7-8 JUNE 2017 / Tour & Taxis / Brussels

Water-Energy-Food Nexus

More than 70% of water resources are used for agriculture, industrial and residential purposes, but also for power generation. Feeding a growing population requires a sustainable food system and optimising water resources through innovative solutions. Many developing countries face problems related to lack of access to reliable, affordable energy services. Crucial daily tasks – from cooking food to dispensing health care and education, can be extremely difficult or even impossible to accomplish. Many countries need to retain water in their dams and reservoirs to serve the needs of agriculture and also to produce electricity. Even regions rich in hydrocarbons need water as part of the energy production process, and this in turn often results in heavy water pollution. Lack of energy limits access to clean water, weakens food security and undermines development. These competing demands for water supply generate conflict situations and disputes leading to an increase in disputes over trans-boundary water flows.

Population and economic growth increase the demand for water, while climate change is affecting both the amount of water available and the pattern of its seasonal availability. In the face of these challenges, only the integrated management of inter-linked resources of land, water and energy can lead to sustainable food production and preserve the delicate balance of fragile ecosystems.

The EU insists on a holistic approach towards the sustainable development goals adopted by the post-2015 agenda to ensure enhanced cooperation across borders to address in a sustainable way the water-energy-food security nexus. Innovative solutions and closely coordinated policy-making around the Water-Energy-Food Nexus will result in benefits for all, starting with securing a sustainable future for our planet.