Chapter7 wef n2013-abbas_ibrahim_evrentok


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Chapter 7: Water, Energy and Food nexus (WEF-N) By Abbas Ibrahim Zahreddine (Barcelona) and Evren Tok (Doha) in Energy and Environment Management, Technology and Conflicts in a Warming World (UOC/School of Cooperation, Barcelona 2013)

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Chapter7 wef n2013-abbas_ibrahim_evrentok

  1. 1.     1 Water, Energy and Food nexus (WEF-N) Abbas Ibrahim Zahreddine Agricultural engineer, masters degree in Education for Environment, and Ph.D. Research project “Mediterranean Eco-citizenship and education for sustainable development” at the University of Barcelona Evren Tok Assistant Professor at Hamad Bin Khalifa University, Public Policy in Islam Program, Faculty of Islamic Studies, Doha/Qatar. Evren Tok obtained his collaborative Ph.D degree from the School of Public Policy and Administration and Institute of Political Economy at Carleton University, Ottawa/Canada. He previously obtained his MA degree from the Institute of Political Economy at Carleton University. 1. Introduction Water, Energy and Food Nexus (WEF-N) signals high level of interconnectedness and interdependency between the three resources. The issue of inter-linkages has been very difficult to address from the original Rio 1992 onward. On the one hand, these resources have been exposed to significant external factors such as a growing population, changing economies, international trade, governance, health impacts, environmental impacts, and climate change. On the other hand, WEF-N is interlinked closely with public policies and stakeholder democracy (via policy-makers, media and social movements), as they define the strategies and courses of action by states and non-state key actors, either at local, national, or at regional levels -see figure- This chapter acknowledges the vitality of the WEF-N by recognizing both aspects, however, it focuses more on the latter dimension as sustainable development requires. It is crucial to note that state action is no longer the only parameter, as non-state, international organizations, media and civil society, market based actors, think tanks and many other interest groups, advocacy coalitions, epistemic communities and networks are part of the WEF-N albeit with varying stakes, expectations and roles.
  2. 2.     2 2. About and Resources: The United Nations decided to organize RIO+20, the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development to commemorate the 40th anniversary of UNEP and the 20th anniversary of the Rio Earth Summit (UNCED, Rio 1992). The UN General Assembly “Encourages the active participation of all major groups, as identified in Agenda 21 and further elaborated Implementation Plans”. The concept is bringing the state and non-state actors to build local/national, regional and global consultations mechanisms in view to tackle cooperatively the issues of inclusiveness, democracy and sustainable development within a broad approach. In this context, Stakeholder Forum for Sustainable Future conducted an assessment for the United Nations to review the previous commitments, Rio Principles and Agenda 21, adopted since UNCED Rio 1992, and they found a lot had not been implemented All UN environment and sustainable development summits since 1972 were to agree on Global Action Plan and wide-ranging of commitments at national, regional and international scopes to obstruct the deterioration of the human environment and continue to find out how “to govern better together only one Earth”. UNCSD (or Rio+20) focused on 4 themes: ● Review of previous commitments ● Institutional framework for sustainable development. ● Green economy in the context of sustainable development and poverty eradication ● Emerging issues One of the vital meetings that input to the Rio+20 was the “Bonn 2011 Nexus Conference (16-18 November 2011), The Water, Energy and Food Security Nexus – Solutions for a Green Economy”. The conference goals were to create a better understanding of the inter-linkages between the sectors of energy, food and water and develop a joint perspective on common changes and their interrelations and to look at options and solutions and what an enabling framework with incentives for these topics would bear the largest positive impact potential. In 2009, Johan Rockström lead an international group of 28 leading academics and have identified a set of “nine planetary boundaries” essential for human survival, and attempted to quantify just how far seven of these systems have been pushed already. They then estimated how much further we can go before our own survival is threatened. Beyond these boundaries there is a risk of "irreversible and abrupt environmental change" which could make Earth less habitable. Boundaries can help identify where there is room and define a "safe space for human development", which is an improvement on approaches
