RGS-IBG Annual International Conference 2018

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280 Adaptive management and governance of the food-energy-water-environment Nexus (1): Speed Talks
Convenor(s) Kirsty Blackstock (James Hutton Institute, UK)
Pete Barbrook-Johnson (University of Surrey, UK)
Adam Hejnowicz (University of York, UK)
Chair(s) Kirsty Blackstock (James Hutton Institute, UK)
Timetable Friday 31 August 2018, Session 1 (09:00 - 10:40)
Room Glamorgan Building - Seminar Room -1.80
Session abstract The concept of the food-energy-water-environment nexus has been in vogue since being identified as part of the ‘perfect storm’ of drivers on society by the UN in 2011. It has become a narrative to try to capture and explain the systemic nature of global wicked problems; and also to provide innovative solution to these wicked problems. For some, it is an invitation to grapple with the persistence of complex socio-ecological challenges and offer a site for transformation in our relationship to the material landscapes. For others, it remains a technical challenge to be resolved through optimisation of resource use in any given landscape. As social scientists, we are interested in how institutions, governance and management lie at the heart of either approach to the nexus in specific places and spaces.

This session involves contributions from those involved in Water-Energy-Food nexus research or those trying to manage or govern the nexus in practice, asking them to reflect on the following questions:

• To what extent can the nexus be managed or governed?
• To what extent does adopting a nexus perspective improve the governance of social-ecological systems?
• Has the narrative of the nexus simulated innovative approaches or do the same fundamental governance and management challenges apply?
• Are there new actors or sites for action emerging from taking a nexus lens?
• Are new methodologies emerging from taking a nexus lens?
• What can we learn from other governance and management domains; and what can nexus scholarship offer to others?

This session will consist of grouped speed talks followed by small group discussions with the presenters. The sister session Adaptive management and governance of the food-energy-water-environment Nexus (2) will involve a workshop based around a rapid synthesis of the main points.

Linked Sessions Adaptive management and governance of the food-energy-water-environment Nexus (2): Workshop
Contact the conference organisers to request a change to session or paper details: ac2018@rgs.org
Adaptive management and governance of the Water-Energy-Food Nexus
Sally J. Watson (Mott MacDonald)
Water Resources East (WRE) is pioneering a long-term multi-sector water resources strategy for the East of England to provide a sustainable supply of water to the region for the future, for all water users, which is resilient to the effects of climate change, population growth and drought.
The region is predicted to have accelerated growth over the coming decades, which will have a significant contribution nationally, increasing the need for water, energy and food. Vulnerability analysis shows that by 2060, the region will face challenges from climate change and growth in population, impacting the environment, public water supply, agriculture and energy sectors. There are major opportunities in the region for future economic growth, food security and environmental enhancement, provided water is managed using an integrated approach.

The WRE strategy has been developed through multi-sector robust decision-making, and will increase resilience, deliver economic growth and protect the environment. The strategy highlights the need to implement the regional strategy at a catchment scale in order to maximise benefits across the public water supply, agricultural, energy and environment sectors. Implementing catchment-level interventions requires a change in governance, which is being developed through work with the South Lincolnshire Water Partnership (SLWP), a WRE stakeholder group developing an integrated water resources management plan in South Lincolnshire.

The WRE project offers an innovative approach to managing water, and the strategy will support sustainable water supplies for people, farming, energy and the environment. The strategy reflects the ‘adaptive planning’ approach of many water companies.

