The global demand for water, energy and agricultural products is continuously growing. The close interrelation (nexus) of these resources poses both opportunities and risks: Developments in one sector can negatively affect developments in the others. At the same time, coordinated approaches can provide the potential for synergies. As a result, close coordination between different sectors and actors is important. However, the political structure in most countries provides for the handling of nexus topics exclusively along subject-specific sectors. In addition, federal ministries and EU laws also strongly influence political processes. With respect to these horizontal and vertical interdependencies, it is necessary to organise the actions of various political actors from different sectors and levels through coordinated policy processes.
In this study, commissioned by the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ), adelphi analysed how coordination across different sectors and policy levels is implemented in Germany. In the first part, the study identifies general mechanisms for inter-ministerial and inter-sectoral coordination in the development of sectoral policies to handle conflicts of interests in the water-energy-food security Nexus. In the second part, the study looks at how such coordination has been achieved in the case of managing agricultural fertilisation and the amendment process of the fertiliser ordinance. In the final part, the study draws some general conclusions and reflects on the transferability of the results to other national contexts.