The Urban Nexus workshop in Monastir, Tunesia was held from 14-15 February 2018.
1. Introducing the Urban Nexus
The first chapter discussed the importance of taking an integrated approach to urban planning and resources management to cope with the rapid pace of urbanization. In light of changing consumption patterns leading to pressure on limited resources, des-integrated silo planning is no longer feasible. In particular, the integrated management of critical (natural) resources, such as food, water, energy, solid waste and land is key to addressing the resources challenges of the 21st century.
2. Policies and framework conditions for resource efficient usage of natural resources
An integral part of the Nexus approach is a more efficient and effective use of the limited resources available to the growing population in urban areas. This session focuses on specific policy instruments and enabling conditions (e.g. tariffs, procurement standards etc.) to achieve more resource-efficiency in the use of natural resources. The discussion focuses on how policy instruments and enabling conditions can be applied at what level of government (or by the private sector).
3. Innovative engineering solutions for key Nexus sectors
The session on Innovative Engineering Solutions for Key Nexus Sectors introduces the general concept of “closing the loop” and, more specifically, the concept of a “circular economy”. By introducing these concepts the focus is on how “loops can be closed” across the Food-Water-Energy-Land use Nexus in an urban context. The presentation will highlight how a circular economy approach to wastewater management, housing and solid waste management can contribute to increased efficiency in using water, energy, and land resources – while at the same time bringing environmental, human health and economic benefits as compared to linear approaches.
4. The Urban Nexus as a guiding tool to comply with global agendas
Current urbanization and resource-intensive growth patterns pose a number of challenges to urban sustainability. Consuming over two-thirds of the world’s energy and accounting for more than 70% of global CO2 emissions cities are part of the climate change problem. At the same time, cities also have the opportunity to be integral to its solution. For instance, “many cities have set more ambitious climate change mitigation targets than required by national law, or have found “innovative modes of cooperation” between cities where international cooperation is caught in gridlock”.
5. Strengthening horizontal and vertical governance structures
The session on strengthening horizontal and vertical governance processes focuses on three aspects: First, it aims to outline the relevance of governance structures for successfully addressing Nexus issues. Second, it illustrates possible instruments and processes to foster coordination and collaboration across sectors, administrative boundaries and between different levels of government. And third, with the help of a moderated role play, the session raises awareness among participants on the different and partially conflicting perspectives and roles of national, provincial and municipal government institutions in the implementation of an Urban Nexus project.
6. Inclusive and participatory planning including gender
The session on inclusive and participatory planning discusses the role that participatory planning plays for sustainable urban development. It elaborates on the concept of inclusive cities and the relevance of participatory planning as an important tool for insuring the inclusivity of Urban Nexus projects.