09 July 2018 - 11 July 2018
Harare, Zimbabwe

Developing water, energy, and land nexus scenarios for the Zambezi Basin

This workshop is organized in the context of the Integrated Solutions for Water, Energy, and Land (ISWEL) project, led by the partnership between the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA), the Global Environment Facility (GEF), and the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO).

© zuhanna | Shutterstock

© zuhanna | Shutterstock

The main goal of ISWEL project is to assess cost-effective solutions to meet future water, energy and lands demands under a number of different socioeconomic and hydro-climatic pathways. The project takes a global approach but it also zooms into two trans-boundary basins facing important development and environmental challenges: Indus and Zambezi. 

To accomplish its main goal, a next-generation of tools is now in development and are being linked together into a systems analysis framework, which will be suitable to model and quantify synergies and trade-offs for meeting water, energy and land demands across scales. To ensure that project tools and outcomes contribute to developing capacities and knowledge for nexus management, significant efforts are being allocated to engage with a wide range of stakeholders, particularly within the basins. To this end, a number of workshops have been planned in each basin with the purpose of:   

  • Identifying country and basin challenges, priorities, and trade-offs in relation to water-energy-land nexus
  • Build a range of stakeholder informed scenarios of water-energy-land futures to gain understanding of the consequences of different decisions and what opportunities exist to maximize sectorial and trans-boundary co-benefits
  • Support the development of regional capacities in nexus research and management


This workshop is the second out of three stakeholder meetings planned in the Zambezi Basin within the phase I of the ISWEL project (2017-2019). For the first meeting IIASA team joined the Zambezi Basin Stakeholder Forum organized by ZAMCOM (Lusaka, 25-26 September 2017). It brought together all riparian country representatives, and one of its outcomes was to identify the main challenges and opportunities with regards to water, energy and land nexus.

The purpose of this second workshop is to bring together representatives of National Stakeholders’ Coordination Committees (NASCs) as well as additional experts on energy, agriculture and environment, to jointly discuss desirable futures for water-energy-land in the Zambezi basin and its riparian countries.

The workshop is based on scientific approach but it also aims to produce policy relevant results. Its ambition is to contribute solutions to otherwise intractable problems. Specific tools and methods will be offered to participants but the aspirations of what can be achieved depend on participants engagement and imagination. The objectives will be presented but participants are invited to build on them. Current situation in the Zambezi basin is full of difficult challenges: what are the best possible pathways that can be followed and accepted by all riparian countries? With sound science, using multiple scenarios the workshop will aim to provide meaningful answers to this and many other pressing questions.

Objectives and expected outcomes

The main goal of this workshop is to co-develop in partnership with sectorial experts from all four riparian countries:

  • 3-4 different visions and pathways to desirable futures for the Zambezi basin taking into account different global developments and climate scenarios.
  • Enhanced and shared understanding on the implications of different investments in the basin and their consequences cascading through the WEL sectors.

The pathways developed during the workshop will be used to provide feedback to the process of developing the Strategic Plan for Zambezi Watercourse. The results achieved in the earlier phases of the development of the strategic plan will be used as an input.

The workshop will be also an opportunity for building capacity among stakeholders and young researchers (who will also be invited to the workshop in a supporting role) on scenario methodology and how it can be linked with nexus modeling. In particular, it will focus on better understanding of

  • diverse modeling assumptions and outcomes supporting Zambezi strategic plan, developed by various consultants and researchers; there is a well-articulated need to understand better how the outcomes are produced, and how they are linked together
  • nexus interconnections between different investments in the basins and their consequences cascading through the sectors including uncertainties.

Timeframe and Venue

The scenario workshop will take place on 9-11th July 2018 in Harare.

Address: Hotel Holiday, Samora Machel Avenue And, Fifth St, Harare, Zimbabwe

Proposed methodology

The scenario process will start from reviewing the current situation in the basin and its key challenges and opportunities followed by specifying the “business as usual” scenario. Based on this understanding participants will set basin goals and future visions (for desirable futures in 2050). This will be combined with development and selection of nexus solutions, utilizing identified synergies. Finally, challenges and tradeoffs will be identified with strategies to overcome them, contributing to inspiring and realistic future pathways for the Zambezi basin.

The scenario development workshop will utilize extensively the process known as a "policy exercise." Policy exercises, also known as strategic simulations, participation of stakeholders with the knowledge base provided by data and modeling. They mediate collaboration between stakeholders and scientists in analyzing how problems emerge in complex systems, and where points of policy intervention may lie, leading to robust and credible future pathways that can be used for planning purposes.

Scenario Workshop Agenda

Day 1 (9 July)
Capacity building workshop on scenario development for about 10 young researchers
(in cooperation with WATERNET)


Day 2 (10 July)
9:00-9.15 Welcome  
9.15-10.30 Getting to know each other: introductions and icebreaker  
10:30-11:00 Coffee break  
11:00-12:30 Water-Energy-Land Nexus in the Zambezi Basin – challenges and opportunities – overview presentations. (speakers TBC)  
12:30-13:30 Lunch  

Scenario development for the Zambezi Basin

Piotr Magnuszewski, IIASA


Reviewing current situation in the Zambezi Basin and its major  challenges

work in groups and presentations of results

15:30-16:00 Coffee break  

Developing future pathways: “business as usual”

work in groups and presentations of results

17.30-18.00 Summary of the day, plans for the next day  


Day 3 (11 July)
9:00-9:30 Introduction to Day 2  

Developing Zambezi visions (desired futures) and pathways leading to them 

work in groups

10:30-11:00 Coffee break  

Presentations of Zambezi visions and pathways from different workgroups,

discussion on improvements and refinements

12:30-13:30 Lunch  

Improving the robustness of pathways – addressing challenges from global scenarios

work in groups

15:00-15:30 Coffee break  

Review of the final pathways from different workgroups

presentations from all groups

16:30-17:30 Summary of the workshop – discussion and next steps  

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Last edited: 11 July 2018


Barbara Willaarts

Research Scholar Water Security Research Group - Biodiversity and Natural Resources Program


International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA)
Schlossplatz 1, A-2361 Laxenburg, Austria
Phone: (+43 2236) 807 0 Fax:(+43 2236) 71 313