East African Regional Workshop on Water-Energy-Food security (WEF) Nexus
UNESCO in partnership with the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) gmbH, Strathmore University, and the Kenya Climate Innovation Centre organized a two-day training (24/25 September 2019) for participants from the East African Community on the WEF Nexus approach in Nairobi, Kenya.
UNESCO in partnership with the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) gmbH, Strathmore University and the Kenya Climate Innovation Centre organized a two-day training for participants from the East African Community and IGAD region (Burundi, Djibouti, Eritrea, Kenya, Rwanda, South Sudan and Uganda) on Water-Energy-Food security (WEF) Nexus; an approach highlighting the interdependencies between achieving water, energy and food security to achieving the global goals and Agenda 2063. The Training draw participants with relevant experience on water, energy, agriculture and food security and climate change initiatives either from an academic / research institutions, public service (Ministry of Agriculture/Food Security/Irrigation, Ministry of Water, Ministry of Environment, Ministry of Energy) with a background knowledge on the nexus approach.
The training looked into details the importance of:
- Understanding the synergies and regulated negotiation of fair trade-offs between competing uses of water, land and energy related resources.
- Embracing a cross-sectoral, coherent and integrated perspective. It challenges existing structures, policies and procedures at global, regional and (sub) national levels.
- Promoting the integration of goals across sectors and reducing the risk of sector-specific SDG actions undermining each other
Agenda 2063 and SDG: The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), and goals of Agenda 2063, are indivisibly connected with each other. The same holds for the specific objectives on climate change mitigation and adaptation according to the Paris Agreement (PA). These connections allow finding effective and efficient solutions to tackle the world’s problems. SDG 6 (water), 7 (energy) and 2 (food security) are not only closely connected to each other but also eminently important for the Nexus approach. The three “supply securities” water, energy and food depend on ecosystems and on each other. The three resources land, water, and energy (atmosphere) are part of this ecosystem and must be used and protected in a balanced manner.
Outcomes and Outputs
The 2-day training introduced the participants to the Water-Energy-Food security (WEF) Nexus and provided the opportunity to apply “Nexus thinking” in interactive exercises. The workshop was facilitated by GIZ experts Ms. Maria Ana Rodriguez, Global Nexus Secretariat Coordinator and Mr. Luca Ferrini, Nexus Regional Coordinator in the Niger basin.
Participants engaged with different perspectives, needs, priorities and values of other sectors and their interconnections in an interactive and participatory way. The training modules were designed in a way that ensured that participants had the opportunity to apply Nexus thinking to concrete examples within the context of regional case studies.
As a result participants identified Nexus challenges in their respective countries, and will try to use the benefit from Nexus approach to find solutions. The participants identified a concrete project in their countries aiming to increase water security, energy security or food security, the design of which could benefit from a nexus approach.
Participants expressed a realization that projects connected to natural resource planning and management of water, energy and food are often designed and implemented in a sectoral way. They also noted that resource scarcity, population growth, and impacts of climate change increase pressure on existing natural resources and call for integrated solutions across sectors.
Participants reflected on the importance of negotiation, power balances, and the central role of sustainability in finding compromise between different sectors. Compromise was not just seen as negative, but actually led to a sustainable solution which benefits all interests in the long run and efficiency in the use of resources.
Participants used practical methodology to assess the impact of projects on different sectors in order to strengthen synergies and minimize trade-offs using the “Risks and Options Assessment for Decision-making” (ROAD), a tool to calculate the impact of the three case study projects on the four sectors (water, energy, food, and environment).
Participants visited sites at Strathmore University where green ideas are already in use such as rain water harvesting, solar water heating, use of photovoltaic produced electricity, use of food leftover to produce biogas and green buildings.
This article was first published on the Water Energy Food website.