Position paper on water, energy, food and ecosystems (WEFE) nexus and Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)
This position paper (PDF) by Joint Research Centre (JRC) of the European Commission’s science and knowledge service, and Directorate General for International Cooperation and Development (DG DEVCO) highlights the importance and advantages of the water, engergy, food and ecosystems (WEFE) Nexus as an approach and methodology in EU development cooperation. Natural resources are increasingly at risk due to factors such as climate change, demographic and economic growth, political instability and forced migration. Core threats to these resources are population growth, economic development, urbanisation development, lack of transboundary cooperation, pollution and climate change. In addressing these challenges, the WEFE Nexus is of importance. The Nexus corroborates the need to not view water, energy, food and ecosystems as being separate entities, but rather as being complex and inextricably entwined. Key principles of the Nexus are: 1) Understand the interdependence of resources within a system across space and time; 2) Recognize the interdependence between water, energy, food and ecosystems; 3) Identify integrated policy solutions to optimise trade-offs and maximise synergies across sectors; 4) Ensure coordination across sectors and stakeholders; 5) Value the natural capital of land, water, energy sources and ecosystems. A number of benefits arise from adapting these key principles, incuding the exploitation of co-benefits to improve overall performance, the streamlining of development and improving resilience, and stimulating policy coherence and multipurpose investments. Managing the WEFE Nexus is a consultative process with key stakeholders contributing and agreeing to responses to the challenges being faced. Relevant stakeholder engagement is particularly crucial when implementing the WEFE Nexus because of the need to collaborate across traditional thematic silos.