This Special Issue, bringing together articles from Science of the Total Environment; Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews; Ecological Modelling, and Resources; Conservation and Recycling, highlights the increasing understanding that major systems servicing human well-being, food, energy and water (FEW) systems are inextricably connected, and any attempt to address one dimension in isolation of the others will lead to unexpected, undesired, and far from optimal consequences. Considering these three systems holistically as the Food-Energy-Water Nexus directly considers Sustainable Development Goals 2 (zero hunger), 6 (clean water and sanitation), 7 (affordable and clean energy), 9 (industry, innovation and infrastructure), and 12 (responsible consumption and production).
Despite a major, policy-driven increase in research on the food–energy–water (FEW) nexus in recent years, research addressing the required changes in policy structures and processes for an effective, integrated governance of FEW nexus resources is still in its infancy. This paper adapts the Institutional Analysis and Development Framework to the requirements and challenges of FEW nexus governance and sets a special focus on action situations, actors, and institutions. The analysis thus contributes to the debate about the practicality and benefits of a comprehensive FEW nexus policy approach.