be more clearly understood. In addition to interconnections, climate change will influence the provisioning of all three resources. Increasing population also compounds natural resource availability and ecosystem functioning. Due to these complex, connecting stressors, the nexus of water, food, and energy has emerged as a field that studies the interconnection between limited resources to ensure their sustainable usage. By understanding both how to quantify water, food, and energy security and how these systems are intertwined, we can generate ideas on how to implement integrative approaches to sustainably manage our natural resources. To further understanding of these coupled natural resources, the goals of this paper are to:
1) showcase how current approaches to quantifying WEF security national statistics leave out important regional variation, which could, in the future
2) help enhance sustainable development efforts worldwide. The outcome of this work provides an easily implementable framework without necessity of specialized computing equipment or complex mathematics making it well suited for implementation by a wide variety of development actors.
To analyze the WEF security at regional levels, we quantified the FEW security by enhancing an existing integrated WEF security index to ensure transferability, reproducibility, and accuracy. In this paper, Food-Energy-Water Security Index (FEWI) is formulated for evaluating the WEF Nexus conditions in the South American countries of Ecuador, Peru, and, Bolivia at their corresponding administrative-area levels (provinces, regions, and departments, respectively). The framework used for this evaluation is based on the work presented by (Willis et al., 2016) which is going to be referred in this paper as the RAND Pardee approach. First, we outline a detailed description of our study area, then Section 2.2 describes the existing RAND Pardee approach, and finally we describe our approach and how this approach strengthens the transferability, reproducibility, and accuracy of previous work for an integrated FEW security index.
The method proposed in this paper to quantify food, energy, and water security provides a new and practical approach for the enhancement of global development; in particular, it proposes a more holistic view to implement the SDGs in partnership with more than one development goal at a time. With this perspective, the analysis of resource security can be improved to include aspects of both access and availability for national and regional FEW security.
- The first part of the analysis further highlighted previous calls to understand regional variation behind national statistics to ensure development agents do not leave populations behind when national statistics represent a better picture than many people living throughout the country.
- Then, the approach suggests that geographical representation of these statistics can allow for targeting multiple security priority at a time. We propose to use selected proxies/indicators based mainly on previous literature and available data allowing reproducible science to continue to influence development practice.
- Bringing together food, energy, and water security also has the potential to allow development actors to prioritize regions for improvement on multiple goals at the same time.
© The authors.