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Agora to be held on ”Water-Energy-Food Nexus and Environmental Sustainability: Choices, Compromises and Priorities” on the occasion of the 13th ESIL Annual Conference on “Global Public Goods, Global Commons and Fundamental Values: The Responses of International Law”, Naples, 7–9 September 2017

The water-energy-food nexus is a theoretical concept describing the mutual interconnections between the complex systems of these resources. Its purpose is to develop solutions mitigating and promoting synergies able to maintain and further elaborate sustainable development. Currently there are numerous challenges this area necessary to face and policymakers all over the world struggle to balance between different priorities such as minimizing the ecological footprint of human activities, satisfying the needs of the constantly growing population, and in order to fulfill Sustainable Development Goals set. While water is a vulnerable and valuable resource in itself, its importance for, and connection with, energy and food security cannot be understated. The over-exploitation of fresh water resources by both the energy and agricultural industry is one example of competing uses. Similarly, energy is needed for water sanitation and farming. Finally, nutrition is vital for livestock breeding, biofuel production and the maintenance of labor. Despite this factual indivisibility, regulatory solutions continue to be isolated and sectorial. Although some of these can be regionally effective, without thoroughly analyzing wider impacts they are likely to be counterproductive with respect to global sustainability. 

This panel invites contributions on the W-E-F nexus, under the following themes: 

  •  Water-Energy-Food Nexus: Implications for Sovereignty Principles, Self-Determination and Global Public Goods;
  • Water-Energy-Food Nexus: International Trade and Investment Law Dimension
  • Water-Energy-Food Nexus: Agriculture, Farmer Rights in the light of Human Rights, the Protection of the Environment and Democracy 
  • Water-Energy Linkage: Perspectives of a Water-Efficient Energy Production; 
  • Water-Food Linkage: Water-Food Security and Water-Food Safety in the light of the Sovereignty and Global Public Goods; 
  • Water-Food Linkage: Anthropogenic Forcing of Agriculture Causing Climate Change and Water Scarcity;
  • Energy-Food Linkage: A Dangerous Race for Land, Water and Capital. 

This call is open for senior and junior academics, as well as practitioners of international organizations and NGOs working in these areas. The objective is to optimize research impact of our participants by engaging the different communities of practice in law, political science, bioengineering, climatology, hydrology or environmental science in this interdisciplinary field of sustainability, energy and environment. 

The result of this workshop will be three-fold: 

  1. relating the forward-thinking academic work to the on-going policy dialogue, 
  2. preparing a special issue for a relevant peer-reviewed journal or a book collection on “Water-EnergyFood Nexus”,
  3. and enhancing the dialogue between the different academic disciplines through creating an inventory of the different theories and methodologies with a view to the specific research, teaching and publication environments. 

Publication opportunities: 

The ESIL Interest Group on International Environmental Law will seek for publication opportunities of a Special Issue on Peer-reviewed or US Law Journal. In any event, IG on International Environmental Law has already an established agreement to publish the results of the agora and workshop in one of the Routledge Publishing (New-York/London) multidisciplinary book series on “Global Law and Sustainable Development” ( and “Transnational Law and Governance” ( 


All Members of the Interest Group on International Environmental Law, the members of other ESIL IGs and also the non-ESIL members (ESIL membership might be required if the abstract is selected) are invited to submit abstracts. 

Evaluation Criteria: 

Abstracts will be selected for inclusion in the “International Environmental Law” IG agora proposal at the main conference on the basis of their alignment with the agora description and objectives as well as the overall coherence of the agora. The IG will organize an interest group workshop if the proposal was not accepted or, in case the agora will be accepted and depending on the time and available resources, an agora and a workshop will be both organized. 

Please note: the submissions will automatically be considered for participation in the separate workshops of the IG International Environmental Law held during the year and at the Annual Conference. 


The following must be submitted to by 24th January 2017 

  • The author’s name and affiliation;
  • An 700-word abstract [Word file and PDF] 
  • The author’s CV, including a list of relevant publications;
  • The author’s contact details, including email address and phone number; 
  • Whether the author is an ESIL member; and 
  • Whether the abstract should be considered for the ESIL Young Scholar Prize. 

Multiple abstracts from the same authors will be considered, but only one can be selected. Co-authored multidisciplinary papers are also welcomed. Submissions may be in either English or French. Applicants will be informed of the selection committee’s decision no later than 28th January 2017. The Interest Group is unable to provide funding for travel to and attendance at the conference. Please see the ESIL web site for information on finances and for other relevant information about the 2017 Annual Meeting.