Equitable access to sufficient, safe, and sustainable food, energy, and water in the face of climate change, population growth, and global health crises are critically important to our collective future, particularly in developing regions. While food, energy, and water are all interconnected—water and energy is needed for food to grow, food and water are used to produce energy, and energy is needed to produce clean water and safe food—issues are often studied and addressed in isolation. In our recent paper, we explore the state of food, energy, and water (FEW) nexus research in Guatemala to highlight progress and point out future research needs.
Our systematic literature review shows that only 20% of peer-reviewed articles and grey literature published from 2000 to 2020 focused on integrated food, energy, and water systems in Guatemala. We also identified that Guatemalan research focuses mostly on three separate, yet related spheres: clean water and sanitation, climate change and renewable energy, and urbanization and modernization.
Further expanding initiatives that simultaneously address these three spheres would yield improved understanding of the interconnected roles that food, energy, and water play in improving the resiliency of natural resources and reducing multidimensional poverty in Guatemala. For example, although Guatemala is a country with abundant water, there is variation in the seasonal and spatial distribution of water, along with access.
If FEW nexus issues are tackled in an integrated way, more equitable environmental policies will ensure that the people of Guatemala have access to sustainable resources.