Why a “water-energy-food-ecosystems” nexus approach to foster transboundary cooperation?
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Every transboundary river basin or aquifer presents specific management-related challenges,
and making a coordinated response to various pressures is beyond the means of
water management alone. For example, among the intersectoral challenges that call for coordinated
solutions across sectors and borders are: flooding and sedimentation, water scarcity and
pollution, unsustainable land use and agricultural practices, suboptimal use of existing infrastructure
and impacts of new infrastructure, inefficient use of resources, and degradation of ecosystems
and their services. Various drivers of change, economic strategies and sectoral policies result in
pressures and impacts on water resources, and water management does not always have an influence
on such factors.
A “nexus approach” to managing interlinked resources has become recognized for its potential
to enhance the closely interlinked aspects of water, energy and food security by increasing
efficiency, reducing trade-offs, building synergies and improving governance, while
also protecting ecosystems. A common ground for compromise needs to be found to effectively
address trade-offs between development and environment protection, and also between diverging
interests of riparian countries and economic sectors. At the same time, applying a nexus
approach can bring mutual benefits between energy and water efficiency, and also helps to
establish coherence between sectoral policies.
With a better understanding of the benefits for different sectors and the implications of sectoral
developments for water resources, nexus considerations also provide a more solid basis for equitable
water allocation between various uses in watercourse-sharing countries.
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