Giz 2023 Headerimage 800

The Water, Energy, Food and Environment (WEFE) Nexus in Jordan governance: Building resilience and securing WEF in the present and the long run

Jordan suffers from extreme scarcity of water, primary energy resources, and arable lands. The country is among the most water-scarce countries in the world and is highly dependent on imported food and fossil fuels. Climate change and growing demands for natural resources associated to rapid population growth and urbanization accentuate the situation and intensify exploitation. Consequently, the prices of essential services provided to the population, such as water and electricity, increase concomitantly, with the former augmenting by 158% from 2010 to 2020.

This situation threatens environmental resilience and increases economic vulnerability, with harmful socio-economic effects. Agriculture figures as the largest water consumer in the country, and consequently the water scarcity contributes to increasing food insecurity. Likewise, energy costs account for around 47% of total operation and maintenance costs in the water sector, which tend to raise to meet the expanding water supply. To meet the challenges facing in water, energy, and food sectors, it becomes imperative to increase the share of renewable energy, for which Jordan has a large and still unexplored potential.

Giz foto 026 jo umwelt ressourcen mngmt bewaesserung pflanzenzucht
© GIZ / Andreas König

MENA is one of the most impacted regions by climate change endangering water resources and availability, biodiversity stocks and then human life, especially at the local level. Nexus must be a methodology adopted by the governments at a very high level to create synergies between all sectors to provide one national common development plan.

— Djahida Boukhalfa, Regional Coordinator Nexus Dialogue in the MENA region at GIZ, 2021.
Nexus neue hintergruende gruen

The multisectoral benefits of coordinated WEF governance and management

The WEF Nexus is an approach that considers the interlinkages among WEF resources, aiming at promoting a holistic and multi-sectoral perspective on their use and management. The way in which WEF resources are governed has direct impacts in a country’s environment and socioeconomic development. It is thus crucial to have a consistent and integrative framework which integrates management and governance across sectors to achieve an effective management of resources and climate protection.

Recognising this, the Jordanian government has been acting to implement the Nexus approach in policy making to cope with the various WEF challenges faced by the country. Jordan has an enormous sun and wind capacity to produce the quantities of energy needed to desalinate sea water and irrigate crops. This hints the high potential of the Nexus approach to address the water stress and combat the rising electricity tariffs, while providing the population with the food required to meet nutritional needs.

160404 IGIZ PHT29
© GIZ / Thomas Imo/

The WEF Nexus in Jordan policy making: Coordination towards a sustainable future

The Nexus approach has been adopted in Jordan’ policy making aforetime. In 2019, supported by GIZ, the Water-Energy NEXUS (WEN) dialogue was launched, which was followed by the Renewable Energies in the Water sector (REW) and the Energy Efficient Water Sector (EEWS) projects. In tandem, committees and groups formed by ministries and specialists have been working together to enhance the NEXUS dialogue between the water and energy and implement joint win-win projects in both sectors. This coordination mechanism succeeded in integrating NEXUS aspects into current sectorial plans and developing joint strategic projects.

The step forward to consolidating the Water-Energy-Food-Environment (WEFE) Nexus in Jordan governance structures is bringing together experts from various sectors to improve coordination and promote knowledge exchange. For this, the project “Development of Framework for the Governance of the Water, Energy, Food and Environment Nexus in Jordan” was launched aiming at promoting WEFE effective and sustainable management, always contemplating environmental aspects.

Screenshot 2023 06 07 152208
Map of Jordan water utilities’ service area. Source: Ministry of Water and Irrigation of Jordan.

An important pre-condition for successful intersectoral planning requires that public officers in one sector understand their dependency and interrelation to others.

— Maria Ana Rodriguez, Head of the Nexus Regional Dialogues Programme, GIZ


  • NRD icon wave shaped
  • NRD icon crop shaped 1
  • NRD icon sun shaped 1

The Water-Energy-Food Nexus

Together with national and regional partners, the Nexus Regional Dialogue in the MENA region, co-funded by the European Union (EU) and the German Ministry for Development and Cooperation (BMZ), promotes the Water-Energy-Food (WEF) Nexus approach in the region to address these interdependencies and ensure the sustainable management of water, energy and food resources.

