The water-energy-food nexus in Latin America and the Caribeean. Planning, legal framework and priority interconnections.
This paper analyzes the water-energy-food (WEF) nexus in Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) focusing on the current state of the art; planning for nexus implementation; harmonization of the regulatory framework and the identification of priority interconnections for the region.
Based on a review of the theoretical background to the nexus concept and its current global configuration we consider the main aspects of the WEF nexus to establish and move forward the debate in the LAC region. It is further contemplated, other specific relevant elements for that purposes, such as the nexus link with the Sustainable Development Goals (ODS); the financial aspects related to nexus components and the nexus in the risk society. The paper then discuss different nexus features in LAC while identifying the main challenges for implementation, harmonization with the human rights legal framework and national legal priorities for water use.
In making a brief description of the different interconnections (water /energy; water /food; food/power) we identify and discuss those which may result critical for the region in nexus implementation. Among the interconnections that should be prioritized we found: agriculture/food; irrigation modernization and aquifers overexploitation; hydropower, oil and mining, water and sanitation services and biofuels. Science has provided evidence on the extraordinary importance of these interconnections but priorities, planning and legal frameworks play a key role in integrating and putting them into practice.
We conclude that nexus approach has hardly been considered in a region where it can be useful to transform the current development model, natural resources use-intensive, but unsustainable. We finally draw some conclusions followed by a series of institutional, organizational and sectorial recommendations for nexus implementation in the LAC region.