Blog Posts

The Nexus, Resource Conflicts and Social Justice Workshop


Professor Steffen Boehm gave a speech in The Nexus, resource conflicts and social justice workshop’ organised by the Nexus Network on 29 February 2016 in the Institute of Development Studies, Brighton, UK.

For a detailed information about the workshop and the Nexus Network, please visit the link.


In recent years, the notion of the nexus has gained traction in the domain of natural resource governance. It has become the defining vocabulary to understand the inter-linkages between land, water, food and climate.

Since the 2008 World Economic Forum pushed key players to be concerned about water, food and energy security and their inter-linkages, the nexus has become a strong policy metaphor to address the ‘world in crises’. The nexus has also brought in new players such as global corporations, who are now taking a keen interest in addressing water, climate change and energy risks. Driven by narratives of scarcity and uncertainty, the ‘nexus’ is increasingly framed in the language of security.

The aim of this workshop was to stimulate debate between diverse stakeholders on these contested issues and create the opportunity to tease out the academic, civil society activist, business and policy challenges as well as develop research agendas around the themes of the nexus, resource conflicts and social justice.


The workshop was structured around the following questions:

  • What are the on-the-ground challenges of integration across food, water, energy, climate etc. across diverse political and geographical scales? How is nexus thinking being picked up in bureaucracies, institutions and scientific bodies, especially in the global South where capacity to deal with data/ knowledge challenges can be limited?
  • Can ‘nexus thinking’ be used to achieve social justice in resource management?
  • How are competing trade-offs and their associated resource conflicts dealt with across local and national scales?
  • What does it mean to securitize water, food, energy and the environment/ climate? Is this securitization enhancing local people’s wellbeing and rights or is it allowing new actors to increase the insecurities of poor and marginalised people?

While ‘nexus thinking’ has highlighted the importance of integration across diverse sectors, debates have tended to be abstract. The purpose of this workshop is to ground these debates and hammer out the implications for local resource users.


Speakers for the event included: