Annual Report 2015: Knowledge generation and use

Fresh Approach to Food, Energy, and Water Nexus Proves Influential

If energy and water are subsidized to boost crop production, could it lead to more and cheaper food but a shrinking, degraded water supply? Growing crops for biofuels might promise more abundant, cleaner energy, but what happens to food security when cultivable land is diverted?

The Water-Energy-Food Security Nexus Approach, an increasingly influential concept pioneered by ICIMOD and applied in 2015 to climate change adaptation and sustainable development, is a tool to highlight precisely those questions and linkages.

The approach steers the focus away from individual sectors, which can result in competing and counterproductive strategies, and stresses an integrated perspective that identifies trade-offs and maximizes positive impact and policy coherence.

An ICIMOD article applying the approach to climate adaptation, published by Climate Policy, quickly logged over 5,200 views and became the second most-read article on the site. Another influential article applies the concept to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals in South Asia, while previous work has highlighted Himalayan upstreamdownstream linkages.

ICIMOD research is helping to lead the way towards balanced, effective strategies to improve the future of mountain people and ecosystems.