The Energy-Climate-Food Security Nexus: Developing a multi-stakeholder deliberative governance model in Northern Ireland
The project explores and addresses the regional impacts in Northern Ireland of the global energy-climate-food security nexus. The focus is primarily on global energy availability and climate change and their impacts on regional food security.
Led by Professor Sally Shortall, Newcastle University, working with Prof John Barry, Queens University Belfast.
The energy-climate-food security nexus is characterised by complex interactions and uncertainty. It is not amenable to solutions limited to any one technical approach or academic discipline.
‘Solutions’ applied in one domain, such as energy, may exacerbate climate change, and contribute to degradation of water and agricultural resources. Nexus problem-solving is often a contested process involving diverse and competing stakeholder perspectives and interests. It therefore requires a multi-stakeholder approach that promotes inclusive dialogue, and facilitates collaborative learning and action.
participatory scenario planning
This project will adopt a participatory scenario planning methodology to engage a wide range of stakeholders in addressing the regional impacts of the global energy-climate-food security nexus.
Scenario planning methodology is appropriate to contexts involving uncertainty. It does not aim to predict the future, but explores plausible futures, facilitating adaptive responses
and contingency planning. It lends itself to multi-actor participation, encourages ‘thinking about the unthinkable’ and strategic policy innovation.
This approach is increasingly being used regionally within the global South, but to date, it appears not to have been developed in the global North. The project therefore represents an opportunity to pilot multi-stakeholder, participatory scenario planning to address nexus issues in a global North context, and to provide a framework for similar initiatives in other regions of the UK and Ireland.
The project will be structured around a series of stakeholder workshops that will bring together a cross-disciplinary team of researchers with stakeholder representatives from the Dept. of Agriculture & Rural Development NI, farmers, Ulster Farmers Union, rural development and community networks, food retailers and processors, environmental NGOs, elected political representatives and special policy advisers.
Given that women are notably underrepresented in farming, farm support and agricultural policy-making roles, stakeholders will be encouraged to nominate women representatives wherever possible.
The workshops will: analyse data regarding global changes in climate and energy supply on NI regional food security; develop a range of plausible future food system scenarios, and identify risks associated with these scenarios; develop policy proposals and contingency plans to build regional adaptive capacity and enhance resilience across the range of potential scenarios; and establish an ongoing network of stakeholders and researchers addressing regional food security in light of emerging nexus challenges.