  3. 3.     3 aiming at just minimizing human impacts on the planet. We need to recognize we are living in a more and more resource-constrained world. With easy exploitation of natural resources coming to an end in the next few decades, our world will be facing severe constraints to economic growth and human well-being. Current projections indicate rising future demands for water, energy and food, and predict subsequent strains on the natural systems. These trends send a clear message to decision-makers in governments, business and civil society: the way in which countries deal with water, energy and food security will heavily influence economic growth, human well-being and the environment we live in and rely on. ● Population growth: Expected to reach 9 billion by 2050 and 8 billion by 2024 ● Economic prosperity: There will be a rising economic prosperity in some of the emerging economies particularly in India and China ● Increasing urban world: by 2030 over 60% of people will live in urban areas ● Increase in energy demand: With more people and more people developing there will be an increased demand for energy provision and that energy provision has to be cleaner energy provision. With an expected economic growth rate of 6% p.a. in developing countries this will drive up global demand for energy by 30-40% by 2050 ● Increase in demand for food: How we feed the additional 2 billion people and increased consumption rates in certain countries, as they develop, current projections are that we will need agriculture production to increase by 70% by 2050 to meet the global demand for food; ● Increased need for water: Already 1.1 billion people lack access to safe drinking water. The population growth per year is around 80 million people which requires an additional 64 billion cubic meters of water according to the UN. Demand for water will exceed global availability by 40 % in 2030 ● If you add on to this the impacts of climate change then clearly we have a set of global trends that are starting to converge and which will require considerable political leadership in all sectors governments, industry, UN and other stakeholders Global trends (Global trends developed by Felix Dodds in 2012) Why WEF-N is important? In our context, in an urbanized and wealthy part of the planet Earth, people have significant and considerable footprint and pressure on water, energy and food demands, we are accelerating ecosystems degradation. WEF are interconnected in important -and obvious- ways, actions in one sector either help or harm the other two. WEF-N is a perspective and approach toward a transformation and identification of new opportunities and innovations: ● It increases the understanding of interdependence across water, energy and food policies and strategies ● it helps to move beyond silos and ivory towers that impede the interdisciplinary solutions ● it opens the
  4. 4. eyes for mutually beneficial responses and potential of local and international cooperation ● it helps designing, developing and implementing coherent policies, strategies, programs and investments to exploit synergies and mitigate tradeoffs among WEF sustainable development goals With active participation, partnership and good governance among state and non-state actors, WEF-N perspective provides an informed and transparent framework for determining and resolving tradeoffs to meet increasing demands without compromising sustainability 3. Concerted state action and collaboration An urgent question we need to tackle pertains to the interstices of the WEF-N and sustainable development. Sustainability is sought via policy coherence, as water, energy and food security are highly interdependent, sustainable development should be considered not only an issue of governing resources, but also ensuring that economic and political context is suitable for policy dialogue, formulation and implementation (law, incentives and awareness). It has to be underlined also that the strength of the relation between the WEF-N and sustainable development requires continuous cooperation between Intergovernmental, Governmental and Non-Governmental stakeholders. According to The Global Risk 2011 report, WEF-N is a risk that fundamentally threatens human, social and political security. WEF are interconnected, actions in one sector either help or harm the other two, thus there is a need for creating a holistic framework –by policy planners and makers- that explicitly define manage and inform the link and tradeoffs between the sectors and explain the effect one has on another. Higher levels of collaboration in setting future resource management strategies and policies are thus a must. Governance failure in terms of managing these shared and interconnected resources create tensions that can lead to conflicts at local, national, sub-regional and regional levels. It is at these levels that most opportunities and innovations can be found and carried out for improving resource efficiency and managing trade offs between these vital sectors (integrative thinking, strategic planning) to come through highlighting the intimate level of interconnectedness.     4
