This day will show that the management of environmental resources guided by a nexus approach can support the sustainable and economic feasible intensification of biomass production.
Demography is changing rapidly, but the degree of change generally differs between developed and developing countries. In more developed countries, societies are often shrinking and aging whereas in many developing countries the population is growing. Demographic changes are related to increased environmental resources uses, housing demand, labor force, food preference and lifestyle, adaptation to new technologies and systems. This session focuses on strategies to address challenges for sustainable resource management posed by population growth: In 2011, the world’s population reached 7 Billion. Roughly one of eight suffered from chronic hunger in the period from 2011 to 2013. Despite of all efforts, the number of undernourished people is constantly on the rise because of population growth, limited resources availability and environmental degradation. It is expected that 9.6 Billion people will be living on our planet by 2050. How to feed an increasing and more demanding world population – while reducing GHG emissions from agriculture – is therefore one of the greatest challenges in the 21st century. The increasing demand for food and animal feed competes with the rising demands for biofuel. At the same time, increasing soil and land degradation as well as the accelerating pace of conversion of fertile arable land in peri-urban areas into residential and commercial areas induces significant stress on the remaining soils of good quality. Biomass production depends not only on soil but also on water resources. The agricultural sector, the largest fresh water consumer, accounts for 70% of global use. But pollution and over-use of water resources as well as changes in historical rainfall patterns are contributing to water scarcity and therefore, impair biomass production in many regions of the world. Despite some progress, farming mainly focuses on maximization of crop yield and income. It is yet well-understood that this narrow view depletes natural capital and produces significant quantities of global greenhouse gases and other pollutants, which disproportionately affect the poor (UNEP, 2011).
OVERARCHING QUESTIONS GUIDING ORGANIZATION OF THEME 3
1. What are the implications for agricultural systems and practices of adopting a Nexus approach?
2. What are the co-benefits of adopting a nexus approach to the management of soil and land for other resources such as water and waste? How does recycling of water and waste contribute to higher resources efficiency?
3. What are the economical, institutional, regional and scientific barriers to implement farming practices guided by the integrated management of soil, water and waste?