Water Science for Impact conference, Wageningen University

The Water Science for Impact conference was held at Wageningen University from 16th – 18th October. One of the major themes of the conference was the Water-Energy-Food-Ecosystem nexus, which included presentations, panel discussions and interactive group work on topics such as stakeholder engagement, modelling the nexus, and translating the nexus concept into action. Tamara Jackson presented the ACIAR SDIP program, in the context of demonstrating local level improvements to the food, energy and water nexus, and then exploring the wider questions we have now in terms of how this fits into the wider food system.

It was very interesting to see what others are doing in the Food – Energy – Water nexus space, and several projects were explored that focus on the nexus at different levels, from quantifying the global interactions between food, energy, water and GDP, to basin scale work and local case studies. There is much to be learned from these existing projects in terms of stakeholder engagement, approaches to priority setting and modelling, integrating qualitative and quantitative approaches, and communication of results for impact. There is also the possibility to continue to contribute our experiences from within South Asia.

There was quite a lot of discussion on what the value of the nexus approach is, in terms of what it adds that alternative approaches do not. Participants agreed that the key value in taking a nexus approach is that it gives all sectors equal importance; that it focuses on the interactions and by doing that can expose synergies and opportunities for moving forward; and that it provides space for different stakeholders to interact over common issues that they might normally not, fostering the search for common ground.

For more information, please contact Tamara Jackson (tajackson@csu.edu.au)

Working to understand how to align Water - Energy - Food nexus research approaches with policy objectives.

Working to understand how to align Water - Energy - Food nexus research approaches with policy objectives.

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