Photocredit: International Rivers.
..there are two key assumptions behind the nexus approach that I would characterise as: a systems approach, where the interactions between different sectors are modelled as global and regional flows, ignoring day-to day realities, local priorities and needs: and a decision-making tool based on these interactions, which provides an economic valuation of these resources and a market mechanism to efficiently allocate them.
This logic of optimisation has clear limits. It treats the trade-offs between human needs for water, energy and food as a perfect equilibrium model, in which resource allocation can be decided. This can encourage the commodification of resources, downplaying environmental externalities, such as biodiversity and climate change, as well as poverty alleviation needs.
A different framing of the nexus is required: one which recognises that global priorities may not reflect local concerns; and that resource allocations are political decisions, which need to be decided through more open and transparent decision making. The nexus must become more inclusive, so that its interrelationships can be grounded in local realities and human needs.
Read the full post on the Guardian website.