Global Forum on Environment: New Perspectives on the Water-Energy-Food-Nexus

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Achieving water, energy and food security for all is one of the greatest challenges facing humankind. Already today, nearly one billion people lack access to safe drinking water, one billion people suffer from hunger and 2.5 billion people do not have access to modern forms of energy. These challenges will intensify in the future. The OECD Environmental Outlook to 2050 projects that global demand for energy and water will increase by 80% and 55% by 2050 respectively.  In addition, the FAO estimates a 60% increase in food demand over the same period.  Population growth, economic development and climate change will accelerate competition for food, water and energy.

This pressure on resources creates growing concerns regarding the availability, accessibility, distribution and sustainability of water, food, and energy for all. These constraints could jeopardise the fundamental development goals of increased human well-being, economic development and poverty eradication. In the run-up to Rio+20, the Bonn 2011 Nexus Conference contributed to a better understanding of the interdependencies between the water, energy and food security and highlighted the need for more systemic thinking to identify synergies and trade-offs between different sectors, interest groups and development goals. There is a clear need to move away from a “silo” approach to a more integrated policy-making in these areas.  Improving the alignment of policy goals can help countries to better manage the risks of water, energy and food scarcity while enhancing resilience in the face of increasing pressures from global trends. 

In response to the water, energy and food challenages, the Global Forum on Environment: New Perspectives on the Water-Energy-Food-Nexus was held in Paris, France on 27-28 November 2014. During the Forum, topics for discussion included the need to understand long-term impacts of the nexus on growth; ways to improve coherence between national, regional and local planning and priorities; the importance of promoting private sector investment in the nexus; and how to mainstream the nexus into the broader development agenda, particularly in the context of post-2015 discussions.

Please click here for the Forum Summary. For more informtion of this Forum, please visit the OECD website.