The increasing scarcity of environmental resources and competition among forest, water, food and energy coupled with the ever-growing population and climate change pose a serious threat to natural ecosystems. In an effort to provide an integrated approach towards forest conservation as well as energy, water and food security within the broader context of climate change and variability, this study sought to undertake a literature and data review to provide a critical analysis and synthesis of the baseline and trends of the forest- water-food- energy security nexus in East Africa. The study adopted a nexus-based performance index approach to evaluate the multi-directional impacts of forest, food, water and energy resource use and conservation. The study revealed an urgent need of a holistic approach to harness the forest-water-food-energy security nexus for the realization of the sustainable development goals. It also stresses the need for emphasis on improving food and energy availability, access to water, electricity and clean fuels, and water sustainability. The study also revealed that the region is suffering from water scarcity due to the low level of utilization of available fresh water resources for irrigated agriculture. This is further compounded by inadequate distributions of rainfall and the changing climatic impacts on the hydrological regimes in the region, thus necessitating improvements in water governance. The region was also found to be severely food insecure and a net importer of food due to the low level of utilization of available fresh water resources for irrigated agriculture and inadequate water governance. Overall, the study revealed the high interdependence, synergies and tradeoffs between the components that were considered separately hence the need for consideration of nexus approach as a priority. Policy recommendations are also highlighted to address the challenges hindering sustainable forest, water, food, and energy development and management in the region.
Sustainable Development Goals
Okumu, B., Kehbila, A. G., & Osano, P. (2021). A review of water-forest-energy-food security nexus data and assessment of studies in East Africa. Current Research in Environmental Sustainability, 3, 100045. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.crsust.2021.100045