Working together to develop the water, energy and food security sectors
Programme title: Nexus project – Water, energy and food security
Commissioned by: German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ)
Lead executing agency: Ministerio de Planificación del Desarrollo (Ministry of Development Planning – MPD)
Overall term: 2016 to 2019, completed
Despite making significant progress in recent years, Bolivia is still one of the poorest countries in Latin America and the Caribbean. In 2014, 39 per cent of the population lived below the poverty line, 18 per cent had no drinking water supply system, 43 per cent had no access to wastewater disposal, 18 per cent had no a power connection, and 20 per cent were malnourished.
Since the inauguration of President Evo Morales in 2006, the Government of Bolivia has been pursuing a pro-development reform agenda. In 2015, the country defined its development goals in 13 pillars with its National Agenda 2025. The aim of this agenda is to ensure that by 2025, 100 per cent of the population has access to drinking water, wastewater disposal and power. At the same time, the country aims to bring about a massive increase in agricultural production for export and domestic food security. The amount of water available is falling because of climate change.
This is causing a conflict of interest between ministries, authorities and institutions in Bolivia’s provinces and communities: Each institution wants to provide particular support for “its” sector – be this in water, energy or food security. There is therefore a need for cross-sector planning, and this is a goal the government is pursuing at national and local level. The legal conditions for doing this have been put into place with the Economic and Social Development Plan within the framework of Integrated Development for Living Well (PDES) and the State Integrated Planning System (SPIE). However, the new laws and initiatives have not yet resulted in joint planning between the three sectors of water, energy and agriculture/food security. Institutions lack the mechanisms and internal capacity to efficiently plan and implement overarching approaches, and there are no initiatives that address the water, energy and food security sectors in an overarching manner.
The foundations for systematic implementation of multi-sectoral development measures (in the water, energy and food security nexus) have improved in Bolivia as part of the Economic and Social Development Plan within the framework of Integrated Development for Living Well (PDES; 2016-2020) and the State Integrated Planning System (SPIE).
The project takes an integrated view of the water, energy and agriculture sectors, as these are all competing for the same scarce resources. This view, also called the nexus perspective, is the only approach that will in future allow an optimal balance of interests in the use of resources, manage conflicts and human rights risks appropriately, and respect the limits of the planet’s ecological resilience.
The nexus programme in Bolivia focuses on three fields of activity:
- The first field of activity deals with developing decision-making bases for nexus policies, strategies and awareness-raising. The project team will work with partners in all three areas to draft medium-term and long-term scenarios for cooperation and joint projects. An action plan is then to be created on this basis. Close cooperation between the stakeholders from all three sectors, as well as various authorities, ministries and institutions will raise their awareness of this nexus approach.
- In a second field of activity, the project team will tackle the introduction of cross-sector coordination mechanisms. It will first analyse and evaluate existing platforms and mechanisms between the different stakeholders. The second step is to work with all partners to come up with improvements and, if necessary, new structures for cross-sector coordination.
- The third field of activity aims to anchor the nexus approach in local initiatives and projects to facilitate cross-sector cooperation. The project team will work with its partners to select two sites, and evaluate how best to implement nexus approaches there as exemplary pilot projects. Cross-sector nexus planning is to be showcased both through a multi-purpose dam and through a project that directly serves to combat poverty.