Understanding the potential of innovative public-private-partnerships at the Nexus
Pete Barbrook-Johnson (University of Surrey, UK)
This talk will present ongoing research exploring the role of new forms of public-private-partnerships in the governance and provision of Nexus infrastructure and services. It will consider the specific example of the South Lincolnshire Water Partnership (made up of a range of private, public, and third sector organisations) which is investigating options for multi-sector ownership and management of key water resources and assets. In addition, examples from UK energy policy, where partnerships are being used to deliver renewable heat infrastructure and pilot new technologies, will also be presented. These examples will be used to consider how innovative partnership approaches are: (i) affecting Nexus interactions, (ii) using, or not, the Nexus approach, and (iii) supporting or hindering sustainable outcomes. Finally, time will be given to describe an emerging framework which is being developed for the appraisal and evaluation of these new partnerships, including their governance and use of the Nexus approach.
Power, democracy and poly-centric governance in water management: ‘social science into practice’ in the Environment Agency
Anna Lorentzon (Environment Agency, UK)
This ‘social science into practice’ project, led by an Environment Agency social scientist, is exploring how poly-centric governance1 works in practice in the area of water management and how issues of power and democratic accountability plays out in local decision making, planning and delivery related to the Catchment Based Approach (CaBA)2. Relevant academic literature has been reviewed and the insights are being applied in three case study locations, working with catchment partnerships and supporting learning from best practice. Two key themes are being explored:
Polycentric and multi-level governance. A body of literature exist setting out the components of effective polycentric governance models, including a clear distribution of power and vertical and horizontal coordination structures (Pahl Wostl et al. 2007). The project is exploring the Catchment Based Approach (CaBA) as a polycentric system, and the partnerships’ role within this.
Power and democracy. Local partnership working adopts a deliberative model of discussion to bring about consensus. Taking a political science perspective brings power into the analysis (Fernandez et al, 2014), seeing the participator process as political. The project is looking at power in the partnerships, and how democratic principles such as accountability, representation and transparency feature in the partnership.
The findings from this work will add to the body of knowledge about ‘what works’ in multi-level governance in practice, testing and improving theoretical concepts and help inform the future of local delivery.

1 Polycentric political systems means ‘systems that have many centres of decision making which are formally independent of each other’ (Pahl Wostl et al, 2007).
2 The UK policy for delivering the Water Framework Directive emphasises local partnership working as a way to plan and deliver improvement for the water environment, set out in the Catchment Based Approach (CaBA). https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/catchment-based-approach-improving-the-quality-of-our-water-environment. 110 Catchment partnerships have been established across England and Scotland. The way the partnerships organise themselves and their focus varies greatly between localities. The recently published 25 Year Environment Plan reinforces local delivery through partnership and integration. https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/25-year-environment-plan

Fernandez, S. Bouleau, G. and Treyer, S. Brining politics back into water planning scenarios in Europe in Journal of Hydrology 518 (2014) pp. 17-27
Nousiainen, M. and Makinen, K. Multilevel Governance and Participation: Interpreting Democracy in EU-Programmes in European Politics and Society (2015) Vol 16, No. 2. pp. 208-223
Pahl-Whostl, C. Leble, L. Kneipe, C. and Nikitina, E. From applying panaceas to mastering complexity: Toward adaptive water governance in river basins in Environmental Science & Policy (2012) pp. 24-34

Decentralising the Governance of the Nexus: the challenges of politics and power in finding workable solutions to a democratic management of the landscape
Paddy Abbott (LTS International, UK)
Melvin Woodhouse (Independent)
The Shire River Basin in Malawi is a landscape that brings the nexus of food, water and energy into sharp focus: the landscape generates 90% of the country’s electricity, could be its ‘bread basket’ but is ecologically fragile. The decentralisation of government to district councils and elected Commissioners started in 2000 as part of a process of consolidating democracy, of bringing ‘citizen participation into the decision-making’. However, few sectoral authorities have decentralized functions to the local Assemblies, and traditional authorities still hold sway over communal land allocation, creating a dichotomy of power in terms of decision-making and policy mandate. We share our lessons from experience working on the food, water and energy nexus in this political and hydrological landscape. This includes bringing people together and realising the benefits of joint monitoring evidence as a tool to facilitate deliberation, and changing political economy through learning by doing ‘citizen power’.
Who is responsible for integration? Responsibility in WEEF nexus governance
Kerry Waylen (James Hutton Institute, UK)
Kirsty Blackstock (James Hutton Institute, UK)
Katrin Prager (James Hutton Institute / University of Aberdeen, UK)
Alba Juarez-Bourke (James Hutton Institute, UK)
Jessica Maxwell (James Hutton Institute, UK)
Sophie Tindale (James Hutton Institute / Durham University, UK)
Integration is a both a goal and a challenge for nexus governance. Recent research on the implementation of policy instruments governing land use in Scotland returns us to the ongoing debate about who has the mandate, authority, legitimacy and resources to govern the nexus. These questions arise in research related to taking an Ecosystems Approach; managing natural capital, enabling transformation and/or transitions; sustainable land use or integrated catchment management. Unsurprisingly, these questions also arise when seeking to govern the water-energy- environment-food nexus. Vertical policy integration is required to support horizontal intersections between the management of water and land for food or energy production. Therefore, we focus on the hierarchy of legislation, policy, instrument and operational delivery. We use empirical data on the origin and implementation of 10 instruments that act to protect soil, water or biodiversity whilst enabling sustainable land use in Scotland, to explore how coordination or integration between these instruments is, or could be, governed. Our findings suggest that further coordination is supported, however, questions around how this will be achieved remain. It is unclear both what instruments could be used, and the networks of actors that should influence and be influenced by these. Our analysis of policy instruments suggests that responsibility for taking action is often projected onto other under-resourced actors such as local authorities or individual land managers. This has consequences for uptake, accountability, delivery and outcomes, but these issues are rarely reported, monitored or evaluated. We suggest that more explicit attention is needed as to how responsibility is shifted around polycentric and multi-level governance networks. Evaluating and appraising the governance of the WEEF nexus in terms of responsibility will help to identify and implement future actions that will help improve the sustainability of socio-ecological systems.

