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The water–energy–food–land–climate nexus: Policy coherence for sustainable resource management in Sweden


“The concept of a ‘nexus’ across issues regarding the management of natural resources has gained increasing academic attention in recent years, but there is still relatively limited research on the application of the nexus approach for evaluating policies. This study analyses coherence among the main goals of five policy areas (water, energy, food, land, and climate) in Sweden, drawing upon a desk review, expert assessment, and interaction with stakeholders. The main objective is to enhance understanding of opportunities and challenges posed by such a nexus, understand policy interactions in Sweden, and provide insights into the use of policy coherence analysis as an integral part of resource nexus assessments. The analysis reveals synergies and conflicts between policy goals. For example, Sweden’s environmental quality objectives (EQOs) regarding land and all the goals regarding water are either synergistic or neutral. Likewise, climate policy goals are well aligned with the goals regarding energy and ground water quality. On the other hand, the key goal for agriculture, which is food production, is the least coherent with those of the other policy areas. There are conflicts between the EQOs and goals regarding agricultural and forestry production. Stakeholders also indicate that climate goals are treated with higher priority than the goals of other policy areas. Notably, some interactions between policy goals are synergistic or conflicting depending on the context or their interpretation. Implementation of existing goals depends on relevant stakeholders’ interests, priorities and interpretations, and on existing prevailing discourses in society, often supported by higher level policies.”

(Citation: Blicharska, M., Smithers, R.J., Kuchler, M., – The water–energy–food–land–climate nexus: Policy coherence for sustainable resource management in Sweden – Environmental Policy and Governance – DOI: 10.1002/eet.2072 – (Open Access))

© 2023 The Authors. Environmental Policy and Governance published by ERP Environment and John Wiley & Sons Ltd.
This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial License

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