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Strategic planning to improve the Human Development Index in disenfranchised communities through satisfying food, water and energy needs

Martínez-Guido, Sergio Iván, González-Campos, J. Betzabe, Ponce-Ortega, José María
Food and bioproducts processing 2019 v.117 pp. 14-29
case studies, electricity, food availability, human development, planning, poverty, quality of life, rural areas, social sustainability, Mexico
Most disenfranchised populations live and work in rural areas under poverty and with limited access to basic resources as energy, water and food supply. Individuals and families in rural areas face difficult odds that often result in inequality and disenfranchisement. They are more likely than their urban counterparts to suffer from the consequences of poverty, facing huge problems associated with undernourishment that mostly end in human casualties. The Human Development Index (HDI) helps to identify healthy life criteria and a decent standard of living that is closely related to quality of life. Several strategies have been reported to improve the living conditions in disenfranchised communities around the world. However, there is not an integrated approach to reducing poverty and ensuring sustainable use of the environment and natural resources in these communities, accounting for the water–energy–food nexus to improve the HDI. Therefore, this paper presents a new optimization approach accounting for the water–energy–food nexus in order to increase the HDI in disenfranchised communities by simultaneously considering economic, environmental and social sustainability criteria. A case study taking into account fourteen of the municipalities of the State of Michoacán from Mexico with the lowest HDI was considered to apply the proposed approach. The results show that by the implementation of this integrated approach, it is possible to increase the HDI in such communities by 4.3%, which is higher that results show by Mexico’s HDI values in last 17 years of 0.93%, making the model attractive for decisions makers.