Mitigating risks and vulnerabilities in the energy-food-water nexus in developing countries: Summary for Policymakers.

Jeremy Wakeford, Candice Kelly, Sasha Mentz Lagrange

Sustainability Institute Projects recently completed a year-long research project entitled “Mitigating risks and vulnerabilities in the energy-food-water nexus in developing countries”, funded by the UK’s Department for International Development. The project was led by Dr Jeremy Wakeford, an Extraordinary Senior Lecturer in the School of Public Leadership and currently a Macroeconomist at Quantum Global Research Lab in Switzerland, and included contributions by Candice Kelly, Sasha Mentz Lagrange, Florian Kroll, Luke Metelerkamp, and Dr Tarak Kate.

The report analyses global nexus interconnections (such as the dependence of food systems on energy at every stage of the food value chain) and identifies key drivers, which include economic and population growth, resource depletion, environmental degradation, climate change and globalisation. The study also delved into more detail by analysing the nexus in three case study countries (Malawi, South Africa and Cuba), which represent different levels and types of economic development and ‘socio-metabolic regimes’ (agrarian, industrial and agro-ecological).

A wide range of mitigation strategies, policies and measures are put forward that can help developing country governments to manage the nexus more effectively. These include ways to strengthen institutions, governance and policy coherence, as well as technical measures to boost resilience and sustainability of energy, food and water systems and to accelerate a transition to green economies.