Since 2011, the water–energy–food (WEF) nexus has become a popular term, widely deliberated upon by policymakers and scholars alike around the world. It has been referred to with different acronyms, depending upon their foci of interest: WEF for hydro-centric researchers; EFW for energy securitization policy researchers; and FEW for agrarian-based policy frameworks. By contrast, environmentalists, who like to include the variable of climate change within the nexus to use it as a primary element of research, prefer to call it the CLEW (climate–land–energy–water) nexus. This paper is an attempt to explain the WEF nexus in relation to the varied interpretations given by writers. The intricate task of unraveling the nexus and interdependency of the three variables has been taken up in this paper by delving in great detail into the criticism hurled at the term. In the process, it goes so far as to question whether the term adds anything substantial and novel to the existing literature in the field of resource securitization. Moreover, as one of the foremost criticisms of the WEF nexus, this paper will investigate the selection of elements (water, energy and food) employed, and test whether climate change, environmental concerns, livelihood issues, and population growth can be included in the nexus approach to find sustainable answers for future generations. Moreover, the relevant Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) associated with the nexus are also explored. The paper gauges the potential interconnectedness between the WEF nexus and the SDGs to assist in achieving its goals and targets, while deliberating on experts’ ideas on the subject. To enhance our understanding of this domain, Pakistan’s commitment to the SDGs and nexus will be fleetingly touched upon through a brief analysis of the Climate Change Act 2017. Furthermore, the paper investigates whether the WEF nexus is of any value considering that population, livelihood, and environmental concerns—as essential elements—have not been included. Finally, this paper will try to recommend concepts through which the WEF nexus can be improved.



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