A fast track towards sustainability in the Water-Energy-Food Nexus

GWSP Scientific Steering Committee members Richard Lawford and Claudia Pahl-Wostl (GWSP Co-chair) are the principal scientists of the newly launched Future Earth cluster activity on “Sustainability for Water, Energy, and Food through Integrated Water Information and Improved Governance”. It is one of the eight newly launched Future Earth initiatives to support global sustainable development. The GWSP International Project Office will coordinate this cluster activity.

The main objective of the cluster activity is to develop a plan for research and application activities in order to improve the sustainability of water resources and the essential productivity of energy and food systems, and advance integrated application of sustainable development principles in the Water-Energy-Food (WEF) Nexus at all scales.  This new research agenda would rely on Earth observations and derived integrated water information, further development and mainstreaming knowledge and decision-support tools, and the application of good governance and management principles to enable the achievement of Sustainable Development Goals in the water, energy, and food sectors with a specific emphasis on the WEF Nexus. In this cluster activity, information on water and land will be used to explore the potential integration between water, energy, and food and to identify the decision-making pathways needed to promote sustainability across these sectors.

This cluster activity is a follow-up of two recent GWSP events on the Water-Energy-Food Nexus: The joint workshop by GWSP, The European Space Agency (ESA), and the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) “Earth Observations and the Water-Energy-Food Nexus” which took place in Rome in March 2014, and the successful international conference “Sustainability in the Water-Energy-Food Nexus - Synergies and Tradeoffs: Governance and Tools at various Scales” which was held in Bonn in May 2014.

Organizations who will be directly involved in the activity are:

  • Global Water System Project (GWSP)
  • Global Land Project (GLP)
  • Earth System Governance Project (ESG)
  • World Climate Research Programme/ Global Energy and Water Exchanges Project (GEWEX)
  • University of Amsterdam, Netherlands
  • University of Osnabrück, Germany
  • Group on Earth Observations (GEO)
  • European Space Agency (ESA)
  • University of Tokyo, Japan
  • Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO)
  • Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, US Department of Energy
  • National Aeronautics and Space Agency (NASA)
  • International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI)
  • International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD)
  • Fraunhofer-Institut für Optronik, Systemtechnik und Bildauswertung