Benefits of specialization have come at the risk of creating silo approaches which in their own right can be effective, but within a complex system can result in inefficient resource use and lost opportunities. This raises the need to elevate innovation from the actual implementable solutions towards the approaches taken in planning development responses.
The urban nexus seeks to facilitate an integrated system of interventions designed to address resource efficiency, particularly concerning water management, energy supply, and food security at the local level. Pressure arising from rapid urbanization underscores the need for cities’ capability to address these issues at present, while setting up infrastructures for long-term solutions. Thus there is a need to maximise resources while minimizing trade-offs in implementation through involvement of different stakeholders and coordination among relevant agencies. Most critically this involves an understanding of systems and flows of resources, and specifically resource cycles and placing value on resources particularly waste.
Drawing from these, the ICLEI Africa Secretariat is implementing a pilot project with the German Development Cooperation agency (GIZ) on “Operationalization of Nexus approaches in metropolitan regions” beginning early 2014. This is part of a larger project led by the ICLEI World Secretariat, and also implemented in India by the South Asia Secretariat. The pilot in Africa is likely to take place at a school in the Kinondoni district of Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, which will serve as the setting for the project. The experience derived from the project seeks to serve as a microcosm of local government realities surrounding decision-making and project implementation, while presenting the opportunity for environmental education to future leaders and innovators. Watch this space for more information and updates over the next 6 months!