The nexus across water, energy, land and food (WELF): potential for improved resource use efficiency?

Water, land and energy resources are all crucial contributors to food security. As a result of growing natural resource scarcity, the inter-connectedness of these sectors has become more apparent, as evidenced by growing tradeoffs and the incipient search for cross-sector efficiencies. Proactive engagement by the water, energy, land and food (WELF) sectors with important roles for national governments and international bodies is required to holistically assess and promote investment options that co-balance benefits across different sectors. Nexus assessments need to consider both human well-being and environmental outcomes, that is, the environment has to have ‘a seat at the table’ for nexus analyses. Outcomes must also be evaluated for the poor, whose well-being is tightly interrelated but often in conflict with maintaining environmental integrity. The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) represent a globally significant test for the implementation of nexus thinking.