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The Water, Energy, Food and Environment (WEFE) Nexus in Jordan governance: Building resilience and securing WEF in the present and the long run
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.
THE NEXUS REGIONAL DIALOGUE IN THE MENA REGION
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.
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.
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.