The WEF Nexus approach focuses on negotiating trade-offs, inspiring compromises and uncovering synergies to ensure water, energy and food security in the long run. It further promotes policy coherence and cooperation between all three sectors at the regional, local and global level. Since 2016, the Nexus Regional Dialogue Programme in the Middle East and North Africa Region has been working across the region to institutionalise the Water Energy Foof Nexus in public policy and planning in addition to demonstration projects that show the value-added of the WEF Nexus, capacity building activities and the identification of financing opportunities.

Nexus neue hintergruende blau

Institutionalising the WEFE Nexus in Jordan governance structures

To reach this primary goal, a consultant will contribute to the development of a practical framework including decision-support tools and methods for integrated planning and policy coherence of the WEFE Nexus, with particular focus on the Water-Energy-Axis (WEA). An assessment report on the existing WEFE Nexus governance structures, policies, initiatives, and projects in Jordan will form the basis for further developing a framework document.

The framework document will encompass the institutional, legal, regulatory and policy requirements, besides resources and investment planning processes, to institutionalize the WEFE Nexus in Jordan. Policymakers will be provided with a guideline that includes tools and recommendations on how to:

Create an effective cross-sectoral coordination and planning structure;

Align strategies and develop a common vision;

Plan and prioritize integrated investment projects;

Align data metrics and collection and apply the most suitable Nexus tools;

Minimize conflicts of interest;

Boost collaboration and synergies.

These recommendations shall extend to other sectors, thus contributing to mainstreaming the Nexus through existing and new intersectoral coordination mechanisms.

160404 IGIZ PHT27
© GIZ / Thomas Imo/

Methodological organisation towards a comprehensive WEFE Nexus governance framework

To achieve the desired outcomes, the work of the contractor will be structured in four Work Packages (WPs): WP 0: Project planning and management; WP 1: Governance and institutional framework analysis and regional assessment; WP 2: WEFE Nexus Assessment for Jordan focused on the institutional and policy context; WP 3: Development of a framework for integrated governance of the WEFE NEXUS in Jordan.

The framework is expected to be developed in a participatory approach with key stakeholders and relevant actors involved in the governance and management of the WEF Nexus. The contractor will also review and evaluate existing practical applications of WEFE Nexus concepts in the MENA region and beyond, while showcasing regional case studies that demonstrate the operationalisation of the Nexus at policymaking, project, and investment planning levels. The expected result is a comprehensive identification of the challenges, critical interlinkages, opportunities, projects, and perspectives on the existing WEFE Nexus structures and processes.


Not only do integrated WEFE projects bring about greater development impact on local communities than sole energy provision, but they can also bring better financial performance for investors. This is a game changer.

— Luca Traini, Programme Manager Access to Energy at RES4Africa Foundation, 2021.


The GIZ Water Portfolio in Jordan.

(The video is also available directly on YouTube via this link.)

Giz 2023 Headerimage 800

By loading the video, data will be sent to YouTube. More information can be found in our data protection policy.

Nexus neue hintergruende gelb

Boosting economic productivity while promoting WEFE Security

Chronic water scarcity is one of the main obstacles to Jordan’s development. Due to the water shortage, the safe water abstraction yields are often exceeded, while groundwater extractions require large amounts of energy and the agriculture sector accounts for most of the national’s water demand, where groundwater is the main source. Renewable energy is a pragmatic solution to face the challenges pertaining all three sectors and achieving sustainable WEF security.

This starts by establishing an effective Nexus governance to strengthen the cooperation between WEF sectors and pave the way towards a joint vision, integrated planning and facilitated implementation of win-win solutions. Beyond increasing the share of renewable energy in various sectors of Jordan’s economy, mainstreaming the Nexus approach will contribute to reducing costs and increasing resource efficiency. This in turn contributes to raising economic productivity and securing reliable water supply, food availability, energy generation and a clean environment to the over 11 million inhabitants of Jordan.

More Information

  • Article: Nexus governance – not so unique after all?

    Deep into the theme of Nexus benefits and the accountability of scientists and politicians for actions taken in the field here.

  • Nexus News:

    Application of tangible WEFE Nexus nature-based solutions in 6 pilot farms in Jordan and Palestine is underway under the MENA Matchmaker II project. Read more here.

  • Governance Structures for Transboundary Water Management in the Jordan Basin:

    Learn more about water governance in Jordan and beyond here.

  • The Nexus Regional Dialogues in the Middle East and North Africa:

    Find more information about the NRD activities and outcomes in the MENA region here.

Stay up to date!

We inform you about current projects, events, actions, publications and news!