Understanding the conceptual frameworks and methods of the food-energy-water nexus at the household level for development-oriented policy support: A systematic review

In Environmental Research Letters
Volume (Issue): 16
Peer-reviewed Article

This paper undertakes a systematic review of the literature to understand current trends in the food–energy–water (FEW) nexus for development-oriented policy support. The paper follows
three steps: (a) a bibliometric analysis of FEW nexus research, (b) a content analysis of FEW nexus research, and (c) development of a framework that fills existing gaps in FEW nexus research. The review found that FEW nexus approaches have gained ground in academia as a resource management tool and policy guide; however, the process does not have a robust conceptualization. The current FEW nexus approaches focus on national, regional, and international scales of analysis to understand the three sectors’ interactions. Further, these approaches underline the nexus processes, which have been researched in detail, including synergies and tradeoffs. However, research on the FEW nexus has not adequately explored the social factors that form part of the nexus, especially at the local household scale. Factors such as the gender dynamics of resource ownership, work roles at different scales, household incomes, and culture are essential components that are yet to be explored in FEW nexus research. Most of the existing frameworks on the FEW nexus overemphasize models and the quantitative measurement of processes while paying limited attention to social aspects. Still, these social aspects are crucial, especially on the household scale; therefore, to overcome these gaps, this paper proposes a FEW nexus framework at the local household scale that includes socio-economic determinants.