Maïté Fournier represented ACTeon at this event. This international conference is dedicated to research and practices on natural and human-impacted large rivers, in particular functioning, changes and processes, interface and interactions, management policies, engineering. I.S.Rivers took place from June 4 to 8, 2018 at the University Lyon 2 Lumière, a prestigious venue situated near the Rhône river.
The article "The Water–Energy–Food Nexus: A Fuzzy-Cognitive Mapping Approach to Support Nexus-Compliant Policies in Andalusia (Spain)" has been published in Water as part of the Special Issue Innovation Issues in Water, Agriculture and Food.
The application of fuzzy cognitive mapping enabled to identify the main interconnections within the WEF nexus in Andalusia according to stakeholders’ perceptions and validate the conceptual model for the Andalusian case study. Likewise, this work also contributed to raise awareness and build consensus for the WEF nexus among the different stakeholders.
Results from the analysis show that climate change and water availability are key drivers in the WEF nexus in Andalusia. Any change in these variables (e.g., policy measure) will have a significant impact throughout the system. Other variables with significant interlinkages within the WEF nexus are food production, irrigated agriculture, energy cost, socio-economic factors, irrigation water use, environmental conservation, and farm performance indicators. The scenario analysis demonstrates the interdependencies among nexus sectors and contributes to improving understanding of the system’s dynamics.
Outcomes from this research are being used for the development of a System Dynamics Model to quantitatively assess the impact of nexus-compliant policies in Andalusia in the medium and long term.
Abstract is available at: http://www.mdpi.com/2073-4441/10/5/664, and pdf version of the full paper is available at http://www.mdpi.com/2073-4441/10/5/664/pdf. The full citation is as follows: Martinez P., Blanco M., Castro-Campos B. (2018). The Water–Energy–Food Nexus: A Fuzzy-Cognitive Mapping Approach to Support NexusCompliant Policies in Andalusia (Spain). Water 2018, 10 (5), 664. doi: https://doi.org/0.3390/w10050664
This contribution to the public consultation concerning the Evaluation of the EU Climate Adaptation Strategy focuses on the conclusions that there is longstanding Commission awareness that adaptation depends on policy coherence, that clear progress has been made in some areas of policy, but that greater separate focus on adaptation could have been more effective and synergies between internal and external action could be further pursued.
SIM4NEXUS analysis of coherence between EU policies
In the Horizon2020 project ‘SIM4NEXUS, Grant Agreement No. 689150, the coherence was analysed between EU policies along the nexus of water, land, energy, food and climate (WLEFC-nexus). From 66 recent EU policy documents aimed at WLEFC sectors, 33 policy objectives were selected, and the coherence scored between all possible combinations of pairs of these objectives. The question was how objective B would be influenced if progress was made in reaching objective A and the other way around, how objective A would be influenced if progress was made in reaching objective B, which is not always symmetric. Scores varied from ‘Cancelling’, it is impossible to reach both objectives and a choice or compromise must be made, to ‘Indivisible’, objectives are inextricably linked. In between were the scores ’Counteracting’, ‘Constraining’, ‘No significant interaction’, ‘Enabling’ and ‘Reinforcing’.
We agree with the conclusion that there are numerous opportunities for synergy between climate adaptation and other policies in the WLEFC nexus, that could be further explored.
Promoting climate adaptation in key vulnerable EU sectors and in Member States – one of the 33 selected EU objectives in the WLEFC nexus- stimulates 16 out of the other 32 objectives and potentially counteracts 3, depending on the context and the way policies are worked out. Promoting adaptation in key vulnerable EU sectors and Member States enables and reinforces environmental objectives, such as good water quality and sufficient water quantity for all uses. Extending forested areas for adaptation purposes creates opportunities to harvest biomass and mitigate greenhouse gas emissions. Climate adaptation is also inextricably linked to energy security; for example, by ensuring sufficient water for cooling or protection of infrastructure against flooding. Adaptation reinforces the achievement of objectives in the agricultural sector, including support for farm incomes and competitiveness, and enables rural development. On the other hand, climate adaptation may cause a rebound effect. By implementing adaptation measures against drought, more water becomes available during dry periods and more hydropower can be produced. Depending on the context, this may discourage water efficiency improvements and reduction in water consumption. It may also increase energy use in water exploitation and management.
