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Opinions of Sunday, 29 September 2019

Columnist: Razak Coffie

A Water-Energy-Food nexus approach to enhancing Sustainable Development in Accra

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The increase in global population and the number of people living in cities has put a lot of pressure on water, energy and food (WEF) resources in cities across the world.

In some African cities, inadequate access to WEF has already contributed to rationing of water and energy, increased the cost of living and contributed to poverty and inequality.

With climate change exacerbating the situation, there is the need to shift from strategies that focus on the different sectors separately to one that is cross-sectoral in nature.

The EnsureWEF Project

The “Enhancing the sustainability and resilience of African Cities using a Water-Energy-Food Nexus Approach” (EnsureWEF) is one of several projects supported by the Leading Integrated Research for Agenda 2030 in Africa (LIRA 2030 Africa) programme.

The project seeks to enhance the sustainability and resilience of Accra (Ghana) and Kampala (Uganda) through integrated and participatory knowledge generation, application and governance using a WEF-nexus approach.

It is being implemented by the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) -Water Research Institute (WRI) and will run for two-years (2019-2021). Partner institutions include the Land Use and Spatial Planning Authority (Ghana), Elite Consult (Ghana), University of Pretoria (South Africa), Kampala City Authority (Uganda), University of Nairobi, Multi-Media University, Environmental Sustainability and Poverty Alleviation Group (ESPAG) and the Co-operative University, all in Kenya.

Co-design workshop for WEF stakeholders in Accra

To establish contact with, and engage relevant WEF stakeholders in the Accra city in the EnsureWEF project, a two-day co-design workshop was organised at the CSIR-Science and Technology Policy Research Institute (STEPRI) on the 25th and 26th July, 2019.

Addressing the participants of the workshop, the Director of the Water Research Institute of the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), Dr. Mike Osei-Atweneboana, emphasised on the significance of food, water and energy to life’s existence and urged all present to put in their maximum best to ensure the success of the project.

He asked government agencies to refrain from working in silos but team up to enhance the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in the country.

According to him, key sectors within the country’s development agenda, particularly the water, energy and food sectors were extremely critical, hence the need for team work.

On her part, the Project Coordinator of the EnsureWEF project, Dr Fati Aziz, enumerated the importance of WEF resources and emphasised on the need for a nexus thinking.

According to her, the WEF Nexus approach aims at better understanding the links between the WEF sectors in order to improve planning and development, thereby contributing to poverty reduction and improving well-being.

“By accounting for the complex interdependencies between water, energy, and food systems, the WEF Nexus can support decision-makers in managing resource trade-offs across the different sectors” she added.

Dr. Aziz indicated that she was optimistic the project would contribute to achievement of the SDGs.

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