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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Modelling and Assessment

Nexus Modelling // Towards Ranking the Water–Energy–Food–Land Use–Climate Nexus Interlinkages for Building a Nexus Conceptual Model with a Heuristic Algorithm

By Chrysi S. Laspidou, Nikolaos Mellios and Dimitris Kofinas. In this article, a practical heuristic approach for gaining a systemic and contextual perspective on nexus component interlinkages is presented, by building on a simple three-point typology of interactions. The approach is simple and can be applied in any case study a nexus analysis is pursued, regardless of data availability.

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Nexus Blog

Un Nexus pour les Organismes de Bassin au Sahel // Comparaison multisectorielle : OMVS - CBLT - ABN

Par Luca Ferrini (Représentant Dialogues Mondiaux NEXUS (Eau-Energie-Sécurité Alimentaire) dans le Bassin du Niger) et Lucia Benavides. Cet article fournit une analyse comparative du niveau d'intégration des différents secteurs dans les missions de trois organismes de bassin du Sahel : l'Autorité de Développement du Bassin du fleuve Sénégal (OMVS), la Commission du Bassin du Lac Tchad (CBLT) et l'Autorité du bassin du Niger (ABN). Il met en outre l'accent sur différents domaines d'intervention...

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Nexus Blog

A Nexus for Basin Organisations in the Sahel // Multisectoral comparison: OMVS - LCBC - NBA

By Luca Ferrini (Project Manager, Nexus Regional Dialogue Programme Niger Basin) and Lucia Benavides. This article provides a comparative analysis about the level of integration of different sectors within the mission statements of three River Basin Organisations in the Sahel: the Senegal River Basin Development Authority (OMVS by its French acronym), the Lake Chad Basin Commission (LCBC) and the Niger Basin Authority (NBA). It further stresses different focus areas of the mission statements,...

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