The other way around, climate adaptation profits if progress is made in 15 out of the other 32 selected WLEFC objectives. Improving soil quality and forest conservation are adaptation measures per se and improving water management is inextricably linked to climate adaptation. Increase of water efficiency and reduction of water and energy use make economic processes less vulnerable to climate change. Finally, provided that greening and cross-compliance measures are effectively enforced, the pursuit of objectives in the agricultural sector and rural development may enable climate adaptation.
Improving the competitiveness of the agricultural sector may have a negative or positive impact on climate adaptation, depending on what measures are implemented. High tech cultivation with minimal use of water, energy, nutrients and pesticides, improves competitiveness and decreases dependence on resources that become scarcer by climate change. But high competitive agriculture for food, feed and bio-energy may also increase the need for water and energy and may decrease the hydrological buffer capacity of an area.
Please find more information here, including the table with all the coherence scores between the 33 EU WLEFC objectives on page 45:
Find a policy brief here:
EPSILON attended the 26th ArcGIS User Conference, 10-11 May 2017 and presented SIM4NEXUS and its GIS applications. Conference agenda (in Greek): http://www.marathondata.gr/events/docs/MDS_SYNEDRIO_2018.pdf
The first workshop of the Swedish case study took place on April 18, 2018, at the Clarion Hotel® Gillet in Uppsala, Sweden. The workshop was organized by the Department of Earth Sciences, Uppsala University (UU), and gathered 10 Swedish stakeholders from two municipalities, the Swedish Forest Agency, the Swedish Food Agency, an environmental consultancy company, an NGO and two universities. During the workshop, the SIM4NEXUS project was presented in detail and tools such as thematic models, system dynamics modelling and the serious game were introduced. The workshop aimed at revealing conflicts and synergies between policy goals, assessing interactions between policy instruments and identifying the interactions between national and EU policies. In addition, the conceptual model was discussed and further developed together with the participants. Interesting issues were raised during the workshop. For example, stakeholders emphasized that they would like to see solutions regarding how to reach more synergies (e.g. by applying certain instruments or through a more systemic view on different sectoral issues). Participants also believe that a better education of schoolchildren is necessary to improve the next generation’s understanding of complex interactions within the Nexus.
Scientific publication that presents the participatory process followed to engage stakeholders in the Andalusian case study.
The application of fuzzy cognitive mapping enabled to identify the main interconnections within the WEF nexus in Andalusia according to stakeholders’ perceptions and validate the conceptual model for the Andalusian case study. Likewise, this work also contributed to raise awareness and build consensus for the WEF nexus among the different stakeholders.
Results from the analysis show that climate change and water availability are key drivers in the WEF nexus in Andalusia. Other variables with significant interlinkages within the WEF nexus are food production, irrigated agriculture, energy cost, socio-economic factors, irrigation water use, environmental conservation, and farm performance indicators. This implies that any change in these variables (e.g., policy measure) will have a significant impact throughout the system.
Outcomes from this research are being used for the development of a System Dynamics Model to quantitatively assess the impact of nexus-compliant policies in Andalusia in the medium and long term.
On April 24, Wageningen Economic Research, PBL and IHE Delft organized the second workshop of the Netherlands case study titled “What is the role of biomass in the realization of a low-carbon and resource efficient economy in the Netherlands in 2050 and onwards?” The workshop was held at the Netherlands Environmental Agency (PBL) office in The Hague. It was a one-day workshop which was divided into two sessions. In the morning, the conceptual model of the Netherlands case study was discussed as well as the System Dynamic modelling approach was presented. The main new issues raised by the stakeholders were to include the demand for biomass of the chemical sector, and the carbon storage capacity of the soil, amongst others. Also, the stakeholders discussed the context of this national case. What will the model assume about the climate and other interventions at European and global scale and what will this mean for the effectiveness of Dutch policies? This latter issue is relevant for all national and regional cases.
