Urban Environmental Management
The FEWW Nexus
Food - Energy - Water - Waste


rom an urban perspective, environmental management is a complex policy mix that requires the connection and coordination between a number of issues and the urban entities responsible for those issues. Nowhere is this more true than the nexus between food, energy, water and waste - four key resources that ultimately define Much of a city's lifestyles and consequent environmental problems.

This feature brings together the four themes under the FEWW Nexus that GDRC has been working on, in order to explore the interconnectedness and cross-cutting issues between them. Click on each of the four themes to explore the work done.

The thinking behind the FEWW nexus construct is straightforward - each of the four issues influence, and are influenced by, the other three issues.


The FEWW Nexus

Operationalizing concept of sustainability (or, for example, the SDGs) at the local level requires us to look at sustainable development - consumption and production - from a cyclical perspective. Ultimately, developing and implementing multi-stakeholder policies should help us achieve sustainability, targeting all aspects of our everyday lifestyles.

Nowhere is this more true, for example, than in the nexus between food, energy, water and waste - four key resources that help us define and better understand much of our daily lifestyles and consequent environmental, social and economic problems that they generate. These four issues are prime examples of problems the will help us in operationalizing a sustainable economy.

Cities and towns - human settlements in general - form the perfect laboratory for us to understand many of the consumption and production patterns that eventually result in the myriad of global environmental problems we face. Central to facilitating these systems are the economic management systems of food, energy, water and waste - each dependent on and influencing the others.

Besides the inherent interconnectedness between themselves, the four issues form the key starting points for a city's contribution to the global environmental problems that we are facing today - directly and indirectly: Climate change, biodiversity, desertification, et. al

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Contact: Hari Srinivas -
More than one million people are added to the world's cities each week, and by the year 2000 over a half of the total world population will be urban. This will put further pressure on existing food, energy water and waste systems in the world's cities.

With water and wastewater treatment plants running 24 hours a day, this can account for more than 30-40% of a local government's energy consumption.

GDRC calculated Tokyo's ecological footprint (the land area needed to obtain the resources required for everyday life). It turned out to be almost three times the land area of Japan as a whole!!

An important theme related to the FEWW issues is that of which GDRC covers in its Urban Environmental Management programme

What would be the role of different stakeholders in the FEWW Nexus? How can they ensure the security of the FEWW themes?