event 25 мар. 2021

Publication // Engaging stakeholders in water-energy-food-environment systems assessment and planning: A FutureDAMS guide

By Barnaby Dye, David Hulme and the FutureDAMS Consortium. This guide proposes a series of steps and principles for conducting stakeholder engagement in decision around water–energy–food–environment (WEFE) interventions, whether building or repurposing new infrastructures or implementing policies. It outlines a 5-step process that can be run alongside multi-criteria assessment and design of natural-human systems like river basins.

category Research Papers, Publications and Books tag Ecosystems tag Nexus methodology tag Governance (of the Nexus)
Engaging stakeholders in WEFE systems assessment and planning Future DAMS

Executive Summary

Engaging stakeholders in water-energy-food-environment systems assessment and planning‘ is a guide to considering development options with a broad range of stakeholders. Central to the approach is the belief that the best outcomes for meeting meet water, energy, food and environment needs will be achieved through participatory stakeholder engagement. The guide proposes a 5-step process for producing recommendations about WEFE infrastructure, informed by the FutureDAMS modelling and assessment tools and the collective knowledge, experience and perspectives those with a stake in river-basin planning. It outlines best practice in stakeholder processes and the pitfalls to avoid.

We believe the guide’s 5 step process has the potential to create the most rigorous assessment of WEFE infrastructure, produce recommendations which have the widest societal support and identify how to maximise benefits whilst minimising negative impacts.

The guide essentially advocates a political process of bringing stakeholders together who have different interests and may disagree about what the priorities should be, and what development solutions are. Dams, and other water infrastructure, have far-reaching consequences. Whilst some dams are undoubtedly national icons, the infrastructure has a long history of controversy with unfulfilled economic impacts, significant displacement of people and wide-ranging negative environmental and climate consequences. Planning of the nexus therefore requires rigorous and inclusive process. This will likely create debate, but it is through discussion that a widely-accepted consensus can be forged or a solution found that genuinely maximises benefits whilst minimising costs.

Who is it for?

  • Decision-makers of new and existing infrastructure in the water-food-energy-environment nexus.
  • Policymakers undertaking strategic national or regional planning processes to identify the key developmental challenges and the solutions that can meet them.
  • Non-governmental organisations, researchers and civil society groups who want to create, or advocate for, a participatory stakeholder plan for the Water-Food-Energy-Environment nexus




  • Global Development Institute, The University of Manchester, UK
  • GCRF
  • UK Research and Innovation
  • FutureDams


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