Event Reports

International Workshop Water-Energy-Food Nexus

by Daniela Diegelmann, Dr. Franziska Fabritius

Implementation in the Maghreb

The Nexus recognizes that the Water, Energy and Food sectors are inextricably linked and that actions in any one of these areas usually impact upon the other. Thus, these complex and intricate links require a suitably integrated approach to ensure global food and water security as well as sustainable agriculture and energy.

Organized by the recently installed Regional Program Energy Security and Climate Change in the Middle East and North Africa (REMENA) of the German Foundation Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung (KAS) in collaboration with MEDRC Water Research and the International University of Rabat (Morocco) on their campus, the two-day workshop aimed to stimulate dialogue, promote shared understanding and explore how success stories might be replicated and applied to Maghreb countries. More specifically it aimed to share best practices bridging the gaps between governments, researchers, communities and industry/business sector, and discuss the right way to improve policies in the Maghreb region by a Water Nexus perspective in order to create opportunities to achieve the SDGs.

Water resources are particularly limited and vulnerable to pollution and weather extremes in the Maghreb countries. Yet, environmental protection is still considered partly in conflict with population and economic growth. The integrated perspective provided by the WEF Nexus may help meet the needs of water use, by stimulating appropriate investments in the Maghreb region, on the basis of consistent and effective water policy and water governance, renewable energy and food security.

The workshop highlighted several aspects of the Water-Energy-Food Nexus: Water regulation and policies, Water resources and sustainable development goals (SDGs), desalination coupled with renewables, wastewater treatment, sustainable energy resources, integrated energy-water planning, energy efficiency, solar and wind energy potential, water use efficiency and water productivity in agriculture. It also emphasized the significance of adopting effective education and communication plans to introduce the concept of Nexus at community level as to make relevant interventions better entertained by local-level end-users. These topics were presented against a backdrop of case studies from the Maghreb countries and also the state of play of the nexus approach in the Maghreb countries together with regional case studies from Jordan and Palestine. Participants from governmental institutions, research institutes, universities, and private sector attended that meeting, as well as a representative from the Union for the Mediterranean (UfM) Secretariat.

The first day of the workshop was divided into five sessions, with the first being on the Institutional Perspective of WEF Nexus Concept in the Maghreb, followed by the research perspective, then regional case studies from Palestine and Jordan, and finally case studies from the Maghreb countries. The second day was dedicated to working group discussions under the direction of engaged leaders from across the Nexus sectors in the Maghreb countries. The working groups (water, energy and food/agriculture perspectives of the nexus) discussed a number of key questions such as: the economic benefits for stakeholders and companies to adopt a perspective for water management in the Maghreb region, investment in infrastructure for nexus projects, technical capacities needed for relevant institutions, the barriers hampering the adoption of a cross-sectoral perspective and institutional settings necessary for such perspective, public policies to be promoted, issues to be addressed in order to improve governance and collaboration among stakeholders and between stakeholders and governments, in order to fully tap into the economic growth potentials of the Maghreb region, and finally the required institutional, legislative/regulatory, technical, economical initiatives to implement the WEF Nexus in the Maghreb countries.

The main recommendations are as follows:

  • Organize training courses and capacity building activities on the nexus for specific groups (policy makers, researchers, students),
  • Elaborate nexus indicators that are adapted to each Maghreb country,
  • Encourage the use low cost technology that minimizes energy cost,
  • Produce a joint position paper/ policy brief to resume the main recommendations and lessons shared during that workshop (Declaration of Rabat),
  • Establish a network of WEF nexus experts: This was the 1st tangible output of this workshop and the initial members are the participants who attended and participated in the debates of that workshop and expressed their willingness to join it:
This network will share information and gets updated regularly. It will be also involved in a regional workshop covering the whole MENA region to be held in 2018. The network will be also a potential platform for networking and submitting joint projects proposals to regional programs. In addition, this network will discuss further implementation of activities such joint training or capacity building activities, and also coordinating with other regional initiatives led by the UfM Secretariat, the Arab League, UN-ESCWA.

Report of the workshop provided by MEDRC Water Research


Daniela Diegelmann

Daniela Diegelmann bild

Policy Advisor International Dialogue Programs

daniela.diegelmann@kas.de +212 5 37 67 04 13/14 +212 5 37 67 04 15
Partner MEDRC Water Research