  5. 5.     5 How to make it work? ● Increase policy coherence (identification, formulation, implementation, evaluation and monitoring) ● Accelerate access (Rights-Based Approach to Development) ● Create more with less and value natural infrastructure; ● Mobilize consumer influence and set the right incentives ● Establish mechanisms for policy coherence and development Work toward new institutional arrangements ● Mobilize academic and non-academic communities; ● Promote access to information and stakeholder democracy and raise awareness on integrated resource management. 4. Media as Partners for WEF-N The UN sixty-sixth session (September, 2012) recognized that sustainable development requires urgent and concrete action involving a partnership between civil society, governments and the private sector. In our context, we need deeper, wider and better coordinated activities through the region for partnership closer to people (Citizens as partners for WEF-N), a more coherent partnership based on co-ownership of policy formulation and implementation. It requires sustained, interactive and integrated communication approach that, over time, will correct information deficit and ensure visibility not just among decision- makers but also across the wide spectrum of scientific community, media and communication bodies, social movements and business community. We need to consolidate and promote cooperation with pluralistic, independent Media, Education and Communication agents and senior professionals (Medias as partners for WEF-N), We should recognize the lack of communication and information experts in view to interact, transmit, inform and communicate with citizens. There is also a lack of knowledge activists to spread out the vital strategic importance of regional integration and priorities in both political and economic terms (projects that strive to promote WEF-N perspective, green growth and employment, cohesion and economic integration). We need to train and allocate human resources and strategies aiming at improving information and communication in view to build an environmental citizenship in a knowledge-based society -MEDEV- WEF-N Strategies that use communication development approaches can reveal people’s underlying attitudes and traditional wisdom, help people to adapt their views and to acquire new knowledge and skills, and spread new social messages to large audiences. The planned use of communication techniques,
  6. 6.     6 activities and media gives people powerful tools both to experience change and actually to guide it. An intensified exchange of ideas among major sectors of society can lead to the greater involvement of people in a common cause. This is a fundamental requirement for appropriate and sustainable development in the Mediterranean. (Ibrahim Zahreddine A., MEDEV 2010) In the context of WEF-N, we need to understand the realms of sociopolitical and economic interests and the impact of each component on one another. In other words, it is extremely critical for all stakeholders to be aware of all the intricacies, as the solution to this problem is multi-faceted. The complexity is also related to the triggering mechanisms and linkages between the components of the WEF-N, as scarcity or mismanagement in one realm has strong complications and implications on others. A good strategy to approach this complexity is to think about the WEF-N at various levels (Tok E. et al, 2013). How to make it work? ● Employ and develop communication resources to be acquired in WEF-N ● improve careers opportunities assuring a broader access to senior professionals, male/female, Media and communication agents ● improve on development communication tools in the basic WEF-N areas where often only theoretical approaches prevail, supplying media and communication agents with resources to understand interconnectedness, changes and challenges, etc. ● promote the reflection on the concept of stakeholder democracy, "Citizens as partners” and “Media as Partners” for WEF-N and sustainable development, involving media and communication agents to make partnership visible and accountable at policy-making and at all level of society ● analyse development communication practices and strategies of institutional and informal communication, generating information of quality, public debate and opinions on the keys issues, contributing to the generation of a relevant information to feed public debates and raise opinions (Rio principles, access to information, justice and participation, etc.) ● contribute to the development of media and communication professional agents of reference at local, national and regional levels. 6. References and web links - The Bonn 2011 Nexus Conference (16-18 November 2011). The Water, Energy and Food Security Nexus – Solutions for a Green Economy - Messages from the Bonn2011 Nexus Conference, 2011, http://www.water-energy-
  7. 7.     7 - (including a video message) - Rockstrom, J. (2009): Let the environment guide our development ml - Hoff, H. (2011). Understanding the Nexus, Background paper for the Bonn2011 Nexus Conference: The Water, Energy and Food Security Nexus. Stockholm Environment Institute, Stockholm - Mohtar, R. and Daher, B. (2012). Water, Energy, and Food: The Ultimate Nexus - - Tok, E., Affandi, T. and Abdelrahman, R. (2013) Sustainable Development and Water-Energy-Food (WEF) Nexus: A Qatari Perspective Doha/Qatar - The Water Food Energy Nexus - an animation by SAB-Miller - Ibrahim Zahreddine, A. (2006) Participation, partnership for good governance, non edited paper, UAB, Barcelona - Ibrahim Zahreddine, A. (2007) Competencies and resources in social communication for local sustainable development, Diagnosis and perspectives - The case in Morocco. ISBN 84-8014-549-8 - (Mediterranean Media for Sustainable Development – MEDEV ) - Statistics Authority and Diplomatic Institute (2012) The Millennium Development Goals for the State of Qatar, Goal (7): Ensure Environmental Sustainability", Doha