The water energy and food security nexus was one of the core themes on the agenda of the 13th WANI meeting, held in Costa Rica from 10-14 October.
Each year the IUCN Global Water team meets to discuss progress and set new strategic directions for the water programme portfolio, in particular the Water and Nature Initiative (WANI).
“Taking the regional and global learning from WANI projects forward into a new proposal ‘WANI+’, will allow to build on valuable existing knowledge whilst fine-tuning WANI’s strategy to new realities such as the water energy and food security nexus”, said Mark Smith, Director IUCN Global Water Programme.
The focus on the water nexus stems from global trends such as population growth and rising economic prosperity which are expected to increase demand for energy, food and water. These changes risk compromising the sustainable use of natural resources, in particular watersheds, wetlands and floodplains. The health of these ecosystems will be vital in ensuring future global energy and food needs are met, and therefore in safeguarding economic development.
“Governments are recognizing the need for new approaches addressing the interconnections within the water, energy and food security nexus. WANI+ will be well placed to support these approaches, benefitting from its local to global reach and experience in water resource management and governance” added Rocio Cordoba, IUCN Water Coordinator Mesoamerica, Mexico and Caribbean region.
Part of the water and energy debate is the issue of dams. This topic was continued from last year’s WANI meeting, following the review of the recommendations of the World Commission on Dams. James Dalton, Adviser IUCN Global Water Programme, presented the progress on dams, saying that “we have been able to develop our thinking on dams over the last 12 months and are developing a new strategy which allows us to place both build and natural infrastructure forward as solutions to water resource management and energy provision”.
Aside from the business days, the annual WANI meetings include an IUCN project site visit allowing the global Water team to interact and learn from project site managers and communities. This year a field trip was organized to the Sixaola River Basin where IUCN is working on climate change adaptation and improvement of water governance capacity in this watershed region between Costa Rica and Panama.
“IUCN is working in the Sixaola with communities and plantation growers on the environmental threats they face, which include invasive fungi, flash floods, deforestation and climate change,” said Ariel Amoroso, IUCN project manager.
The Sixaola transboudary river project is part of the German funded BMU project ‘Good Water Governance for adaptation to climate change’ and the SDC funded ‘BRIDGE-Building River Dialogue and Governance’ project, to help communities and governments in ensuring the application of ecosystem-based adaptation and improved governance of transboundary river basins.
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