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Policy Brief: Improving sustainable development in the North Western Sahara Aquifer System through a transboundary nexus approach

Policy Brief: Improving sustainable development in the North Western Sahara Aquifer System through a transboundary nexus approach

This policy brief highlights the main results of an assessment of the water-food-energy-ecosystems nexus in the North-Western Sahara Aquifer System (NWSAS), shared by Algeria, Libya and Tunisia. The aquifer system is one of the largest transboundary groundwater reserves of North Africa, extending over one million square kilometres and subject to increased water demands. Improving the management of the basin’s resources and responding to challenges is of high importance for the socio-economic development of the three countries, as well as the entire region.
The NWSAS nexus assessment is the main outcome of a participatory process with two transboundary workshops and national consultations, mobilising representatives from the three countries and four sectors, in addition to multi-disciplinary local and international experts. Through a transboundary dialogue, the nexus assessment helped to identify the key interlinkages between energy, water, land and ecosystem resources, as well as potential solutions to improve their management, thus enhancing sustainability and efficiency. Implementing various solutions simultaneously and in a coordinated manner will help to achieve cross-sectoral goals while contributing to sectoral developments, by minimising intersectoral trade-offs and negative impacts, and maximising synergies.
The assessment demonstrates that implementing a nexus approach to manage the NWSAS not only has multiple benefits, but also considerable potential to support further development of transboundary cooperation. 

The NWSAS nexus assessment was carried out under the Convention on the Protection and Use of Transboundary Watercourses and International Lakes (Water Convention), implemented by the Global Water Partnership Mediterranean (GWP-Med), the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) and the Sahara and Sahel Observatory (OSS), as part of the “Making water cooperation happen in the Mediterranean” project, funded by the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida) and in synergy with the GWP Water, Climate and Development Programme (WACDEP). 


Download the Policy Brief in English, in French 

Reports “Reconciling Resource Uses: Assessment of the Water-Food-Energy-Ecosystems Nexus In The North-West Sahara Aquifer System, Part A : Challenges and solutions” and “Part B : Technical assessment of resources and sectors” are available here

Information about the assessment’s preparation process is available here