In the afternoon session, the results of the policy analyses were discussed and an inventory was made of possible interventions. The policy analysis was based on interviews, workshops and a review of the relevant policy documents (agriculture & food, energy and biomass climate, nature, spatial planning, waste & circular economy, and water policy). Based on the policy objectives there is a lot of coherence in the policy goals, which is not always observed in practice. Among the issues mentioned were economic incentives that not always work well in practice, too much external effects and not enough focus on high-end usage of biomass in the value chain. For the possible interventions, we played the Biomass Policy Joker card game prepared by Maria Witmer. Within small groups of 4-5 stakeholders, interventions were suggested and discussed and voted for or against, which led to 15 suggested interventions per group. The results i.e. the lists of 15 interventions of each of the four groups, were quite different from one group to another. The next step will be to review the conceptual model to include the relevant sectors and nexus elements, and to include interventions as suggested by the stakeholders. The selected interventions as well as the translation of these interventions into model input will be checked with a larger group of stakeholders.
Floor Brouwer did attend the fourth conference of the National Water and Climate Knowledge and Innovation Programme, held on April 17 and hosted by Wageningen UR (https://waterenklimaat.nl/?lang=en). As part of the conference, he joined a session (some 15 participants) called ‘Improve the serious game Smart Water Management’, which was very informative.
Each player of the game had a specific role (e.g. representative of a regional water board, of the Ministry of Infrastructure and Water, of the farmers’ organisation, of the media), and had to negotiate with others to propose a measure. Such a measure was introduced into a model and its outcome was available for the next round. The Game has been used with professionals, who showed to have in-depth knowledge of their own region and much more limited knowledge about surrounding regions. Players were informed at the start about the water challenges and initial environmental conditions. Measures included climate adaptation.
Maria Blanco (UPM) has announced the upcoming CAPRI Training Session, which will take place 18-20 September 2018 in Uppsala, Sweden. Applications must be sent before 20th August to CAPRI_TS2018@slu.se. We accept max. 40 participants, at a “first come, first served” basis. More details about applications, training program and important dates can be found in this link: http://www.capri-model.org/dokuwiki/doku.php?id=capri:upcoming, as well as in the course brochure: http://www.capri-model.org/dokuwiki/lib/exe/fetch.php?media=capri:ts:ts_invitation_2018.pdf
On March 19, Floor Brouwer did attend an afternoon session at the Ministry of Infrastructure and Water Management in the Netherlands. The event focussed on main trends in society and several pitches were presented regarding main trends which emerge from society. He did pitch on ‘Water-energy-food Nexus to strengthen policy coherence, both nationally and internationally’. Some 20 people from the Ministry did join the event, sharing ideas about main trends in society and emerging trends; the event follow-up on a recent report from the Government on main trends. For those who read Dutch.
Chrysi Laspidou (UTH) did participate in a decarbonisation event in Brussels on February 7th and summarized the project in a short pitch. It is great to see such a summary just in a minute. Have a look at: https://twitter.com/EU_ecoinno/status/971419577883267072
EASME has released the presentations from the Decarbonisation project networking workshop held on 7 February 2018. All presentations are now available on the EASME website.
Following an open call, Chrysi Laspidou (UTH) was selected to be part of the Steering Committee of the KnowledgeAction Network of the Future Earth Water-Energy-Food Nexus. The mission of Future Earth is to accelerate transformations to global sustainability through research and innovation. Her contribution to Future Earth will be beneficial towards a better understanding of the Nexus and in this capacity to enhance the sharing of this knowledge. This will be great for SIM4NEXUS.