Operationalising an ecosystem approach for NEXUS governance: The case of Natural Resources Wales
Nick Kirsop-Taylor (University of Surrey / University of Exeter, UK)
Adam Hejnowicz (University of York, UK)
Karen Scott (University of Exeter, UK)
The water-energy-food-environment nexus presents a significant governance challenge; representing a Gordian knot of entangled challenges, scales, perspectives, interests, and responsibilities. Designing and operationalising governance and management frameworks that capture and represent the different and changing dynamics of this complex and wicked system is supremely challenging. However, the Convention on Biological Diversity's 'Ecosystem Approach' (EA) is a framework that offers opportunities to tackle these wicked complexities. Based upon the twelve Malawi Principles the EA emphasizes integrated management best practice and offers a flexibility, breadth, and inclusivity that might account for the dynamics of managing complexity across the NEXUS. Although the EA's domestic impact in UK policy and practice has (historically) been minimal, this framework is now starting to be ‘re-discovered’ by devolved governance actors, such as the Welsh Government and their new natural resource management agency, Natural Resource Wales (NRW). Institutional re-alignment towards new processes, cultures, and leadership is notoriously difficult. In this paper, based on extensive qualitative interviews with NRW managers, I/we explore the challenges, synergies and path ahead for NRW in operationalising the EA framework. This paper concludes with a number of key messages, and by speculating, if deemed ‘successful’ within NRW, where else might this ecosystem approach be used to structure management across the NEXUS.

Landscaping Ecosystem Services – A Landscape-Nexus Approach: Meaning, Narrative and Integration
Adam Hejnowicz (University of York, UK)
Sue E. Hartley (University of York, UK)
Jeremy Phillipson (Newcastle University, UK)
Frances Rowe (Newcastle University, UK)
Murray A. Rudd (World Maritime University, Sweden)
Piran CL White (University of York, UK)
This talk will present work that builds on and extends recent research arguing that landscape, both conceptually and functionally, acts as a cross-cutting theme to ground ecosystem service frameworks – rendering their conceptual abstractness into a form more susceptible to decision-making processes. However, we do not simply extend these previous arguments; instead, by combining our vision of landscape with a nexus perspective (i.e., the interrelated sectors of water-energy-food-environment) we provide a new Landscape-Nexus Approach (LNA) that weaves, like a needle and thread, landscape and ecosystem services through the heart of current sustainability debates whilst at the same time bridging environmental, social, economic and political spheres. Thus, from an ecosystem service standpoint, LNA improves both its practical, policy and governance relevance as well as capacity to accommodate complex socio-cultural processes. Overall, our argument is that the LNA affords a much more far reaching, credible and tangible social-ecological scaffold upon which ecosystem service frameworks can be developed. In doing so, the talk will explore – briefly - the multidimensional concept of ‘landscape’ emphasizing its biophysical, psychological, social, cultural, economic and political dimensions. Building on this, we will introduce the concept of complexity and the nexus and develop our LNA thesis, demonstrating how it progresses beyond current ecosystem-based approaches. We will show that landscape is a co-produced and highly complex concept, and that via an LNA provides a far richer understanding of social-ecological systems and human-nature relations, improving its practical decision-making and overall policymaking relevance for natural resource governance issues across the nexus.
Multi-aspectual evaluation: an integrative approach to Nexus policies
Richard Gunton (Sciteb Ltd / CECAN, UK)
Ian Christie (University of Surrey, UK)
Adam Hejnowicz (University of York, UK)
Sue E. Hartley (University of York, UK)
The complexity of contemporary global challenges at the nexus of water, food and energy supplies calls not only for creative solutions but also for robust evaluation tools that can help refine, evaluate and improve these solutions. This talk will outline a multi-aspectual framework in which to perform such evaluations at constructive points in the policy cycle. The framework is based on the notion of distinct modalities of human relationships with the environment, as laid out in the tradition of reformational philosophy. These modalities provide axes of value that are mutually orthogonal and arguably allow a comprehensive analysis of the notion of the good. Starting from the framework’s roots in an ecological assessment tool, the talk will demonstrate how it is being developed through discussions with UK environmental policymakers into a tool for pluralistic, democratically-accountable policy-development and appraisal
Governing the Water-Energy-Food Nexus: The Role of Blockchain Technologies
Katrien Steenmans (Kings College London, UK)
Phillip Taylor (University of Warwick, UK)
Ine Steenmans (University College London, UK)
Ensuring good governance of Water-Energy-Food (WEF) nexus systems is pivotal, as these underpin human sustenance. A number of characteristics have been identified in the literature as indicators of good governance, including connectivity, participation, interdependencies, and scale. Monitoring and understanding these for interlinked WEF nexus systems presents a huge task. Blockchain technologies provide one possible solution to these challenges.

