Nexus initiatives

The Nexus Times - A critical perspective on the circular economy

The Nexus Times is a regular publication covering the food-water-energy nexus and EU policy.

This June edition features a wide perspective on the circular economy. 




Water-Energy-Food Nexus in Latin America and the Caribbean

Public policies for the management of interconnections between water, energy and food in Latin America and the Caribbean - IN SPANISH ONLY!


Providing fresh water using waves as an energy source

Renaud Lafortune and Dragan Tutic, two young entrepreneurs from Quebec, Canada, founded Oneka Technologies Inc in 2012. Oneka  have developed a solution  to distribute autonomous desalination units providing fresh water using only waves as an energy source.  The first generation of the system was developed and successfully tested within 2012 and 2014.

Stay tuned for further development of Oneka !


Directory of IIED publications

New page increasing ease of access to most IIED publications, including:

- Food and agriculture
- Energy
- Water
- Climate change


Oxford Networks for the Environment (ONE)

The Oxford Networks for the Environment (ONE) mobilise the University's expertise in science, technology, business and society. They enable Oxford to find solutions to the complex, converging challenges of energy, water, and food security, climate change and threats to biodiversity.

ONE contributes to humanity's capacity to make sustainable use of our natural resources for the benefit of all people and for the natural world.


WEF Nexus Tool 2.0

The tool allows the user to create different scenarios with varying food self-sufficiencies, water sources, energy sources, and countries of import. The output includes a summary of:

  • Water requirements (m3)
  • Local energy requirements (kJ)
  • Local carbon emissions (ton CO2)
  • Land requirements (ha)
  • Financial requirements (QAR)
  • Energy consumption through import (kJ)
  • Carbon emissions through import (ton CO2)

The user is able to discover and visualize the amount of resources consumed by different proposed scenarios. The user would also able to decide the importance of each of the systems (water, local energy, local carbon, land, financial, energy through import and carbon through import). According to input given by user, the tool calculates the “sustainability index” of each of the proposed scenarios.


The Nexus Network

The Nexus Network is a three-year initiative to foster debate, innovative research and practical collaborations across the linked ‘nexus’ domains of food, energy, water and the environment. Participation in the network is open to researchers from all disciplines, and to decision makers in government, business and civil society.

The network is funded by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) and is being coordinated by a team from the University of Sussex, University of East Anglia and Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership.

The network aims to:

  • Encourage debate
  • Support interdisciplinary, cross-sector collaborations between social and natural scientists, academic researchers and government, business and civil society
  • Enable researchers and stakeholders in business, policy and civil society to develop and share new methodologies, data, conceptual frameworks, skills and practices

The network does this through:

  • Funding research on nexus-related topics
  • Providing opportunities for dialogue and debate
  • Developing methods, tools and briefing papers as a resource for research, policy and practitioner communities
  • Acting as a UK hub for nexus-related news and discussion


U.S. Perspectives on the Water-Energy-Food Nexus

On June 23rd – June 24th 2014, Colorado State University, in collaboration with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the International Center for Integrated Water Resources Management and the U.S. Department of State conducted multi-disciplinary practitioner workshops. The aim of the workshop was discuss, based upon case studies of US experiences, how to plan and manage, jointly and effectively, across the water-energy-food nexus.

  • Workshop participants prepared a brief case study from their sector in preparation of workshop dialogue papers (Available here)
  • A background paper was prepared for the workshop to facilitate discussion and development of key points (Available here)
  • After the workshop, a final paper was developed for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the U.S. Department of State to draw on for international workshops (Available here)

The workshop demonstrated the complexity and diversity of issues within the nexus, the importance of finance to support nexus solutions to water, energy and food challenges and highlighted the criticality of effective policy to enable nexus solutions at the local level.

The workshop concluded with the starting point for the next phase of discussions, asking What specific institutional changes should be made to take advantage of the lessons learned and to provide incentives to overcome barriers to nexus outcomes?


UNECE Work on the Nexus in Transboundary Basins

In transboundary contexts, trade-offs related to the overlaps in the management, production and uses of water, energy and food can cause friction between riparian states. Recognising these challenges, the Parties of the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) decided on an assessment of the water-food-energy-ecosystems nexus to be carried out by Autumn 2015. A representative set of transboundary basins in the pan-European region and beyond were selected to be included. The assessment aims at identifying:

  1. 1. Hindrances to and opportunities for additional and equitable sharing of benefits
  2. 2. Practical solutions for improving security and for reconciling different needs

A pilot assessment was undertaken in the Alazani/Ganikh River Basin. Other transboundary river basins where nexus assessments have been or are expected to be conducted include the Sava, Isonzo/Soca, Narva, Syr Darya, Niger, Mekong and the North-West Sahara Aquifer (some pending confirmation).

