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Journal Article

Mapping the complexity of the food-energy-water nexus from the lens of Sustainable Development Goals in China


Zhang,  Junze
External Organizations;

Wang,  Shuai
External Organizations;


Pradhan,  Prajal
Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research;

Zhao,  Wenwu
External Organizations;

Fu,  Bojie
External Organizations;

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Zhang, J., Wang, S., Pradhan, P., Zhao, W., Fu, B. (2022): Mapping the complexity of the food-energy-water nexus from the lens of Sustainable Development Goals in China. - Resources, Conservation and Recycling, 183, 106357.

Cite as: https://publications.pik-potsdam.de/pubman/item/item_26943
The nexus approach offers an important heuristic tool for the sustainable management of resources by considering the links among different sectors. The food-energy-water (FEW) nexus corresponds to links among the three of seventeen United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), namely SDG2 (No Hungry), SDG6 (Clean Water and Sanitation), and SDG7 (Affordable and Clean Energy), and their interlinkages have a direct or indirect impact on other SDGs. However, there is still a lack of a systematic and quantitative analysis of how the nexus approach could promote achieving SDGs. Here, taking China as a case, we built an expanded FEW nexus framework from the lens of SDGs, which consists of six sectors, including food (SDG2), water (SDG6), energy (SDG7), economic (SDG8), consumption and production (SDG12), and forest (SDG15). We quantified the two-way interactions between the six sectors by the panel vector autoregressive (PVAR) model. Results indicate that sectors exhibit different response characteristics (positive or negative) in their interactions, and these responses could change over time. These results imply that changing the priorities of actions may be an effective measure to transform trade-offs into synergies. Moreover, the contribution of different sectors to each other varies considerably, with economic growth (SDG8) generally having a higher impact on changes in the FEW nexus than consumption and production patterns (SDG12). Our research suggests that strengthening the quantitative assessment of two-way interactions among the FEW nexus has crucial implications for leveraging nexus approaches effectively to achieve sustainable development for all.