See also: http://futureearth.org/
More than 60 participants attended the project meeting, hosted by UTH. The project convened for 2 days (March 14 and 15), and we had a successful workshop on the Nexus on March 16.
WUR-LEI and PBL were invited to present the project to the Dutch Water Authorities. Fifteen staff members joined our presentations about the Serious Game, our work on policy coherence and of course the national case study. Floor Brouwer, Maria Witmer, Nico Polman and Trond Selnes contributed to the two-hour session, where we discussed the water dimension of biomass production, the circular economy, a low-carbon economy, and soil quality.
Congratulations to Sara Masia (currently with UN-IHE) and her co-authors for the publication of a paper in Water. The full reference of the paper reads as: Masia, S.; Sušnik, J.; Marras, S.; Mereu, S.; Spano, D.; Trabucco, A. Assessment of Irrigated Agriculture Vulnerability under Climate Change in Southern Italy. Water 2018, 10, 209. The paper is accessible through: http://www.mdpi.com/2073-4441/10/2/209
Floor Brouwer was invited to present the project during a lecture at the Centre for Water Studies (University of Exeter). Some 30 postgraduate students, research and academic staff joined the presentation entitled ‘Water-food interlinkages and the Nexus’.
Link to slideshare: https://www.slideshare.net/SIM4NEXUS/waterfood-interlinkages-and-the-nexus
Floor Brouwer (WUR-LEI), Chrysi Laspidou (UTH) and Vassilia Fassouli (Epsilon) did participate in this workshop, which was held in Brussels on 7 February 2018 (co-organized by DG Research and Innovation and the Executive Agency for SMEs – EASME). Some 45 participants attended the workshop, including representatives from 18 on-going H2020 projects, as well as 20 persons from the European Commission (DG RTD, EASME and DG CLIMA). The workshop did bring together EU funded climate mitigation projects with the objective to stimulate peer-to-peer and science-to-policy discussions on how to get the most out of EU-funded projects for the benefit of society and policy-making. SIM4NEXUS was presented during a panel discussion on the costs and challenges of low-carbon transition in main emitting sectors in the EU.
The project was also part of the poster session. During the discussions there was great interest in the topic of uncertainty in modelling (which we started recently in Task 1.4). Also, DG CLIMA announced the upcoming COP24, which is going to be held in Katowice (Poland), 3-14 December 2018. Carbon neutrality is going to be one of the main topics, and we might propose side-events in a way similar we did last year during COP23. During the discussions, DG CLIMA emphasised the importance of integrated assessments models, appreciated the criticism to such models, confirmed that research is needed that adds to it and emphasised it should not only be critical. Our project looks like a nice addition to the strong modelling approaches in several decarbonisation projects.
A Dutch magazine called ‘Milieu (Netwerk voor Milieuprofessionals)’ recently published a paper on policy coherence related to biomass production in the Netherlands. The authors adopt the concept of the Nexus. The authors (Roos Marinessen (Free University, Amsterdam), Vincent Linderhof (WUR-LEI), Maria Witmer (PBL) and Stefania Munaretto (PBL) argue in favour of policy coherence to achieve a low-carbon economy. Zie ook: https://vvmbureaumy.sharepoint.com/personal/beheerder_vvmbureau_onmicrosoft_com/Documents/Gedeeld%20met%20leden%20%20NIET%20VERWIJDEREN/Losse%20artikelen/Milieu%2020177/Samenhang%20van%20beleid%20versterkt.%20Tijdschrift%20Milieu,%2023(7).pdf?slrid=9ccc389e-0064-4000-d132b05caf393e39
Our paper on ‘Energy modelling and the Nexus concept’ is now accessible on-line. The article is being published Open Access, access is not restricted in any way. This article can already be cited as: F. Brouwer, et al., Energy modelling and the Nexus concept, Energy Strategy Reviews (2017), https://doi.org/10.1016/j.esr.2017.10.005. See also: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2211467X17300652
The ICT4WATER cluster (currently including 30 ICT-related projects that support innovations in the European water sector) met on 1 December 2017 in Brussels. SIM4NEXUS contributed to the event, hosted by DG CONNECT. Gabriel Anzaldi (EURECAT), presented the Action Plan, and Andrea Rubini (WssTP) shared his reflection on the implementation of the Action Plan. During the lunch session, Lydia Vamvakeridou-Lyroudia (UNEXE) presented the innovations from recently completed projects and Floor Brouwer (WUR-LEI) presented SIM4NEXUS. SIM4NEXUS is happy to contribute to data sharing which is one of the target areas, and we are well-placed to contribute to the development of cross-domains data sharing mechanisms, covering the water, energy, food, land and climate Nexus. The Flash Report is published on the website, http://www.ict4water.eu/index.php/action-plan-2017-flash-report/ including all presentations.
