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Photo Credits: Riccardo Zennaro/UNEP

This training is organized in the context of acquiring a better understanding of the integration of the Water-Energy-Food (WEF) Nexus that is essential for human well-being, poverty alleviation, and achieving multiple Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

As per the global projections, demand for freshwater, energy, and food will increase significantly over the next decades under the pressure of population growth and mobility, economic development, international trade, urbanization, diversifying diets, cultural and technological changes, and climate change (Hoff, 2011). Agriculture accounts for 70 percent of total global freshwater withdrawals, making it the largest user of water. Water is used for agricultural production, forestry, and fishery, along the entire agri-food supply chain, and it is used to produce or transport energy in different forms. At the same time, the food production and supply chain consume about 30 percent of total energy consumed globally. Energy is required to produce, transport, and distribute food as well as to extract, pump, lift, collect, transport, and treat water. Cities, industry, and other users, too, claim increasingly more water, energy and land resources, and at the same time, face problems of environmental degradation and in some cases, resource scarcity (FAO, 2014).

This situation is expected to be aggravated in the near future as 60 percent of more food is needed to be produced in order to feed the world population in 2050 (IEA, 2014). Projections in Africa indicate that by 2030 its population will increase and reach more than 2 billion, hence entailing a significant increase in demand of food by 60%, energy by 70% and water consumption by 283% (RES4Africa, 2019)

The inextricable linkages between Water-Energy-Food nexus require a suitably integrated approach to ensuring water and food security, and sustainable agriculture and energy production worldwide. Re-thinking food security and sustainable agriculture are crucial to describe and address the complex and interrelated nature of our global resource systems, on which we depend to achieve different social, economic, and environmental goals.

At present, the COVID-19 pandemic is also affecting food systems directly through impacts on food supply and demand, and indirectly through decreases in purchasing power and in the capacity to produce and distribute food, which will have differentiated impact and will more strongly affect the sustainable development especially in regard to the WEF nexus among the less developed nations. These unprecedented challenges in this nexus require urgently integrated and innovative solutions and business models to solve the situation.  

It is against this backdrop that the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), Africa Office Energy Unit and the Ecosystem Division (Global Programme of Action for the Protection of the Marine Environment from Land-Based Activities) in collaboration with various partners joined forces to organize a series of three online training courses focusing on the WEF nexus.  The first training that focused on the contribution of renewable energy to the WEF nexus took place on 26 March 2020, followed by the second training which focused on the contribution of Water to WEF nexus. This training took place on 16 April 2020. This third training of the series on WEF will mainly focus on the contribution of food and agriculture towards the implementation of the Water-Energy-Food Nexus.

The webinar will take place on Wednesday, 20 May 2020, 3:00 - 4:30 PM Nairobi time. Please register here

Recording of the webinar: https://wedocs.unep.org/handle/20.500.11822/32480




James Lomax has been leading efforts on Sustainable Food Systems and Agriculture at UNEP since 2009. James leads work on mainstreaming sustainable consumption and production practices from 'farm to flush' in the agriculture and food sector. He has pioneered the idea of systems thinking in the food and agriculture sector where nutrition, waste, environmental externalities, and livelihoods must be considered if a shift to more sustainable food systems is to be realized. A tropical agriculturalist by training, before joining UNEP James had a varied career in the private sector in farming, smallholder development, food processing, and export of vegetables in East Africa and large-scale agribusiness management in Southern Europe.



Jonathan Lautze is a senior researcher at the IWMI-Southern Africa office in Pretoria. He has led or contributed to a range of applied, interdisciplinary research and development projects focused on topics such as water governance, water security, transboundary water management, climate change and water, and water and health. Lautze’s development experience includes time living and working in East, West and Southern Africa, as well as in South Asia, and short-term assignments in Central Asia and the Middle East & North Africa (MENA). Lautze has previously worked for USAID and the World Bank. He holds a Master of Arts in Law and Diplomacy from the Fletcher School, Tufts University, and a Ph.D. from Tufts Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering. He is originally from northern California.



Francesco Caponetti has been working for twenty years for the development of the agro-industrial sector at an international level, with main attention to extreme regions and critical context. He is a Senior Industrial Advisor for EBRD (European Bank for Reconstruction and Development) and General Manager and member of the Board of directors for CEDIAM SA (Centre d'Etude et Developpment Industriel et Agricole du Mali). He recently published the book "Terre Marginali" Quodlibet, Italy 2019.

The webinar will be moderated by Meseret Zemedkun, Programme Management Officer at UNEP.