Science Forum 2018 Plenary Session // Grappling with Complex Systems: The Water-Energy-Food Nexus Experience

This document summarises the findings of two background papers that were commissioned to guide the discussions in the "Grappling With Complex Systems: The Water-Energy-Food Nexus Experience" session. The two papers are "The climate-land-energy and water nexus: Implications for agricultural research" and "Water-Energy-Food Nexus and Agriculture Research for Development: The case for integrative modelling via place-based observatories."

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New paradigms regarding agriculture as an integral part of interlinked value chains that promote sustainable growth, food and energy security and waste reduction are emerging. The Water-Energy-Food Nexus embodies several tradeoffs/synergies between food, environment, health/nutrition. The main focus of the session is on ways in which we can reconcile the many interactions in this complex system and use these approaches to improve the way CGIAR research is designed and implemented.

One way of dealing with complex systems is through models. Models are tools: their real usefulness stems not only from their ability to predict the outcome of management interventions, but rather in their power to foresee the likelihood and severity of opportunities and consequences that might arise from a combination of climate, soil, plant, animal and human interactions. The difference between prediction and foresight might appear subtle, yet it is profound: predicting an outcome transfers all power to the person making the prediction (usually a scientist), while foreseeing likelihoods and consequences empowers actors to choose and actively create the desirable future they envision while avoiding undesirable outcomes.


Science Forum 2018 website (open access) 

Background Papers

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Research Papers, Publications and Books

The Global Food-Energy-Water Nexus

By Paolo D'Odorico, Kyle Frankel Davis, Lorenzo Rosa, Joel A. Carr, Davide Chiarelli, Jampel Dell'Angelo, Jessica Gephart, Graham K. MacDonald, David A. Seekell, Samir Suweis, Maria Cristina Rulli. Water availability is a major factor constraining humanity's ability to meet the future food and energy needs of a growing and increasingly affluent human population. Water plays an important role in the production of energy, including renewable energy sources and the extraction of unconventional...

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Nexus Project Bolivia // Working together to develop the water, energy and food security sectors

The contradictory development objectives for water, energy and food security in Bolivia generate conflicts of interest between ministries, and also between authorities and institutions in the provinces and municipalities: each institution wants to support especially its sector, be it water, energy or rural. For this reason, planning is needed that transcends different sectors, such as that sought by governments at the national and local levels.

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Le Barrage de Fomi // Potentiel pour Un Projet d’Intérêt Commun

Par Luca Ferrini & Lucia Benavides. Cet article explique comment le projet de barrage de Fomi, qui a récemment regagné le monumentum, marque une grande opportunité d'intégrer l'approche Nexus dans le processus de planification comme un outil d'aide à la décision. Situé en Haute Guinée, à la tête du bassin du Niger et dans une zone aride affectée par le changement climatique et l'insécurité, la construction du barrage de Fomi poserait à la fois de nombreux risques et défis ainsi que des...

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