DOI: 10.3390/w16060835 ISSN: 2073-4441

Water, Energy and Food (WEF) Nexus in the Changing Arctic: An International Law Review and Analysis

Zia Madani, David Natcher
  • Water Science and Technology
  • Aquatic Science
  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Biochemistry

The governance of the water, energy, and food (WEF) nexus is significant in the Arctic, where environmental changes are occurring at an accelerated pace, intensifying resource dynamics and geopolitical implications. Against the backdrop of a rapidly evolving Arctic landscape shaped by the global climate change, melting ice, and resource exploration, the WEF nexus emerges as a vital framework for understanding and addressing the region’s complex resource interdependencies. Nonetheless, legal research in this context is still in its early stages, and, specifically in the context of the Arctic, we did not find any such research. This study assesses a nexus approach to WEF in Arctic’s transdisciplinary and multifaceted environment from an international law perspective to address the intricate dynamics that shape the resilience and security of WEF resources in an increasingly interconnected and accessible Arctic. Our objective in this study is to introduce international law as an overarching network of international rules and principles, legal instruments, and relevant institutions as a starting point to address the WEF governance intricacies in the Arctic, facilitating the harmonization of diverse interests, ensuring equitable access to resources, and promoting sustainable development. We argue that international law constitutes the essential means to address a nexus approach to WEF and its issues and complexities in a transboundary context within the Arctic. By examining existing international legal frameworks applicable to the Arctic and related instruments, policies, journals, and other publications, this paper seeks to canvas how international law is in support of a nexus approach to WEF in this region.

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