A SIM4NEXUS paper has been submitted to the Journal Water. The title is: “Multi-stakeholder development of a serious game to explore the water-energy-food-land-climate nexus: the SIM4NEXUS approach” and the authors are: Janez Sušnik (UNESCO-IHE), Chengzi Chew (DHI), Xavier Domingo (EURECAT), Simone Mereu (UNISS), Antonio Trabucco (UNISS), Barry Evans (UNEXE), Lydia Vamvakeridou-Lyroudia (UNEXE), Dragan A. Savic (UNEXE), Chrysi Laspidou (UTH), and Floor Brouwer (WUR-LEI). Please let us know if you’re interested!
Our team member Janez Sušnik (UNESCO-IHE) has submitted a paper to the Journal Resources, Conservation and Recycling (IF: 4.2). It is titled “Data-driven quantification of the global water-energy-food system”. The paper concludes GDP (gross domestic product) and the electricity consumption sectors are strongly correlated, while food production and electricity consumption are weakly correlated. Access to the paper is through: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S092134491830082X. He will present it at the upcoming Nexus conference in Chapel Hill (April 2018).
The first policy brief of the EU funded SIM4NEXUS project on ‘Coherence in EU policy on water, land, energy, food and climate’ is now launched to shed light on synergies and trade-offs between policy objectives in the water-land-energy-food-climate (WLEFC) nexus. It also discusses the implications for the EU strategy on climate change adaptation as well as national adaption efforts. Being comprised of water, land, energy, food and climate, the ‘WLEFC nexus’ constitutes a complex system influenced by numerous policies, including those that address sectors outside the nexus. The good news, though, is that European policy objectives along the WLEFC nexus are largely coherent. The policy brief indicates that adaptation to climate change is indivisible from the achievement of numerous EU policy objectives in the nexus.
SIM4NEXUS is a Horizon 2020 project which aims to address knowledge and technology gaps and thereby facilitate the design of policies within the Nexus. Florian Knobloch is a researcher at Radboud University Nijmegen and he deals in the project team with the analysis of uncertainty. At our last SIM4NEXUS meeting, Florian organised a side event on the “uncertainty monster” – this sounds rather awful to many professionals working in policy development and might make them reluctant to trust any scenarios or the serious game developed by SIM4NEXUS and other projects or initiatives. We hope this short interview clarifies how uncertainty can and shall be managed in modelling and scenario development for the Nexus.
Question: Florian, first of all, what is the “uncertainty monster”?
Response: We live in a world which is inherently uncertain. We do not know what will happen tomorrow, and we only have limited insights into the underlying dynamics. This is particularly true for complex environmental-economic problems like the food-water-energy nexus. For researchers and policy-makers alike, such systems are ‘moving targets’. Time is running, but our understanding remains limited. Therefore, the aim can only be to make appropriate decisions given the best of our knowledge, instead of striving for ‘optimal’ decisions based on an unachievable ideal of perfect knowledge. The researcher Jeroen van der Sluijs introduced the ‘uncertainty monster’ as a metaphor for the ‘monstrous’ uncertainties that scientists face at the science-policy interface, when generating the knowledge base of such complex environmental problems.