Information on the meetings of the task force can be found here and here.

Information on Alazani/Ganikh Basin (Azerbaijan and Georgia) pilot project can be found here.

Information on the Sava River Basin assessment can be found here.



Business Solutions for a Sustainable World

WBCSD recognises that in the future humanity will have to feed more people with less water, within a context of climate change and increasing energy demand, whilst also ensuring a healthy ecosystem is being maintained. WBCSD see businesses not only as users of these resources, but also as solution makers as by participating in solution-finding, businesses will not only be able to overcome future resource constraints but can also enhance business efficiency.

Research by WBCSD is ongoing is looking at promising, innovative and scalable solutions to the world’s interconnected water, energy, food, feed and fibre challenges.

Published information can be found here


The Environment Nexus

The Environment nexus, established by IIEA and the European Parliament, is an online hub for EU environment policy. Within three nexus themes – Water; agriculture and food security; and energy and climate – digital information, such as videos, animations and infographics, are provided.


FE2W Network

The Food, Energy, Environment and Water (FE2W) Network began with the meeting of 40 experts at the University of Oxford in June 2014. While the problems are large and complex, the solutions are not. The FE2W Network intends to provide decision-makers at all levels with the knowledge and frameworks to effectively manage the tradeoffs between the security of food, energy, environment and water (FE2W).  The goal is to collaborate with decision-makers on developing and applying decision frameworks and principles that work in practice and make a difference on the ground.

FE2W’s actions try to improve how we manage systemic risks and shocks across these systems by ‘bridging the silos’ across FE2W, recognising the interlinked uncertainties, and improving people’s lives.

Straightforward decision frameworks that improve governance are critically important, in both poor and rich countries, to respond to and to manage the inherent risks and uncertainties across food, energy, water and the environment.


Columbia Water Center: Water, Food, Energy Nexus

Our mission is to creatively tackle water challenges of a rapidly changing world where water and climate interact with food, energy, ecosystems and urbanization. Combining the rigor of scientific research with the impact of effective policy, we aim to design reliable, sustainable models of water management and development that can be implemented on local, regional and global levels. The Columbia Water Center, in collaboration with other Earth Institute units and external partners, is leading intellectual inquiry into the assessment, understanding and resolution of the global crisis of freshwater scarcity.


Water Law Initiative (Global Water Partnership)

GWP South America recently organised the first Latin American workshop on International Waters Law. The initiative is a collaboration with GWP Central America and aims to encourage improved international cooperation on water governance. This training programme aims at supporting national governments in the development of future legislative frameworks in order to ultimately facilitate good water governance in Latin America, improve resilience to climate variability and contribute to water security and sustainable development. It also promotes national, regional and inter-regional cooperation through knowledge exchange.



The main goal of this research theme is reducing the knowledge gap to management of land and water resources for food and energy security in a sustainable and equitable way, in synergy with natural ecosystems and compatible with the respective socio-economic context.


GRACE Communications Foundation

GRACE Communications Foundation develops innovative strategies to increase public awareness of the critical environmental and public health issues created by our current food, water and energy systems, and to promote a more sustainable future. By building partnerships and mobilising philanthropic resources, GRACE Communications Foundation promote consumer actions and public policies that:

  • Support sustainable food systems.
  • Result in smarter use of water resources.
  • Provide clean energy alternatives to conventional power production.
  • Embrace the complex interconnections of our food, water and energy systems.


Bioenergy and Food Security (BEFS)

Thailand has made considerable progress in reducing poverty and food insecurity over the past two decades. Now one of the world’s largest agricultural exporters, Thailand is implementing ambitious plans to develop its biofuel industry with the objectives of improving national energy security, reducing emissions from the transport sector and adding value to the domestic agricultural sector. The Thai Government’s Alternative Energy Development Plan (AEDP), which was launched in 2008, aims to expand the production of biofuels six-fold to 5 billion liters by 2022.


Integrated Resource Management in Asian Cities: The Urban Nexus

Up to ten selected cities in six Asian countries will be supported with a view to nexus compliant integrated resource management. During the implementation period, the basis for an integrated resource management approach will be developed in selected Asian cities through the module objective: Capacities (institutional and personnel) for integrated urban resource management have been developed in selected Asian cities. To view the project summary, click here.


African Dams Project (ADAPT)

Adapt planning and operation of large dams to social needs and environmental constraints - an integrated water resource management study in the Zambezi Basin.


Shell Ideas360

'Even the simplest of ideas has the power to transform lives.'

