The Role of Quantifying Material Flows in the Governance of the Water-Energy-Food Nexus
This presentation aims at contributing to an understanding of the institutional, political and cultural aspects of nexus governance. It will be based on material from the Horizon 2020 project ’Moving towards adaptive governance in complexity’, which aims at exploring the quantitative assumptions within policy narratives on the nexus, using an approach called Quantitative Story Telling (QST). QST is a cyclical participatory modelling approach, starting with problem definition, establishing and quantifying the narrative using a social metabolism approach called MuSIASEM (Multi-Scale Integrated Analysis of Societal and Ecosystem Metabolism), then discussing the model results in terms of feasibility, viability and (crucially) desirability. Scoping interviews and thematic analysis of policy documents suggest there are different narratives around what is measured and how these metrics can be used to generate niches for nexus thinking within the European Commission policy units. In particular, we are interested in seeing whether alternative metrics and discussions catalysed by these results, can help make space for alternative modes of governance. (Asdal, 2008; Hajer, 2006; Porter, 1995)
As such, this talk will contribute to the overall aim of the session to provide a critical analysis of the role of metrics in environmental governance by directing attention to their discursive, institutional, political and material aspects.