The South African National Research Foundation (NRF) and NWO granted two projects in the first call for proposals of the Cooperation South Africa-The Netherlands research programme. The projects target solutions that balance trade-offs and amplify synergies between the food, water, and energy sectors while simultaneously preserving the environment.

One of these projects is Nexusing Water, Energy and Food to Increase Resilience in the Cape Town Metropolitan Region whose principal investigators include CST Co-Director, Prof. Mark Swilling. This research is concerned with improving the capacity of urban residents, the economy and public authorities to prepare for, cope with, and learn from, the resource crises affecting Cape Town. An ongoing water crisis has led to citywide water-rationing, the city has witnessed several power blackouts due to an energy crisis, and food insecurity is endemic in low-income areas. These challenges are increasingly complex and require better coordination among multiple stakeholders from the energy, water and food sectors. Applying a ‘Water-energy-food nexus approach’, this project explores how such coordination could be organized to support Cape Town’s resilience strategy.

In 2019, the Cooperation South Africa-The Netherlands programme was launched. This programme falls under the Merian Fund at NWO. The Merian Fund is a fund for international cooperation with important (emerging) science countries. The common thread within the Merian Fund is international research to promote the achievement of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals worldwide.