FAPESP and the Sustainable Development Goals

Book proposes strategies to help cities cope with climate change

Book proposes strategies to help cities cope with climate change

Researchers discuss 17 case studies conducted in the Americas, Asia-Pacific and Africa involving ways to implement integrated management of water, energy and food (image: Gerd Altmann/Pixabay)

Published on 03/13/2023

By Maria Fernanda Ziegler  |  Agência FAPESP – Cities all over the world are growing. Urbanization in conjunction with climate change has become a problem that urgently requires innovative solutions. Cities must be sustainable and resilient to assure social inclusion and improve the quality of life for their inhabitants. At the same time, they are in the front line of the global changes needed to face the challenges and threats of climate change.

To analyze these issues, 56 researchers have produced a book entitled Water-Energy-Food Nexus and Climate Change in Cities (Springer, 2022) and presenting 17 case studies that show how an integrated approach to the management of water, energy and food can help urban areas cope with climate change.

The book resulted from studies supported by FAPESP and the Belmont Forum via three projects (17/50425-9, 17/17796-3 and 15/50132-6).

The Belmont Forum is an international funding effort established in 2009 as a partnership of research funding organizations, international science councils and regional consortia committed to the advancement of interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary science.

“Urban areas have always been drivers of economic development, but they can’t survive without ecosystem services to provide basic inputs such as water, energy and food. Governing the water-energy-food nexus in cities is one of the greatest resource challenges of our time, as cities consume large amounts of these inputs. Proper management of this nexus can also generate relevant alternatives with which to tackle climate change,” said Leandro Giatti, one of the book’s editors and a professor at the University of São Paulo’s School of Public Health (FSP-USP).

The book’s 17 chapters focus in turn on projects and problems in the Americas, Asia-Pacific and Africa, highlighting urban nexus issues and proposing solutions for decision makers to deal with the social, economic and environmental consequences of the siloed governance of water, energy and food, and the implications for achieving the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) set by the United Nations as part of its 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

“The book advocates new ways of managing decision-making in government and the private sector. A broader vision is needed because a solution that appears to be right for the energy sector, for example, may create new problems in food production or water resources,” said Lira Luz Benites Lazaro, a researcher at FSP-USP and also one of the book’s editors.

Climate change is already affecting cities and making them deadly traps for many people, Lazaro noted. In addition to environmental disasters such as landslides, drought and flooding, the problems include shortages of water, energy and food.

“Identifying, planning, implementing and monitoring the measures required to address these problems is one of the most crucial challenges facing the world right now. In particular, it’s vitally important to integrate responses, policies and governance across the various sectors involved in water, energy and food production and consumption,” she said.

“These issues were very palpable during the pandemic, but cities have continued to prefer traditional approaches to the problems caused by natural disasters and public health emergencies. We need new ways of thinking about solutions, and the book discusses a number of these by presenting pilot projects that address the water-energy-food nexus in an integrated manner.”

As explained by the editors in the preface, the nexus approach involves a multidimensional scientific investigation that seeks to understand the implications for cities of the complex and non-linear interrelationships and interdependencies among water, energy and food in the context of climate change. It proposes to reduce the trade-offs among development goals to generate benefits that encourage sustainable development and contribute to the achievement of the SDGs, especially SDG 11 – making cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable – and SDG 13 – taking urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts. 

“The theoretical part of the water-energy-food nexus has advanced a great deal in recent years, but all this must be put into practice – hence the importance of the book, which describes projects that have been implemented in many parts of the world,” Lazaro said.

Water-Energy-Food Nexus and Climate Change in Cities can be purchased as an e-book for USD 129.00 at: link.springer.com/book/10.1007/978-3-031-05472-3


Source: https://agencia.fapesp.br/40893