The Nexus between Energy, Food, Land Use, and Water
Application of a Multi-Scale Integrated Approach


  • The Nexus Assessment Project was commissioned by the Energy Team of the Climate, Energy and Tenure Division (NRC) of the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO)

    and sponsored by the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ).

The nexus-assessment website presents the results of the application of an integrated analysis approach, the Multi-Scale Integrated Assessment of Society and Ecosystem Metabolism (MuSIASEM), to the nexus between energy, food, land use and water. The developed approach was applied to three case studies: (1) An analysis of the option to produce biofuel from sugarcane in the Republic of Mauritius; (2) An exploration of the future of grain production in the Indian state of Punjab; (3) An assessment of two alternative energy sources to produce electricity in the Republic of South Africa.

This work was carried out in the context of the GIZ-funded FAO project “Application of the MuSIASEM approach to three cases in the agrifood sector (MUSIASEM)” (GCP/GLO/445/GER (GIZ)), in collaboration with the Energy Team of the Climate, Energy and Tenure Division (NRC) of the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO). This project forms part of a larger international effort to establish collaboration among public and private organizations with the aim of developing a coherent and comprehensive framework for the analysis of the Water, Energy, and Food Security Nexus in relation to sustainable development goals.

The main objectives of the nexus-assessment project were:

  1. Developing and consolidating an integrated accounting method by implementing the MuSIASEM rationale to characterize simultaneously energy, food, and water flows and their interrelations for a complex system (society) interacting with its environment;
  2. Application of the accounting method to three case studies with the aim of showing its potential to assess (a) the desirability, viability and feasibility of the actual metabolism of socioeconomic systems (diagnosis) and (b) the feasibility of development scenarios and policy options (simulation) so as to generate usefulness quantitative analysis (integrated set of indicators) for governance.


The sole purpose of the case studies presented is to illustrate the potential of MuSIASEM to analyze the nexus between water, food, and energy flows in sustainability assessments of socioeconomic systems.  The presented applications are a mere exercise and at no means are they meant to actually guide policy development.