Publication // Insights on Water and Climate Change in the Greater Horn of Africa: Connecting Virtual Water and Water-Energy-Food-Biodiversity-Health Nexus
By Hubert Hirwa ,Qiuying Zhang ,Yunfeng Qiao, Yu Peng, Peifang Leng, Chao Tian, Sayidjakhon Khasanov, Fadong Li, Alphonse Kayiranga, Fabien Muhirwa, Auguste Cesar Itangishaka, Gabriel Habiyaremye and Jean Ngamije. Water is the crucial criterion for environmental and socioeconomic advancement; it also provides the basis for healthy ecosystems and the human wellbeing of any region or country. This study presents the first comprehensive insight on the complex interlinkages and interdependencies between virtual water and water, energy, food, biodiversity, and human health sectors under a changing climate and formulating the essential and effective policies for sustainable development. This study also highlights the significance of VW trade in achieving sustainable water resources management. Currently, the Greater Horn of Africa region is categorized as one of the world’s most food-insecure regions, while containing many resources for energy and food production.
© Hirwa et al. Simplified illustration of the complex interconnections between the nexus sectors.
Water is the key limiting factor in socioeconomic and ecological development, but it is adversely affected by climate change. The novel virtual water (VW) concept and water, energy, food, biodiversity, and human health (WEFBH) nexus approach are powerful tools to assess the sustainability of a region through the lens of climate change. Climate change-related challenges and water are complex and intertwined. This paper analyzed the significant WEFBH sectors using the multicriteria decision-making (MCDM) and analytic hierarchy process (AHP) model. The AHP model demonstrated quantitative relationships among WEFBH nexus sustainability indicators in the Greater Horn of Africa countries. Besides, the net VW imports and water footprints of major staple crops were assessed. The composite WEFBH nexus indices varied from 0.10 to 0.14. The water footprint of crops is increasing period by period. The results also revealed that most countries in the study area are facing WEFBH domains unsustainability due to weak planning or improper management strategies. The strong policy constancy among the WEFBH sector is vital for dissociating the high-water consumption from crop production, energy, environmental, and human health system. Thus, this study enhances insights into the interdependencies, interconnectedness, and interactions of sectors thereby strengthening the coordination, complementarities, and synergies among them. To attain sustainable development, we urgently call all public and private entities to value the amount of VW used in their daily activities and design better policies on the complex WEFBH nexus and future climate change.
Title picture: Turning clockwise direction, the capital letters represent Food (F), Water (W), Biodiversity (B), Health (H), and Energy (E) sector. The five sectors of the nexus, F, W, B, H, and E, are associated with one another thru various direct and indirect interlinkages. A direct interlinkage between two sectors is described as a change in one’s status due to a change in the status of another, implying that the rest of the components do not interfere with the two first elements’ special bond. Adapted from Laspidou, C. et al. (2017): Scientific Inventory of the Nexus, SIM4NEXUS.
analytic hierarchy process; biodiversity; climate change; Greater Horn of Africa; nexus analysis; sustainable development; virtual water
Sustainability 2021, 13(11), 6483
This article belongs to the Special Issue Coupling Eco-Hydrology with Water Sustainability: Concepts and Applications.
Hirwa, H. et al. (2021). Insights on Water and Climate Change in the Greater Horn of Africa: Connecting Virtual Water and Water-Energy-Food-Biodiversity-Health Nexus. Sustainability, 13(11), 6483. doi: 10.3390/su13116483
Insights on Water and Climate Change in the Greater Horn of Africa: Connecting Virtual Water and Water-Energy-Food-Biodiversity-Health Nexus
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