Question: Why is uncertainty important for the scenarios of our Nexus policy assessments?
Response: Let’s take the example of behavioural uncertainty. Humans don’t always follow clear behavioural rules and may react in different uncertain ways. Most policies are aimed at people. So if a new policy is introduced, how might they react to it? For example, if the policy target is a reduction of energy demand, how could purchase choices of households and firms be steered towards more energy-efficient technologies? Will people act perfectly rational, so that they immediately react to even small cost changes? To which extent will their decisions be influenced by their social contacts? The choice of such behavioural assumptions can greatly impact the outcome of policy scenarios. There is a substantial body of psychological and sociological research on such questions. Still, we can never be fully certain about a policy’s effect before it is implemented in reality. With the help of model simulations, we may at least get a rough idea. By explicitly considering behavioural uncertainties in our modelling, we can try to identify robust policies, which would lead to the desired effect under different assumptions on human behaviour.
Question: What are the risks when not dealing well with the possible uncertainties?
Response: There is one fact that we know for certain about the ‘uncertainty monster': that there is no escape from it. In the Nexus, the ‘monster’ is simply too big to hide. When its role is downplayed, people may question the credibility of model-based assessments, and eventually loose trust in our research. At the same time, overemphasising uncertainty may distort and magnify its importance, and could even lead to the denial of known risks. For example, despite decades of thorough research, there are still uncertainties about how the earth’s climate system works in detail. However, despite these uncertainties, the system is understood sufficiently well to allow an informed analysis of human-induced climate change.
Question: How would you recommend to deal with uncertainties, and how should we communicate about them?
Response: There are different strategies for dealing with the ‘uncertainty monster’. First, we can try to quantify uncertainties where possible. One way is to systematically vary the values of uncertain inputs to our models, and then analyse how these uncertainties propagate throughout the model and impact our results. Second, we should be transparent about uncertainties which cannot easily be quantified, and should clearly describe all assumptions, such as regarding the model structure. Last but not least, we need to communicate explicitly that the aim of SIM4NEXUS is not to forecast the future, but to better understand the complex interactions between food, water, energy and the wider economy. However, even the best project cannot eliminate all uncertainties. It may even reveal new complexities, making things more uncertain than previously thought. We model for insights, not for predictions.
Question: What have been your main learnings from the SIM4NEXUS project so far?
Response: The SIM4NEXUS team combines excellent researchers from very diverse academic backgrounds, from all over Europe. Climate scientists, social scientists, land use modellers, economists, engineers, hydrologists – everyone has a different perspective and expertise. Dealing with the Nexus requires all of them. There are so many possibilities to learn from each other. Therefore, I’m convinced that as a team, we don’t need to be afraid of any ‘monsters’.
Florian, thank you very much!
If you have any further question, please have a look at Florian’s presentation at https://www.slideshare.net/SIM4NEXUS/a-rendezvous-with-the-uncertainty-monster and/or contact him directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.
By Floor Brouwer, Phoebe Koundouri, Tamara Avellán, Jasminko Novak, Rachel Ahrens, Chrysi Laspidou and Guido J. Schmidt. A Nexus workshop with more than 50 participants was held on 16 March 2018 in Athens by SIM4NEXUS and DAFNE, in collaboration with the Greece United Nations Sustainable Development Solutions Network (UNSDSN), to share knowledge among Nexus research groups, compare work among different Nexus-related projects, and seek ways for future collaboration.
Key aspects of the discussion were the Nexus terminology, how to assure welfare of people, the policy coherence, the need to share data and the usefulness of employing Serious Games. Find the full text of our thoughts and reflections at: https://www.water-energy-food.org/news/2018-04-09-sim4nexus-and-dafne-key-results-from-the-knowledge-exchange-workshop-of-nexus-projects/.
