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Early warning systems for food water-energy nexus in GMS region


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Early warning systems for food water-energy nexus in GMS region

  1. 1. EARLY WARNING SYSTEMS FORFOOD-WATER-ENERGY NEXUS INGMS SVRK Prabhakar Senior Policy Researcher, IGESInternational Conference on GMS 2020: Balancing Economic Growth and Environmental Sustainability, Bangkok, Thailand. 20-21 Feb 2012
  2. 2. Food-Water-Energy Nexus“Before the world’s fossil fuels are finally exhausted, it is likely that their extraction will require an unimaginable amount of water” Gérard Velter, general manager of Veolia Water for Africa, Middle East and India“When measured in calories, the energy market is twenty times the food market. So if governments would replace only 10% of global energy consumption with first-generation biofuels, they in the same stroke would double agricultural water withdrawals” Peter Braebeck-Letmathe, Chairman, Nestle Group“The share of biofuels in total use of coarse grains is projected to increase until 2015, reaching 13%” UN FAO Agricultural Outlook 2010-2019“The area currently under cultivation is 1.5 billion hectares, so if all that extra land could be used it would represent an increase of one-third. In fact a lot of it either should be left alone for environmental reasons or would be too expensive to farm.” The Economist special report on feeding the world Keane, 2011
  3. 3. F-W-E Nexus WEF, 2011
  4. 4. Why do we need EWSs for F-W-E? Food, water and energy systems are  Finite  complexly interconnected Catastrophic consequences of fluctuations in one system effects each other  Global oil crisis of 2008  Biofuel boom during 2008-2010  Global food crisis 2008 and 2011
  5. 5. The Food Crisis [and Peace] Guardian, 2011 FAO, 2012 Did we know it was coming?
  6. 6. Reasons for Food Crisis Assumptions Marco Lagi et al., 2011Adverse weather (Drought in Australia) XLand conversion to biofuel use OShifting investor speculative focus from mortgage and Ostock markets to commodity marketsChange in dietary patterns in developing countries X Could EWSs avoided this catastrophic impact?
  7. 7. Real World Examples for EWS Energy:  European Union-Russia proposal for building a EWS for energy that simulates the supply and demand situation in the region (European Union, 2009). Food production:  Crop Weather Watch Group, India: Have failed to warn impending crop losses and couldn’t take advantage of recovering monsoon in 2004 drought.  Several other drought monitoring tools being implemented in the region including west-asia drought monitor based on USDA drought monitor. Water:  FMMC of MRC: hydro-meteorological network.
  8. 8. Issues with these EWSs Specialized: only energy or water or food Narrow based: e.g. do not consider the impact of energy prices on food Limited to hazard-mitigation approach (drought or flood forecasting) Not full-spectrum: limited to crop establishment or output and do not forecast prices
  9. 9. What an EWS Should be able to do for F-W-E? Help visualize demand and supply situation of food, water, and energy in the region on a short-, medium-, and long-term basis; Give projections on prices of food, water, and energy on an immediate and long-term basis so that countries can make preventive and proactive strategies; Help policy makers at various levels to plan appropriate crops, water usage, and water conservation practices, and how energy is produced and consumed at the regional and national scales; Help in appropriate allocation of resources for food and energy production while keeping in view such constraints as environmental health, climate change, food prices, and sustainability of resources employed; and Help develop a set of standard operational procedures to be invoked in a situation like the 2008 and 2011 food crisis.
  10. 10. SCHEMATIC REPRESENTATION OF A SIMPLE EWS FOR F-W-E Global ProductivityRegionalNational Demand for ConsumptionLocal Food/Water/Energy Export/Import Ecological/bio-physical/socio- economic/Climatic ConstraintsRegionalNational Allocation of ResourcesLocal Output (food/water/energy)
  11. 11. Determinants of Early WarningSystems How the system is defined in terms of feedback connections between different actors/components of the system. The precision with which the dynamic and static forces are quantified and represented, and Interpretation of the outcomes as against what it actually means, with implications for the institutions that use the EWS for policy purposes.
  12. 12. Opportunities for EWSs in GMS The Mekong River. The Mekong River acts as a single most important integrating factor, providing the opportunity to develop the EWS around it. Institutional system. Institutions with regional mandate such as the Mekong River Commission (MRC) could have significant impact on the way other institutions set policies and processes in managing water resources facilitating a centralized decision making system. Growing economic integration. Countries in the sub- region are increasingly integrated in terms of economic activities that is well studied (e.g., trade of goods and services).
  13. 13. Challenges for EWS in GMS Complex nature of the food-water-energy nexus. This is largely brought by the uncertainty in climate projections, future growth patterns, and changing food preferences of the people that can introduce many “unknowns” that influence the effectiveness with which the EWS can work. Poor availability of data. Real time and quality data are often a problem in the sub-region and can greatly influence the effectiveness of a EWS. Such approaches as integrated river basin level resource management using water balance models could be useful to avoid water shortages. These are data-intensive approaches and lack of quality data hinders their adoption and effectiveness.
  14. 14. Challenges Cont… Attitudinal factors of stakeholders. As with any other EWS, different actors in the region may not trust the EWS and may not consider it as a decision-making tool. Thus, there is a need for awareness generation and capacity building of different stakeholders. Poor development of regional coordination mechanisms for the use of certain common natural resources. As an example of both the solution and problem, disputes related to how the water in the Mekong River should be equitably used by various countries on upstream and downstream has not been resolved. Development of a EWS may help resolve this problem since stakeholders in the region would be able to visualize how downstream users are affected by overexploitation by upstream users, leading to amicable allocation of water resources to individual countries.
  15. 15. Off-the Shelf Approaches toMinimize Food-Water-EnergyConflicts Identification and promotion of agro-technologies that provide synergistic advantage in terms of improved productivity, profits, and climate benefits. Moving to river-basin based water resource management can enhance water use efficiency. Tapping the unrealized irrigation potential in the Basin. Improving weather forecasting systems and proper communication of the same. Improving energy use efficiency in the region can reduce demand for energy. Creating east-Asia energy community/grid can help harmonize the demand and supply patterns of energy in the region.
  16. 16. prabhakar@iges.or.jpTHANK YOU!