event 26 Jun 2017

Working Paper // Making governance work for water-energy-food nexus approaches

This CDKN working paper by Andrew Scott of the Overseas Development Institute explores the effectiveness of governing for the “water-energy-food nexus”. The author looks at approaches that understand the links between sectors, recognise these in decision-making and promote integrated policy-making.

category Policy Papers
Cover cdkn water energy food nexus june 2017
The concept of the water–energy–food (WEF) nexus has become widely used to help understand interdependencies among the three systems, and how they can be managed sustainably to meet growing demand. The water–energy–food nexus has especially been advocated to address conflicts among the sectors. However, governance in the water–energy–food nexus has not received much attention in the literature, particularly the institutions and politics governing the water–energy–food sectors. This paper synthesises findings from CDKN-supported action research in this area. The paper draws from findings in Indonesia, Kenya and the Amazon Basin to show that the effectiveness of the horizontal (cross-sectoral) and vertical (between levels of government) coordination that is essential for a nexus approach is determined by institutional relationships, which can be influenced by political economy factors. The capacity of governing organisations to understand nexus links and to collaborate with each other is also critical. The paper suggests that aiming for the ideal of comprehensiveness and integration in a nexus approach may be costly and impractical. Nevertheless, horizontal and vertical coordination are essential. Local-level decision-making will determine how trade-offs and synergies in the water–energy–food nexus are implemented. The capacities of local government organisations and decision-makers need to be strengthened to enhance their capacity to adopt nexus approaches and coordinate vertically.

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Published

June 2017

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The Climate and Development Knowledge Network CDKN The Climate and Development Knowledge Network supports decision-makers in designing and delivering climate compatible development. We do this by combining research, advisory services and knowledge management in support of locally owned and managed policy processes. We work in partnership with decision-makers in the public, private and non-governmental sectors nationally, regionally and globally. We hold strongly to the ideals of human development and environmental sustainability.
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