What’s the Nexus?

Diagram of Water Nexus Relationships

Global trends such as population growth and rising living standards are increasing the demand on water, food, and energy which will impact on the sustainable use of natural resources. In addition the impact of climate change will have huge impacts on water and food availability.

Since 2002 the World Summit on Sustainable Development the terms water security, food security, energy security and climate security have become common usage in the media without clear definition or integrated action.

In November 2011 the German government hosted the innovative Bonn Nexus Conference to examine the water, food, and energy nexus. The German government recognized a clear need for new approaches which address the interconnections within these areas. In order to develop these integrated solutions, the German government initiated a year-long participatory outreach to prepare for the Bonn 2011 Nexus Conference.

It is increasingly clear: There is no place in an interlinked world for isolated solutions aimed at just one sector. They can have often fatal consequences in other sectors. If the world is going to reduce hunger and eradicate poverty, then achieving security for water, energy and food for people is critical. This challenge is becoming even more critical with the impacts of climate change and that water will be the medium by which we will address much of the nexus. If things continue the way they are:

  • Agriculture will have to produce 70 % more food by 2050
  • Primary energy needs will increase by 50 % by 2035
  • Demand for water will exceed global availability by 40 % in 20301

1. Understanding the Nexus: http://www.water-energy-food.org/en/whats_the_nexus/background.html