The water–food–energy Nexus – Realising a new paradigm

The water–food–energy Nexus has emerged as a new perspective in debates concerned with balancing potentially conflicting sectoral imperatives of large scale development investments concerned with energy, water or food security. Current frameworks are partial as they largely represent a water-centric perspective. Our hypothesis is that a dynamic Nexus framework that attempts to equally weight sectoral objectives provides a new paradigm for diagnosis and investigation. Dynamic refers here to explicitly understanding (or a diagnosis of) the dynamic relationships and ripple effects whereas static-comparative refers to a comparison of states before and after change. This paper proposes a balanced Nexus framework and presents results from an application to the Mekong basin. The analysis identified the advantages of a sectorally balanced, dynamic Nexus approach, in particular the ability to reveal either the emergence of cross-sectoral connections, or changes in those connections, as a consequence of single sector interventions.