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Policy Brief

Food for Trade or Food for National Food Security: A Dilemma for Drylands
December 10, 2021

Addressing the increasing demands for water, energy, and food requires a coherent methodology to ensure that  societies have access to them and that conflict over them is avoided. For example, agriculture and food production  require water and energy; energy production also requires water and, in some instances, agricultural products.  Water distribution and treatment can be very energy intensive. Therefore, the benefits of approaching the Water- Energy-Food (WEF) nexus in an integrated way are gaining popularity. The public sector, the private sector, civil  society, combined with the geopolitical and socio-economic-climatic environment are all interactors that form a  complex web in the management of these fundamental resources. The MENA region relies heavily on international  trade to ensure national food and nutrition securities and, with world crises and changing global landscapes, this  has  created  a  concern  among  nations  as  to  whether  it  is  sustainable  or  focusing  on  creating  greater  food  self- sufficiency is a better alternative. This policy brief illustrates the use of computer decision support systems (DSS)  to aid in the understanding of the WEF nexus with a particular focus on evaluating food production for trade or  for self-sufficiency