2. Water-Energy-Food Nexus

Research Institute for Humanity and Nature(RIHN)

Future Earth


Water-Energy-Food Nexus

The demand for water, energy and food is expected to increase due to future growth in population and improvement in living standards. FAO estimates that world food production should increase by 70 percent in order to feed the world population, which is expected to increase by 90 percent in year 2050. Related to this, demand for primary energy sources such as oil, coal and natural gas will increase 50 percent by 2035 ; and world water demand is forecasted to exceed a sustainable supply by 40 percent by 2030 . In order to avoid risk to food production due to decline in water supply, securing new water resources by developing new energy sources has become an utmost challenge. Further energy demand due to a lack of water resources, however, will result in trade-offs and conflicts between water, energy and food resources, political unrest that will inhibit economic growth or enhance environmental degradation.

In this case, the nexus between water, energy and food is a complex problem that is likely to degrade the human environmental security. As such, this concern should not be treated as an issue separated from a society of different stakeholders.

The “Human-Environmental Security in the Asia-Pacific Rim of Fire- Nexus of Water, Energy and Food” is a project that aims to establish a new approach that will enhance the security of the human environment, reduce the vulnerability of the water, energy, and food, and address the trade-offs and conflicts between food, water and energy resources.

On the 16th to 18th of November 2011, the world meeting associated with this project, the “International Conference on Water, Energy and Food Security Nexus- Solution for the Green Economy" (known as Bonn Nexus Conference), was held in Bonn, Germany. The German Federal Government Economic Cooperation Development Ministry organized the meeting in preparation for the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Conference (Rio+20) to pioneer the construction of the nexus’ platform in the world.

Following this, on March 3 – 7, 2014, Water, Food, Climate and Energy Conference will be held in the United States at North Carolina University Chapel Hills. The conference is hosted by the University’s Water Institute and will be participated by RIHN’s Human-Environmental Security in the Asia-Pacific Rim of Fire- Nexus of Water, Energy and Food Project Team to contribute to information sharing that will help build the nexus platform in the world.



Stockholm Environment Institute: Understanding the Nexus
Messages from the Bonn2011 Conference: The Water, Energy and Food Security Nexus –Solutions for a Green Economy