Second Nexus Executive Steering Committee Meeting // Supporting Regions, Countries and Cities

By Isabel Pasternack, Susanne Schmeier and Tina Schmiers. The second Executive Steering Committee Meeting of the Nexus Regional Dialogues Programme took place in Brussels on the 1-2 Mar 2018. The general objective of the meeting was to present the outcomes and impacts of the activities within the different regional dialogues, to discuss challenges and common issues as well as to find entry points and synergies to improve and strengthen cooperation and collaboration among the different regions and partners with view on a potential Phase II.

Key questions included:

  • What does the Nexus approach mean to the different regions?
  • What are success factors and what are challenges?
  • Where is need for improvement and what are open questions?

The meeting gave room to discussions and views from different perspectives: regional organisations, donors, implementers and partners working on similar activities.

“The ultimate goal is not about the Nexus, but about water, energy and food security in the countries.”
Daniela Krahl, BMZ

The Nexus Regional Dialogue Programme started in 2016 and is jointly financed by the European Union and the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ). The overall objective of the programme is to foster the Water-Energy-Food Security (WEF) Nexus approach on local, national, regional and transboundary levels. It aims at promoting dialogue and a stronger cross-sectoral collaboration between the Nexus sectors in decision-making processes. This in turn supports the regions to meet the increasing demand for improved livelihoods in a more sustainable way and without compromising natural ecosystems and the environment. The programme is active in five very different regions:  Central Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean, MENA, Niger Basin and Southern Africa. The implementation of the Nexus approach therefore faces diverse and context-dependent challenges and barriers, reflecting the different needs, circumstances and power relations within the regions.

Chantal Marijnissen, Chair of the Executive Committee (Head of Unit C2 Environment, Natural Resources, Water at EU DEVCO) opened the meeting in Brussels and welcomed the 40 participants. She highlighted the importance of the Nexus approach and the opportunity for learning from each other in the frame of the meeting. Daniela Krahl from the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (Desk officer at Directorate 312) stressed in her opening statement the “taking off” of the Nexus approach for achieving water, energy and food security.

Main discussion points and outcomes highlighted that the Nexus approach serves as an important tool not only for preserving ecosystems and the environment while meeting water, energy and food security, but also for supporting regions, countries and cities in meeting global goals such as the SDGs and the Paris Agreement commitments. This is a great opportunity to communicate the value, benefits and impacts of applying the Nexus approach. This message needs to be promoted more actively throughout the Nexus mainstreaming work. While there is no “one-size-fits-all” solution as the Nexus is very context specific, it was recognised that in many cases both bottom-up (e.g. Urban Nexus on municipality level) and top-down approaches (e.g. Nexus mainstreaming at regional level) are needed for a successful Nexus implementation. The Nexus Regional Dialogues Programme presents a great opportunity to strengthen south-south cooperation between the regions in fields where they face similar challenges. This is crucial in order to establish long-term relationships that last beyond the programme.

Stronger incentives for different sectors to cooperate are needed. Many regions demanded stronger involvement of the private sector as well as local banks and local equity investors. Another discussion point was the request for Nexus indicators and principles that support authorities in the decision of Nexus project investments as well as in the planning of multi-purpose projects such as dams.

The strength of the programme lies in the mutual exchange of experiences and best-practice examples. Therefore, all of the implementing organisations (CARECGIZGWPIUCN) and partner institutions in the regions (ECLACIFASLASNBASADC) showed high interest for south-south cooperation and an increasing exchange of experiences and knowledge. The participants welcomed the meeting as an excellent platform for mutual exchange and learning, presenting very different and at the same time similar experiences and challenges, which led to further follow-up work and ideas for future collaboration.

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