American Univesity of Beirut

The Water-Energy-Food (WEF) Nexus in the Arab Region: Dynamics, risks and the way forward by Professor Waleed K. Zubari

​​Professor Waleed K. Zubari, Water Resources Management expert from Arabian Gulf University, Bahrain, visited FAFS (November 9) and delivered the lecture: The Water-Energy-Food (WEF) Nexus in the Arab Region: Dynamics, risks and the way forward.

In his presentation, Professor Zubari ​provided a briefing of the status of the water, energy, and food in the Arab region, and identified some of the WEF nexus crucial inter-dependencies, dynamics and associated risks using a number of case studies from the region. He explained the strong interlinkages between water, energy and food (WEF) systems in the Arab region and how these are intensifying as the demand for resources increases with population growth and is exacerbated by changing consumption patterns, low management efficiencies, and the impacts of climate change. While these conditions constrain the ability of existing systems to meet increasing demand reliably and affordably, the dynamics of the three sectors pose substantial risks to sustainable development and resource security in the Arab countries.

Professor Zubari highlighted current initiatives that adopt the WEF nexus approach in the region, and offered recommendations to enhance the adoption of the WEF nexus approach in governance, institutional frameworks, research and technological innovation, and capacity building and training. He emphasized the importance of coordinated policy formulation among the three sectors: conventional policy and decision making in ‘silos’ must give way to a nexus approach that reduces trade-offs and builds synergies across the three sectors using integrated planning and management.

​Zubari called urgently bridging the knowledge gap of the WEF nexus at both national and regional levels, emphasizing the need for active research and institutional and individual capacity development. This can be more effective through encouraging collaborative, focused applied research and development on the nexus, forming regional research teams and alliances. Understanding and quantifying the WEF nexus inter-linkages, analyzing its cross-sectoral interactions, trade-offs and risks will ensure policy coherence and integration, reduce trade-offs and builds synergies across the three sectors.

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