The Food-Energy-Water Nexus Approach and Its Implications to Policies and Practices

Dr Mercy Ojoyi
Dr Jean-Marc Mwenge Kahinda
Dr Kidanemariam Jembere Tiruneh
Miss Ndoni Mcunu

Dr Jean-Marc Mwenge Kahinda

Dr Jean-Marc Mwenge Kahindahas 12 years of experience in the water sector during which he developed expert knowledge in Water Resources Engineering and Management (WREM) and provision of expert knowledge in Integrated Water resources management (IWRM). He is a catchment hydrologist in the CSIR’s Hydrosciences Research Group. Congolese, he holds a PhD [UWits, ZA] and an MSc(Eng) [UZimbabwe, ZW] in Water resources Engineering and Management as well as a BSc(Eng) in Mining Engineering [ULubumbashi, CD]. The various projects in which he was involved gave him a practical hands on experience in assessing and integrating the various components of water resources management. He lectures hydrology, environmental engineering and water resources modelling in three universities of the SADC region and organised and facilitated IWRM courses for local authorities and postgraduate students.

Jean-Marc is an active member of WaterNet and an advocate with respect to application of Rainwater Harvesting in agricultureas well as in urban and rural settings. He has extensively used geographic information systems (GIS) and developed a multicriteria spatial decision support system that mainstreams rainwater harvesting in the development and management of water resources in South Africa from an IWRM perspective. Jean-Marc’s skills and expertise are in surface water modelling, water resources management, and integrating catchment water and ecosystem management processes particularly as it relates to anthropogenic activities such as agriculture. He is a former member of the Water Research Group of the University of the Witwatersrand and a co-founder of the Water Research Group of the University of South Africa.

Dr Kidanemariam Jembere Tiruneh

Kidanemariam Jembere Tiruneh has an extensive experience and qualification in developing and managing programs/projects in the areas of water/natural resources management, environmental protection and climate change adaptation. He has experience in working for/with Government, Non-Government and Donor Organizations.He is currently the Technical Advisor for Water, Climate and Development Programs of the Global Water Partnership-Africa Coordination Unit, based in South Africa. He is also managing the SADC Water-Food-Energy Nexus project. Kidanemariam is a graduate (M.Sc.) of UNESCO-IHE, Delft, The Netherlands in Environmental Science and Technology.

Dr Mercy Ojoyi

Dr Mercy Ojoyi holds a PhD in Environment and Development from the University of KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa. Dr. Ojoyi was nominated by the prestigious UNESCO L’Oreal Foundation Paris to work on her doctorate at the University of Twente, Netherlands. She holds a Masters of Philosophy degree in Environmental Science, and Honors degree in Natural Resources Management. Mercy has over 8 years’ experience with in-depth knowledge in natural resource governance, project development and implementation, landscapes research, climate change resilience and adaptation, risk analysis, statistical analysis, scenario planning and fundraising, project development.

Mercy is highly skilled in building institutional relationships with government and non-government institutions. She established a strong partnership with African Union Commission and South African Institute of International Affairs in Cape Town. Mercy has worked internationally on stakeholder engagements in the science-policy domain entailing transfer of knowledge pertaining use of technology in addressing climate change, and possible region specific initiatives with government institutions and international organizations such African Union’s Monitoring for Environment and Security in Africa Programme (MESA) and East African governments. Equally, Mercy worked as an International Researcher with Humboldt Foundation in Germany on regional to local dynamics of climate change and developed effective responses to climate impacts in Africa. Mercy currently works as the programme co-ordinator for the global land matrix initiative.

Miss Ndoni Mcunu

Miss Ndoni Mcunuis currently pursuing a PhD (Doctor of Philosophy) at the Global Change Institute at Witwatersrand University. Ndoni is also the founder & Chief Executive Officer of Black Women in Science (BWIS) a registered non-profit organization which aims to deliver capacity development interventions that target young black women scientists and researchers. She was selected as the top 200 Mail and Guardian Young South Africans, under the education sector 2016. She is a Mandela Washington Fellow 2017, selected for her contribution in Civic Leadership development in Africa for her work in BWIS.

She received an Honorary Award from the KwaZulu-Natal Province in the division of Science Research and Entrepreneurship given by the KZN Young Achievers Awards and eThekwini Municipality. She is a winner of the Gagasi FM – SHERO Award for the Science and Technology category. Miss Mcunu is in the Steering Committee for WISET. She is also a Greenmatter Fellow for her academic research in climate change and agriculture. Mcunu has been listed as the Top 50 most Inspiring Women in Tech in South Africa in 2017, which is an award issued by the Kingdom of the Netherlands and South Africa.

The 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of the United Nations are targets for global development adopted in September 2015, set to be achieved by 2030. The goals are broad and somewhat interdependent, yet each has a separate list of targets to achieve. Progress toward 12 of these SDGs is directly related to the sustainable use of resources such as land, food, water, energy and materials.

To achieve Goals 2, 6, and 7 which relate to food, water and energy resources requires coordination and coherence with all involved agencies as Food, Energy and Water (FEW) are inextricably linked in the ‘nexus’.

The nexus approach is a paradigm shift from a sector-by-sector approach to policy, science and practice, towards an approach that considers the interactions between food, energy and water, while taking into account the synergies and trade-offs that arise from the management of these three resources. The WEF Nexus approach offers a conceptual framework to systematically analyse and better understand such interactions and to work towards a more coordinated management and use of resources across sectors and scales through identification and management of synergies and trade-offs. Policy objectives in one sector are either preconditions of another sector’s objectives or impose constraints on the other sectors. Without nexus thinking, interactions between the sectors can be overlooked resulting in incoherent policy-making, contradictory or counterproductive strategies, and inefficient use of increasingly scarce resources.

Sustainable development in the Southern African Development Community (SADC) region largely depends on goods and services derived from the region’s environment and natural resource base. The environment and natural resources are crucial in countries’ effort to eradicate poverty. Livelihood strategies and food security of the poor often depend directly on functioning ecosystems and the diversity of goods and ecological services they provide. Climate variability and change with its long-term implications for social, economic and ecological systems is an inevitable and urgent challenge in the SADC region.

As the region pursues sustainable growth pathways and structural transformation, the management of natural capital and most importantly water, land and energy resources is critical. National Development Plans of Member States set ambitious SDG targets in a variety of sectors including water, food and energy. In order to avoid trade-offs and create synergies between different development agendas, integrated planning and cross-sectorial coordination is crucial. The Water-Food-Energy (WEF) Nexus approach has potential in the region in facilitating better interactions and synergies between the water, food, and energy sectors in order to unlock and optimize the development potential of the region for economic growth and transformation.

The session will explore the role of the WEF nexus approach in facilitating interdisciplinary research and in aligning development and implementation of sectoral policies. The session specifically

facilitate discussions exploring what implications will the WEF approach have for sectoral policies and practices in the SADC region.

The session is expected to clarify what the WEF Nexus approach is, and what implications does it bring to sectorally oriented  research, policy and practice in the region