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Solutions and investments in the water-food-energy-ecosystems nexus: A synthesis of experiences in transboundary basins


Water resources and ecosystems underpin socio-economic developments in energy and agriculture as well as in industry, tourism, navigation and other sectors. However, these developments also exert significant pressure on the environment, with impacts on the availability and quality of water. Tackling water and environment-related issues through nexus solutions means understanding inter-sectoral linkages and addressing them through coordinated action. In transboundary basins, the design and implementation of nexus solutions is a complex process that must reconcile diverse interests and sectoral needs. However, the process is a necessary one as transboundary basins account for around 60 percent of global freshwater flows.

The purpose of this publication is to support governments and other public and private actors in designing and implementing nexus solutions and investments that create synergies and provide transboundary benefits. Building on a wealth of accumulated experience, it offers policymakers and practitioners an overview of the problems that nexus solutions have helped tackle, crucial factors in their success and the main challenges encountered during implementation. It also presents lessons learned from regional dialogues that provide important insights into upscaling nexus solutions in transboundary contexts, with a focus on financing and enabling environments.

This publication draws extensively on several Water-Food-Energy-Ecosystem Nexus Assessments carried out under the Convention on the Protection and Use of Transboundary Watercourses and International Lakes as well as the experience of key partners (e.g. the International Union for the Conservation of Nature, the Global Environment Facility, and the German Agency for International Development (GIZ)) all of whom are working to promote transboundary and regional cooperation across sectors. The lessons learned from these dialogues are particularly relevant for the successful implementation of the Agenda 2030 for Sustainable Development, which requires strong cross-sectoral cooperation.