Engaging stakeholders in water-energy-food-environment systems assessment and planning

A FutureDAMS guide

Engaging stakeholders in water-energy-food-environment systems assessment and planning‘ is a guide to considering development options with a broad range of stakeholders. Central to the approach is the belief that the best outcomes for meeting meet water, energy, food and environment needs will be achieved through participatory stakeholder engagement. The guide proposes a 5-step process for producing recommendations about WEFE infrastructure, informed by the FutureDAMS modelling and assessment tools and the collective knowledge, experience and perspectives those with a stake in river-basin planning. It outlines best practice in stakeholder processes and the pitfalls to avoid. 

We believe the guide’s 5 step process has the potential to create the most rigorous assessment of WEFE infrastructure, produce recommendations which have the widest societal support and identify how to maximise benefits whilst minimising negative impacts.

The guide essentially advocates a political process of bringing stakeholders together who have different interests and may disagree about what the priorities should be, and what development solutions are. Dams, and other water infrastructure, have far-reaching consequences. Whilst some dams are undoubtedly national icons, the infrastructure has a long history of controversy with unfulfilled economic impacts, significant displacement of people and wide-ranging negative environmental and climate consequences. Planning of the nexus therefore requires rigorous and inclusive process. This will likely create debate, but it is through discussion that a widely-accepted consensus can be forged or a solution found that genuinely maximises benefits whilst minimising costs.

Our approach is underpinned by the idea that better decisions will be generated if a broad range of stakeholders are included in a genuinely participatory manner to allow for a holistic, system-scale consideration of development options David Hulme

Principal Investigator, FutureDAMS