Published on Jul 20, 2016

Two members of the Earth System Governance network recently gave keynote addresses at the Water-Energy-Food Nexus Symposium in Osnabrück, Germany, organised by the Sustainable Water Future Programme. This symposium focused on exploring governance for the water-energy-food nexus.

Earth System Governance Lead Faculty member Dr. Louis Lebel (Chiang Mai University), gave an address on “nexus narratives”, exploring the power of narratives in shaping meaning, actor roles and conflict in environmental governance. Louis’ presentation focused on the Mekong region which is one of the most contested arenas for water-energy-food interactions in the world. Earth System Governance Research Fellow Dr. James Patterson (VU University Amsterdam), gave an address on “sustainability transformations”, exploring the meanings and implications of this emerging research and policy agenda. His address surveyed different schools of thought on sustainability transformations, focusing on governance and politics dimensions. Prof. Joyeeta Gupta (University of Amsterdam), member of the Earth System Governance Scientific Steering Committee, chaired a session on “politicization and securitization of the water-energy-food nexus”.

Members of the Earth System Governance network and the SWFP. Left to right: Prof. Antje Bruns (Germany), Prof. Joyeeta Gupta (The Netherlands), Dr. Louis Lebel (Thailand), Prof. Claudia Pahl-Wostl (Germany), Dr. James Patterson (The Netherlands).

Members of the Earth System Governance network and the SWFP. Left to right: Prof. Antje Bruns (Germany), Prof. Joyeeta Gupta (The Netherlands), Dr. Louis Lebel (Thailand), Prof. Claudia Pahl-Wostl (Germany), Dr. James Patterson (The Netherlands).

The conference involved vibrant and stimulating discussions on the governance and politics of the water-energy-food-nexus, which is an emerging research arena focusing on interactions and interdependencies between the water, energy, and food sectors. It highlights that solving problems in any individual sector is not possible without considering deep interactions with the other sectors. This poses tremendous challenges and opportunities for governance.

The Symposium was organised by Prof. Claudia Pahl-Wostl, Prof. Antje Bruns, and Prof. Anik Bhaduri of the Sustainable Water Future Programme. The Sustainable Water Future Programme builds on the previous Global Water System Project (2003-2015), and is a hub for science and governance for global water sustainability.