Blockchains are a distributed ledger on which data can be permanently stored so that it is open, verifiable, and cannot be modified. As a result, applications of blockchain technologies have been identified in several domains, including provenance, logistics, finance, as well as in governance. Within the context of WEF nexus systems, blockchain technologies can provide two major contributions. First, they can provide persistent identities for actors and interdependencies within WEF nexus systems (i.e. the who and what of nexus systems), which can enable accountability of stakeholders. Second, they contribute to understanding the governance system by providing data on its characteristics and behaviours. This presentation therefore concludes that blockchain technologies can have an important role in understanding
and assessing the governance of the WEF nexus.

The Role of Quantifying Material Flows in the Governance of the Water-Energy-Food Nexus
Kerry Waylen (James Hutton Institute, UK)
Thomas Voelker (Joint Research Centre)
Zora Kovacic (Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain)
Roger Strand (University of Bergen, Norway)
Jan Sindt (Climate Analytics)
Kirsty Blackstock (James Hutton Institute, UK)
In recent years we have witnessed a growing interest in the water-energy-food (WEF) nexus in both academia and policy highlighting the need to address the institutional, political and cultural dimensions of nexus policy-making (Cairns & Krzywoszynska, 2016; Stirling, 2015). The concept directs attention to three aspects: (1) the interrelated pressures created by agricultural production, water use, and energy production and consumption practices, (2) the epistemic challenges of understanding these complex and non-linear interactions and (3) to the policy problem of governing a transition to more sustainable modes of production and consumption.

This presentation aims at contributing to an understanding of the institutional, political and cultural aspects of nexus governance. It will be based on material from the Horizon 2020 project ’Moving towards adaptive governance in complexity’, which aims at exploring the quantitative assumptions within policy narratives on the nexus, using an approach called Quantitative Story Telling (QST). QST is a cyclical participatory modelling approach, starting with problem definition, establishing and quantifying the narrative using a social metabolism approach called MuSIASEM (Multi-Scale Integrated Analysis of Societal and Ecosystem Metabolism), then discussing the model results in terms of feasibility, viability and (crucially) desirability. Scoping interviews and thematic analysis of policy documents suggest there are different narratives around what is measured and how these metrics can be used to generate niches for nexus thinking within the European Commission policy units. In particular, we are interested in seeing whether alternative metrics and discussions catalysed by these results, can help make space for alternative modes of governance (Asdal, 2008; Hajer, 2006; Porter, 1995). As such, this talk will contribute to the overall aim of the session to provide a critical analysis of the role of metrics in environmental governance by directing attention to their discursive, institutional, political and material aspects.