This conference is organized by the OCP Policy Center in partnership with the Barcelona Centre for International Affairs (CIDOB), King’s College London and Texas A&M University. The main objective sought by the organizing committee is to bridge the gap between science and policy in the field of water resources management in global dry-lands. The water-food-energy nexus requires a comprehensive strategy in terms of policy-making and the challenge for policy-makers can only be addressed through a multidisciplinary approach. This is precisely what this conference is about. It will gather high-level international experts from different backgrounds to discuss the impacts of climate change and water scarcity with a special focus on the Middle East, Africa and the potential solutions in the fields of agriculture, water management, agro-business and energy.
Approximately two billion people live in arid countries. One third of the global population will be most affected by water scarcity and climate change. Efficient management of water resources for food and energy production in global dry lands is a developmental challenge that requires holistic approaches. The water-food-energy nexus approach highlights that food, water and energy security are inextricably linked and that any decision in one of the three sectors has consequences for the other. Nowhere else this nexus is as evident as in global drylands. Energy will be required to pump, treat and desalinate water for domestic and agricultural purposes. Water will be required to produce energy. Such management challenges call for a nexus approach to broaden the analysis from a mere ‘blue water’ focus to the more efficient use of soil moisture (‘green water’) and sustainable policy options.
The conference provides analyses and recommendations on how to address the nexus in Global Drylands, particularly in the Middle East and North Africa. New theoretical approaches are discussed such as energy-water footprints and how to tackle quantitative data gaps that underpin the nexus approach. Other topics include the role of technology and innovation in supporting the better use of water resources for food and energy production, the impact of climate change on water resources and agricultural productivity, improved supply chain management, logistics and inputs, and the role of ‘ancient farming techniques’ like terraced fields in preserving water resources. Another area of interest relates to policy relevant issues such as the enablement of farmers in drylands to realize nexus ideas, hydropolitics and the administration of cross border water resources, and the role of multinational cooperation and institutional reform in dryland countries to govern water for food and energy production.The conference is the first in a series of related conferences and research initiatives with which the OCP Policy Center, the Barcelona Centre for International Affairs (CIDOB), King’s College London and Texas A&M University want to address this pressing issue of our time. Papers of the conference will be published in a special issue of the International Journal of Water Resources Development in spring 2015. At the same time a follow up conference will be held in Barcelona that will explore the cooperation potential between dryland countries and regions with tropical agriculture, most notably Latin America and Sub-Saharan Africa. Further information can be found on the website of the OCP Policy Center at http://www.ocppc.ma/ .