Shell Ideas360 is a global competition organised by Shell International Limited for students to develop game-changing ideas for tackling Energy, Water and Food issues.


Sahara Forest Project

The production of key resources, such as clean water, clean energy and a sustainable production of food represents some of our time’s greatest challenges. The Sahara Forest Project is a new environmental solution to create re-vegetation and green jobs through profitable production of food, water, clean electricity and biomass in desert areas.


Adaptation to Climate Change in the Water Sector in the MENA Region (ACCWaM)

The Adaptation to Climate Change in the Water Sector in the MENA Region (ACCWaM) project aims at developing the capacity of the Arab Region’s water sector institutions for anticipating and adapting to impacts of climate change. It was implemented by the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH on behalf of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ).


The Nexus Between Energy, Food, Land Use, and Water

Application of a Multi-Scale Integrated Approach

The nexus-assessment website presents the results of the application of an integrated analysis approach, the Multi-Scale Integrated Assessment of Society and Ecosystem Metabolism (MuSIASEM), to the nexus between energy, food, land use and water.

This work was carried out in the context of the GIZ-funded FAO project “Application of the MuSIASEM approach to three cases in the agrifood sector (MUSIASEM)” (GCP/GLO/445/GER (GIZ)), in collaboration with the Energy Team of the Climate, Energy and Tenure Division (NRC) of the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO). This project forms part of a larger international effort to establish collaboration among public and private organizations with the aim of developing a coherent and comprehensive framework for the analysis of the Water, Energy, and Food Security Nexus in relation to sustainable development goals.


Reclaim Camissa

'the place of sweet waters'

"The first transition to modernity took place when the sweet waters flowing from a series of springs beneath Table Mountain were recognised for their capacity to support life and sustain livelihoods. The small stream is thus symbolic of that transition to modernity. It is also a symbol of the many trials and tribulations that accompanied that transition - the displacement of first nation users, the disparity in society that arises when the privileged are given preferential access, and the subsequent abuse of a resource to the point of collapse - so it is fitting that it should also be the focus of our new democratic nation as we make the next transition into reflexive modernity. Camissa, thus has the capacity to link the past with the present so we can develop a different model for the future.”

– Prof. Anthony Turton, Chairman of the Reclaim Camissa Trust.


Aqueduct and the Water-Food-Energy Nexus

The Aquaduct project is an effort to measure and map water related risks being developed by the World Resources Institute (WRI) with the support of an alliance founded by General Electric and Goldman Sachs. As part of this effort, the Aqueduct team convened its hydrological modeling partner IScience and experts from The Coca-Cola Company to develop and analyze a set of maps for the Bonn2011 Nexus conference that illustrate the complex relationships between water, food, and energy worldwide.


The Energy-Food-Water Nexus

FAO is currently working with LIPHE4 on the application of the Multi-Scale Integrated Analysis of Societal and Ecosystem Metabolism (MuSIASEM) as an integrated approach to explore the energy, food/land, water nexus.

The work is organized around the application of the methodology to the assessment of three case studies: Mauritius Island, South Africa and the Punjab region of India.


Water-Energy-Food Nexus Tool (Beta Version)

Water, energy, and food (WEF) securities are sensitive keys for building a sustainable economy. In fact, a high level of interconnectedness exists between the three resources. These resources form a nexus which itself is affected by external factors such as a growing population, changing economies, international trade, governance, health impacts, environmental impacts, and climate change. Recognizing the intimate connection between these resources is necessary to move to more integrative approach for resource management.

QEERI is currently engineering a comprehensive tool, specifically tailored for Qatar that is aimed at identifying sustainable resource management strategies governed by the WEF nexus. With this WEF Nexus Tool in place, QEERI offers an innovative sustainability model that could be adopted locally as well as in similar arid environments.


Global Sustainable Development Report 2013

Expert group meeting on Climate-Land-Energy-Water-Development case studies (Stockholm, Sweden | 29-30 May 2013).

This meeting is one of a series of expert group meetings to support the preparation of the Global Sustainable Development Report 2013. The meetings are being organized to review and complete draft chapters of the report, which is expected to be finalized by September 2013. This meeting will discuss the themed chapter on the climate-land-energy-water-development (CLEW) nexus.


International Riversymposium

Rivers: Linking water, energy and food (Brisbane, Australia | 23-26 September 2013).

Rivers and other freshwater systems are central in the production of food and many forms of energy. As a result of population growth and climate change, the finite freshwater supplies become scarcer; hence the holistic and sustainable management of water resources is essential.

