Participatory Processes and Integrated Modelling Supporting Nexus Implementations

  • Alex Smajgl


Policymakers and donors are increasingly requesting researchers to investigate the water, food, and energy nexus. This is largely due to the investment risks in the form of unintended side effects causing trade-offs between these three highly connected sectors. Applying nexus approaches requires researchers to step from a pure conceptualisation of the water, food, and energy nexus to nexus implementations that effectively inform policy and planning processes. Nexus implementations, however, come with two major challenges. One challenge is the development of diagnostic and analytical tools that may be applied to (at least) three sectors in an integrative way, which would allow us to investigate cross-sector dynamics. The second challenge is concerned with stakeholder engagement during the implementation, as nexus-related decision making processes involve competing sector interests. Facilitating evidence-based policy negotiation demands research processes to effectively bridge science and a highly contested policy space. This paper explores solutions for these two challenges and presents new and refined approaches to support the implementation of the water, food, and energy nexus in real world planning and policymaking contexts. Nexus implementations can utilise agent-based modelling to simulate possible nexus trade-offs. Bayesian approaches, on the other hand, can quantify probabilities of expected outcomes. Despite the increase in analytical complexity, stakeholder learning and policy uptake can be achieved through participatory processes, using various types of process designs. Robust monitoring and evaluation of research process designs is paramount for improving our ability to effectively implement complex nexus approaches in applied policy contexts.


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Copyright information

© United Nations University Institute for Integrated Management of Material Fluxes and of Resources (UNU-FLORES) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Mekong Region Futures Institute (MERFI)BangkokThailand

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