Thematic Scope

SDGs and the Nexus Approach –
Monitoring and Implementation


Building on the success of the inaugural Dresden Nexus Conference (DNC) in March 2015, the second biennial DNC is planned to take place 17-19 May 2017. DNC2017 will bring together researchers and implementers (policy- and decision makers) from universities, national and international organizations, UN organizations, ministries and governmental agencies, as well as individual researchers, stakeholders from the private sector and civil society from around the world under the theme “Sustainable Development Goals and the Nexus Approach: Monitoring and Implementation”.

The Nexus Approach to the sustainable management of water, soil and waste emphasizes the interrelatedness of these three resources along with the cycle of research to implementation. DNC2015, under the umbrella “Global Change, Sustainable Development Goals and the Nexus Approach”, focused on the challenges posed by different aspects of global change (climate change, urbanization, population growth) on environmental resources management and how a Nexus Approach may help to cope with them. There was overall consensus among participants of DNC2015 that applying a Nexus Approach is key for the sustainable use of environmental resources under conditions of global change. It will, therefore, be instrumental for achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which will frame the international development agenda for the next 15 years.

While the importance of the Nexus Approach for achieving the SDGs can be deduced rather straightforwardly from conceptual considerations, the more complex question remains HOW to adopt and implement it. With the adoption of the SDGs in autumn 2015 the overall targets related to resources management are clear. Many of the SDGs are interrelated, which already points to the need for a Nexus Approach. Furthermore, the management of environmental resources is of particular relevance for goal 2 (end hunger and achieve food security), goal 6 (sustainable management of water and sanitation), goal 7 (energy security) and, representing an overarching topic, goal 11 (resilient and sustainable cities). A common theme and potentially strong integrator is therefore the need for monitoring strategies reflecting the Nexus Approach and the SDGs. These strategies and the respective data are crucial to be able to evaluate any advance towards sustainable environmental resources management and achieving SDGs and have to be a decisive component of policies and guidelines for the implementation of integrated management approaches.

Objectives and Theme

Given that sustainable resources management will be mandatory for member states in the context of SDGs, DNC2017 will focus on the contributions of a Nexus Approach to the sustainable management of water, soil and waste. The main objective will be to showcase Nexus-oriented research and case studies demonstrating the link between research and policy/implementation. Strengthening that link requires looking in depth at monitoring and implementation strategies. DNC2017 will thus address issues related to data requirements as well as data quality and efficient data management, strengthening of monitoring programmes and of feedback loops to resources management. Moreover, DNC2017 will deal with governance frameworks for integrated resources management, incentives for resource recovery and efficiency, etc. facilitating the implementation of sustainable environmental resources management strategies.

DNC 2017 will consider examples and case studies addressing monitoring and implementation strategies targeting research, education and advocacy (or any combination thereof), all of which are essential for advancing a Nexus Approach. Nexus-oriented research, policy-oriented and transdisciplinary in nature, will address critical knowledge gaps, making use of environmental monitoring data from various sources. Since the implementation of Nexus-oriented policies requires a Nexus-mindset, education (mainly at post-graduate level) and advocacy are equally important as research to ensure the sustainability of monitoring and implementation strategies.

At DNC2017 issues related to monitoring and implementation strategies will be specified and addressed both for rural as well as urban and peri-urban systems. In particular, we will consider

  • Multi-Functional Land-Use Systems
  • Resources Management in Resilient Cities

These systems are perfectly suited to demonstrate the close link between the Nexus Approach to the sustainable management of environmental resources and the related SDGs. With multi-functional land-use systems we refer mainly to resources management in rural areas and respective ecosystem services, while acknowledging the close relation to the second system considered, cities. Within both systems it is required to discuss ways how to achieve SDG 2 (end hunger and achieve food security), 6 (sustainable management of water and sanitation) and 7 (energy security), while SDG 11 (resilient and sustainable cities) explicitly addresses the urban setting. Discussing ways how the application of a Nexus Approach may help to achieve these SDGs implies focusing on monitoring and implementation strategies, while considering research, education and advocacy as outlined above.

Expected Outcomes

Addressing issues related to monitoring and implementation strategies for a Nexus Approach in multi-functional land-use systems and for resources management in resilient cities as explained above, DNC2017 aims to

  • Showcase the state of the art of adopting a Nexus Approach to the management of water, soil and waste;
  • Provide scientific evidence for – and quantification of – benefits from applying a Nexus Approach to management of water, soil and waste resources, including the identification of required data, information and indicators;
  • Identify knowledge gaps and priorities for research, education and policy advice related to integrated management of water, soil and waste;
  • Identify needed individual and institutional capacities and appropriate strategies for implementation of a nexus approach, incl. creating incentives and removing barriers to unlock the potential of a green economy.