The 16th International Riversymposium provides an opportunity to look at the linkages that rivers provide to water-energy-food. It will also allow dialogue to continue and build the knowledge base and capacity to inform policy decisions that must include trade-offs between river basin protection and sustainable water, energy and food security.


Mobile Enabled Community Services

GSMA Mobile for Development brings together mobile operator members, the wider mobile industry and the development community to drive commercial mobile services for underserved people in emerging markets. Opportunities are identified for social, economic and environmental impact and to stimulate the development of scalable, life-enhancing mobile services. 

Mobile is the predominant infrastructure in emerging markets. GSMA believes it is the transformative technology that enables us to put relevant, impactful services into the hands of underserved people.

The Mobile Enabled Community Services (MECS) helps improve access to basic energy and water services in underserved communities using mobile technology and infrastructure.



Get involved! Get heard! AgoraMedSpring is supported by the EU with the aim of strengthening the Euro-Mediterranean dialogue and cooperation on research and innovation. Its aim is to foster open dialogue on research and innovation on some of the societal challenges of the Mediterranean region: water, food, and energy.

The AgoraMedSpring collects, shares and generates timely stories, articles, and media content on research and innovation on the management of water scarcity, food security, renewable energy and more broadly on socio-economic sustainability and cooperation on innovation development in the Mediterranean region.The AgoraMedSpring collects, shares, and generates content with different degrees of specialisation and expressing different visions on how to address these challenges.


Growing Blue

Growing Blue is dedicated to discussing global and local water challenges and identifying best practices to safeguard our water future. It was created to tell the important story of how water is as essential to our economic and social growth as it is to ensuring healthy ecosystems and our natural environment. This site serves as a resource for credible, accurate information on water. It is also aimed at increasing global awareness of our water challenges and the need for thoughtful solutions.


Water for Life Decade

A thematic debate which will examine and discuss the challenges and opportunities in managing the water-energy nexus to enhance sustainable development and meet the challenge of climate change. It will also provide an informal setting for Member States to exchange their views, ideas, and lessons learned, discuss and generate new ideas on the subject in an interactive manner.


Methodology for Modelling the Integrated Effects of Climate, Land Use, Energy and Water Interactions

New initiative: This research project will present, develop and demonstrate a tool for the concurrent evaluation of crop production, national energy and water management, as well as the simultaneous assessment of selected GHG mitigation, vulnerability and adaption scenarios, therefore providing a valuable tool for policy makers addressing nexus challenges.


Arabian Water & Power Forum

The Arabian Water & Power Forum (AWPF) returns for the second year to explore the balance between "Optimising Supply and Managing Demand" with renewed focus on innovative technologies and projects across the Middle East.

The Forum brings together central policy makers, government figures and international investors to determine the next steps essential to matching water and power supply with demands across the region.


The Bonn Perspectives

The Bonn Perspectives is designed to reinvigorate the international debate on sustainability with fresh ideas, using innovative learning, dialogue and networking platforms, with Bonn as home base.


The Environment Nexus

The IIEA has created The Environment Nexus, an online multimedia hub for anyone with an interest in water or environmental policy/policy communication more generally. Under three themes – water; energy and climate; and agriculture and food security – IIEA researchers and external experts analyse some of the most important environmental issues facing Europe and the world. 


The Water, Energy & Food Security Resource Platform

The Bonn2011 Nexus Conference from 16-18 November 2011 resulted, among others, in this online resource platform, which presents a large variety of documents, presentations, news, messages and other Information from various sources on the Nexus. 

Download here a leaflet which gives an overview of the Bonn Nexus understanding and activities,  including also the positioning of natural resources and the ecosystem dimension within the approach.


The Agricultural Water Management Solutions Project

“For every challenge, there has to be a solution”

For the millions of smallholder farmers, just growing enough food is already a challenge. Getting enough water when it rains only once a year and temperature are high most of the year is already a challenge. The Agricultural Water Management Solutions Project has identified a variety of smallholder agricultural water management interventions that have a high potential to improve the food security and livelihoods of the rural poor in sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia.


The South African Water, Energy & Food Forum

The South African Water, Energy & Food Forum has become the flag-bearer for the mission critical nexus dialogue in South Africa. With the problem statement being clearly defined, from both a global and local perspective, the time has arrived to move the nexus dialogue into the realms of everyday South African life and the solutions to its challenges.



Agriwaterpedia is a knowledge platform on Agricultural Water Management aiming at the improvement of food security under conditions of climate change in developing countries. Agriwaterpedia stands for easy and free access to knowledge and invites you to share your own knowledge and experience by contributing articles and documents. As it is a wiki, everybody who has access to the wiki can edit and create pages!