Primary resources gaps facing dryland, including access to water, food, energy, nutrition, and health care, are expected to increase with demographic, political, and climatic changes. These highly interlinked primary resources carry high risk and vulnerability. Disentangling these to better understand the complex system of systems they represent is crucial and requires multi-disciplinary work that includes the technologies, science, policies, health, communication, and economics, at both local process and system-level scales.
In 2018, the American University of Beirut (AUB) launched WEFRAH, one of the biggest research communities in the MENA region: the Water-Energy-Food Health (WEFH) Nexus Renewable Resources Initiative. This university-wide initiative led by the Faculty of Agricultural and Food Sciences at AUB includes a critical mass of faculty from across the university and the disciplines. WEFRAH’s focus is collaboration to achieve primary resource security. Its core conviction is that achieving water, energy, and food security, as well as improving health, harmonizing human activity with nature, and implementing integrated solutions all require holistic and systems-level thinking. The initiative responds to the vision of engagement and impact to strengthen collaborations between Faculties and Schools, particularly to promote interdisciplinary collaboration by nurturing a bottom-up, participatory approach within the academic institution and between the institution and its external stakeholders.