Review of transdisciplinary approaches to food-water-energy nexus: a guide towards sustainable development

Maryam Ghodsvali (Corresponding author), Sukanya Krishnamurthy, Bauke de Vries

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

82 Citations (Scopus)
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The burgeoning food-water-energy (FWE) nexus discussion for sustainable development reflects the ongoing transition from a silo-thinking to a transdisciplinary perspective in order to address challenges of the nexus practicability in real-world. Approaches to putting the FWE nexus into practice have failed to respond to the interdependent issues of resources appropriately and to devise the way societies are coordinated for such responses. Societies are critically important for advancing sustainable development and are thus placed at the center of the FWE nexus. Transdisciplinarity allows challenges to be framed and viable solutions to be found at the outset in an extensive and equal contribution of societies. This paper provides a systematic literature review to debate the current concepts and methods of the transdisciplinary research on the FWE nexus with the aim of developing a guide for socially inclusive sustainable development. Although the concept of transdisciplinarity has been widely accepted by nexus research, an explicit cognition of its practicability in real-world is still lacking, and sophisticated methodological development is required. As such, we proposed a conceptual framework to explore the potential contribution of transdisciplinarity towards linking FWE nexus practices and sustainability outcomes in real-world situations. This framework is useful in steering the management of nexus issues with integrative perspectives. Relying on the proposed framework, we made recommendations for successful transdisciplinary nexus practices. The future nexus research should be directed towards communication mechanisms and governance transition for balanced power relations among nexus actors, their representative selection, and timely involvement.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)266-278
Number of pages13
JournalEnvironmental Science and Policy
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2019


  • Food-water-energy nexus
  • Multi-stakeholder engagement
  • Social inclusion
  • Sustainable development
  • Transdisciplinarity


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