An integrated water-energy-food-livelihoods approach for assessing environmental livelihood security

J. Duncan, Eloise M. Biggs, Bryan Boruff, E. Bruce, A. Neef, K. McNeill, F.F. van Ogtrop, B. Haworth, S. Duce, Julia Horsley, Natasha Pauli, J. Curnow, Y. Imanari

Research output: Contribution to conferenceAbstractpeer-review


Environmental livelihood security refers to the challenges of maintaining global food security and universal access to freshwater and energy to sustain livelihoods and promote inclusive economic growth, whilst sustaining key environmental systems' functionality, particularly under variable climatic regimes. Environmental security is a concept complementary to sustainable development, and considers the increased vulnerability people have to certain environmental stresses, such as climatic change. Bridging links between the core component concepts of environmental security is integral to future human security, and in an attempt to create this bridge, the nexus approach to human protection has been created, where water resource availability underpins food, water and energy security. The water-energy-food nexus has an influential role in attaining human security, yet little research has made the link between the nexus and livelihoods. In this research we provide a critical appraisal of the synergies between water-energy-food nexus framings and sustainable livelihoods approaches, both of which aim to promote sustainable development. In regions where livelihoods are dependent on environmental conditions, the concept of sustainable development is critical for ensuring future environmental and human security. Given our appraisal we go on to develop an integrated framework for assessing environmental livelihood security of multiscale and multi-level systems. This framework provides a tangible approach for assessing changes in the water-energy-food-livelihood indicators of a system. Examples of where system applications may occur are discussed for the Southeast Asia and Oceania region. Our approach will be particularly useful for policy-makers to inform evidence-based decision-making, especially in localities where climate change increases the vulnerability of impoverished communities and extenuates environmental livelihood insecurity.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 2015
EventAmerican Geophysical Union Fall Meeting 2015 - San Francisco, United States
Duration: 14 Dec 201518 Dec 2015


ConferenceAmerican Geophysical Union Fall Meeting 2015
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CitySan Francisco


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