Tools and Databases

UN ESCWA // Water-Energy Nexus Operational Toolkit: Regional Policy Toolkit for the Arab Region

The water and energy nexus regional policy toolkit was prepared as part of the United Nations Development Account (UNDA) project on developing the capacity of ESCWA Member Countries to address the water and energy nexus for achieving Sustainable Development Goals. This project aims to build the capacity of ministries and public service providers in the Arab region to examine and address the water and energy nexus in an integrated manner.

The 2030 Agenda includes 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and 169 targets, which are universal, people-centred and seek to realize the human rights of all and to achieve gender quality and the empowerment of all women and girls. They are integrated and indivisible and balance the three dimensions of sustainable development: the economic, social and environmental. The agenda calls for a new approach based on integrated solutions that are sustainable and inclusive.

This desired and bold approach is well supported by the water-energy-food security nexus. This examines the links between the three sectors, looking to improve the holistic management of natural resources and associated ecosystems by applying a human rights-based perspective and taking into account climate change impacts. The nexus highlights the interdependencies between the water, energy and food sectors, and the need to pursue an integrated management framework across the three sectors.

The water-energy-food security nexus framework is particularly suited to the Arab region given the stressors, constraints and strong interdependencies between sectors. It is further necessitated by the cross-sectoral effect of climate change predicted for the region. The understanding of the dynamics of the water and energy sectors it offers is essential for developing effective strategies for the sustainable use of these resources.

The United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA), as part of efforts to help member countries achieve an integrated approach to the SDGs, is implementing a project to develop their capacity to examine and address the water and energy nexus.

This is being pursued through two parallel and complementary tracks. The first targets high-level officials in ministries for water and energy who will be trained on how to incorporate the nexus in policies and strategies at national and regional levels through a regional policy toolkit. This is comprised of seven modules – of which this is the first – based on priorities identified by an intergovernmental consultative meeting in 2012. The seven priorities were subsequently endorsed by the ESCWA Committee on Water Resources, and the Committee on Energy. They cover the following topics, which are addressed in the toolkit:

  • Knowledge and Awareness Raising
  • Increasing Policy Coherence
  • Examining the Water-Energy Security Nexus
  • Increasing Efficiency
  • Informing Technology Choices
  • Promoting Renewable Energy
  • Addressing Climate Change and Natural Disasters





United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (UN ESCWA)

Further reading

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WEFE Nexus Publication // European Commission Position Paper on the WEFE Nexus and the SDGs

The Joint Research Centre (JRC) and European Commission's Directorate-General for International Cooperation and Development (DG DEVCO) have recently launched a Position Paper on the Water, Energy, Food and Ecosystems (WEFE) Nexus and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Highlighting the key outcomes of exchanges with experts held in 2018, the Paper aims to launch a dialogue on how to operationalise the WEFE Nexus.

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Solar-powered Irrigation Systems (SPIS)

JRC Technical Report // Water-Energy-Food Nexus Interactions Assessment: Renewable Energy Sources to support Water Access and Quality in West Africa

By Kougias I., Szabó S., Scarlat N., Monforti F., Banja M., Bódis K., Moner-Girona M. Mitigating the big challenges of access to clean water, energy and poverty in Africa requires integrated solutions. The analysis of issues related to the water, energy, food and the ecosystem through a nexus approach, has attracted the interest of scientists, policy-makers and the private sector. The present Technical Report examines the potential of such an approach to create beneficial synergies between the...

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Modelling and Assessment

Holistic Water-Energy-Food Nexus for Guiding Water Resources Planning // Matagorda County, Texas Case

By Muhammed I. Kulat, Rabi H. Mohtar and Francisco Olivera. The authors developed a holistic framework to provide sustainable scenarios that include feasible infrastructure interventions. The framework focuses on water and associated links with other resources, includes a unique analytic tool for quantifying scenarios, and ultimately produces a sustainability analysis of each scenario. Optimal scenarios are offered that consider site-specific dynamic resource interlinkages. The WEF nexus model...

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