Not Another Nexus? Critical Thinking on the New Security Convergence in Energy, Food, Climate and Water

Working Paper
  • Published 27/11/14
  • ISBN: 978-1-78118-206-2

STEPS Working Paper 75
by Shilpi Srivastava and Lyla Mehta

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In recent years, the notion of the nexus has gained immense traction in the domain of natural resource governance. It has captured high interest across academic, policy and popular debates, and has become the defining vocabulary to understand the interlinkages between land, water, food and climate. Driven by the alarmist rhetoric of uncertainty and scarcity, the nexus thinking is often couched in the language of security. This paper focuses on critical perspectives on the securitization of water, land, food, energy and climate change debates and the implications of the nexus for policy making and natural resources management.

What are the drivers of this nexus re-thinking? Who is driving this debate of the nexus and to what ends? What do these debates tell us about the character of the development ‘industry’ and the political, ideological and institutional logics operating within it? What are the challenges of this nexus formulation, what spaces may open up for addressing issues of equality and justice? In October 2012, the STEPS Centre and SOAS organised a colloquium that set out to explore and address some of these questions. This paper draws on the critical insights from this meeting and explores some of the fundamental ways to unpack the nexus formulation and address the challenges therein.