Chapter 19: A theoretical framework to address multi-level governance challenges of the water-energy-food nexus
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The nexus approach is growing in popularity to address the interconnected issues of global challenges, however, there is a lack of problematization around the concept of nexus governance, letting critical aspects for its implementation be overlooked. Multi-level governance challenges arise from the need of coordination across sectors and across scale in the implementation of nexus programmes and policies to ensure coherence and effectiveness. We review challenges and solutions regarding nexus governance in the literature and we build up a framework for ex-ante assessment of nexus governance system against the OECD structure of multi-level governance gaps and Principles for Water Governance. We define a theoretical framework to address such issues distinguishing (i) accountability gaps, (ii) administrative gaps, (iii) policy gaps, (iv) capacity gaps, and (v) data and information gaps. We identify 43 indicators that can help researchers and decision makers to identify major causes of governance gaps in the nexus multi-level system and foster/enhance vertical and horizontal coordination. Detecting governance gaps in planning stages can help reducing inefficiencies and contribute to strengthening cooperation among public and private organizations; thereby also improving the probability of successful nexus practices and improved policy coherence.

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