Drawing on the work of Holger Hoff and others, the article explains the nexus concept and its relevance to Latin America amid rising incomes and consumption, accelerated development and urbanisation, and increasing concentrations of poor people in peri-urban zones, where they are particularly vulnerable to water, energy and food constraints.

In rural areas, meanwhile, intensified agriculture responding to global demand for commodities, energy development, mining, and the expansion of infrastructure are degrading resources, disproportionately affecting the poor. Finally, climate change poses particularly acute threats to many areas, in particular the high mountain ecosystems in the Andes and some Caribbean islands.

Viewing these challenges from an integrated systems perspective, the article argues, can help stakeholders and decision-makers chart development pathways where the trajectories of social and ecological systems remain within acceptable thresholds.

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