About this Research Topic
Focusing on the interaction between climate change, land, water, energy, and the food security nexus and the policy measures needed to address the challenges.
Water, energy, and land resources fundamentally support food security, poverty reduction, human livelihoods, and wellbeing, as well as sustainable development. These sectors, which can be dubbed as the water, energy, land, and food (WELF) nexus, are represented by the United Nations (UN) Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) 2, 6, 7, and 15. With increasing pressure on these resources from diverse land-use patterns, the synergy of these sectors has become more apparent. Global forecasts point to escalating demands for water, energy, land, and food substantially over the next decades, mediated by population growth, urbanization, and climate change inter alia.
The sustainable management of the water, energy, land, and food nexus is essential to realizing the Sustainable Development Goals, and vital to achieving our global goals on climate change mitigation and adaptation, biodiversity conservation, and preservation, as well as land degradation neutrality. However, increasing demands and competing interests related to the water, energy, land, and food nexus makes it necessary to enhance our current management approaches.
Climate change poses the greatest threat to agriculture and food security in the 21st century, especially in the majority of poor, agriculture-based countries of sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) with their low capacity to effectively cope.
Water and food security represent core issues in the context of climate change given that they are susceptible to climatic fluctuations. Moreover, the projected increases in global temperature will translate into significant decreases in freshwater resources and agricultural production by the close of the 21st century. As we approach the final decade of action of the sustainable development goals (SDGs), there is an urgent need to understand the dynamics of local climate and requisite response to climate variability and change in the context of the food-water-energy nexus. This is more so because developing countries are confronted with aggravated challenges to their social and economic development due to the compound effect of the coronavirus pandemic intersecting with existing climate changes. Given that climate-induced extreme events are projected to increase in frequency and intensity, novel measures are required.
Furthermore, the dwindling of water resources is driven by factors such as population growth and escalation in global food demand. Whilst only seven countries were classified to be suffering from water-stressed conditions in 1955, this had increased to 20 in 1990, with 2/3rds of the global populace projected to face water stress by 2025.
The impacts manifest on land in the form of increasing food insecurity, desert conditions, and spikes in incidences of floods and famine. In parts of the world such as Africa where a large section of the populace depends on climate-sensitive livelihoods like forestry, agriculture, water, and fisheries for survival; the urgency of viable approaches to mitigating the impacts of climate change on the food-water-energy nexus cannot be overemphasized. This requires a sound understanding of the impact of climate change on food-water-energy resources and a suite of policy choices and investments, and managerial changes to address them.
This Research Topic considers the effective adaptation and mitigation policies and strategies to minimize the impact of climate change on the food-water-energy nexus and their diverse implications and manifestations on land. Several adaptation measures that address climate variability and build upon improved land and water management practices have the potential to reinforce resilience in the food-water-energy nexus.
This Research Topic is part of a 3-part collection.
(1) Climate Change, Land, Energy and Food Security: Perspectives from Sub-Saharan Africa
(2) Cross-cutting Issues in the Water, Land, Energy and Food Security Nexus: Perspectives from Sub-Saharan Africa
Keywords: food security, Sub-Saharan Africa, climate change, SDGs, water security, energy security, sustainable development, WEF nexus
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