Water-Food-Energy-Ecosystems Nexus: Reducing transboundary frictions through assessing intersectoral links, trade-offs and benefits
Abstract: Securing availability, quality and manageable variability of water resources is too commonly inferred to be best achieved through national means when transboundary cooperation and intersectoral coordination may be effective strategies to that end. Water security is linked to other resource securities – notably food and energy – and environmental security, and these interlinkages need to be taken into account in planning and management for overall sustainability and conflict reduction. Assessments of the water-food-energy ecosystem nexus in selected transboundary basins are carried out under the UNECE Water Convention to foster cooperation by identifying intersectoral synergies and measures to reduce the trade-offs.
Integration across sectors and reconciling resource uses is challenging, but possibilities for improving coordination, consultation and consideration of different interests in specific basin contexts are concrete, and existing multi-sector structures and processes can be built on. The Water Convention’s nexus approach provides a good basis for identifying cooperation opportunities, e.g. for broadening or restarting a transboundary dialogue. To inform developing cooperation or policy, trade-offs and benefits can be quantified with adequate data and tools. A nexus assessment process bears a risk that result is controversial to a sector or a country; consequently the process design and institutional framework are important.
Presenter: Since 2009, Dr. Annukka Lipponen has been working as an Environmental Affairs Officer in the secretariat of the Convention on the Protection and Use of Transboundary Watercourses and International Lakes at UNECE in Switzerland. Her main duties focus on the assessment of transboundary waters. She has also worked as a programme specialist at the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO; 2003-2009), first in the Division of Water Sciences in France, and then as the responsible officer for UNESCO’s natural sciences programmes in Central Asia based in Kazakhstan.