Link to Slideshare: https://www.slideshare.net/SIM4NEXUS/dafne-project
At the recent COP 23, SIM4NEXUS co-organized an EU side event entitled "The Water-Food-Energy Nexus" on 11 November. Jointly organized by WUR-LEI and UNIDO, the event presented the concept of nexus assessments, including its further development under the SIM4NEXUS and ISWEL research projects. The event focussed on examples of climate action in the fields of energy and food, as well as land use policies. Participants discussed specific tools being developed to identify interactions and competition among various resource uses and to improve policy coherence. The session highlighted the importance of the topic and the direction the activities have taken. There was a wide recognition of the strong interaction between Water-Energy-Food at varying geographical and temporal scales and this is important! Further collaborations among Nexus enthusiasts were also discussed.
Chrysi Laspidou (UTH) co-chaired the event with Robert Novak (United Nations Industrial Development Organization, UNIDO). From the SIM4NEXUS project, speakers included Jason Levin-Koopman (WUR-LEI), Robert Oakes (UNU) and Maria Witmer (PBL).
On the 19th of October Robert Oakes (UNU) attended the Nexus Dialogue Series of the United Nations Environmental Management Group (EMG) in Geneva titled "Strengthening partnerships between the environmental and humanitarian sectors in the context of the humanitarian change agenda and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)". The aim of the Series is to enable partners to view the SDGs from a nexus perspective, acquaint themselves with available nexus methodologies and seek to identify practical strategies for integrating the nexus approach into their mission and work. At the meeting, Robert raised the need to consider the environmental nexus within the humanitarian sector and highlighted how serious games can aid in the understanding of the environment/humanitarian nexus.
A summary of the meeting can be read here.
Dr Dora Fazekas from Cambridge Econometrics held a presentation about first results of the SIM4NEXUS project at the 10th International Conference on “Energy and Climate Change”, which was held from 11-13 October 2017 in Athens Greece. Entitled “Supporting global and European climate and energy policy-making through the nexus approach”, Dr Fazekas spoke at the Scientific Session 2: Energy - Climate change – Renewable Energy Sources”. Dr Fazekas presented the approach of SIM4NEXUS overall, while focussing on the Azerbaijan Case Study. The continued challenge of the limited availability of detailed economic and energy data in the region was highlighted and how the case study partners were working to overcome the barriers through different solutions.
The presentation given by Dr Fazekas can be viewed here.
We are happy to disseminate the second announcement and call for papers for the 3rd EWaS (Efficient Water Systems) International conference which will be held in Lefkada Island (Greece) on 27-30 June 2018.
Many topics will make the program very rich, but we would like to attract your attention on two specific special sessions we are going to organize within the framework of this conference:
Small-scale hydropower generation in urban and rural areas: the hydraulic and mechanical analysis of Energy Recovery in water systems (chair: prof. Maurizio Giugni)
Water distribution system modeling, simulation and management (chair: prof. Marco Franchini)
E-Proceedings with the full papers will be distributed at the Conference. All papers (after at least 50% revision compared to the ones presented at the conference) will be eligible for publication in special issues of SCI Journals with an Impact Factor, following a standard peer-review process. More details are at:http://ewas3.civ.uth.gr/proceedings.html
We are now calling for abstracts whose deadline is October 15th, 2017 (for more details, see also http://ewas3.civ.uth.gr/abstract_submission.html)
Please visit the website for more information on conference registration, fees, program and accommodation: ewas3.civ.uth.gr
The Nexus Conference April 16-18th 2018 will focus on the connection between the urban level and the global agendas of the Sustainable Development Goals and the New Urban Agenda. While recognizing the Addis Ababa Action Agenda provides a foundation covering cooperation on a range of issues including technology, science, innovation, trade and capacity building for implementing the global sustainable development agenda.
It will address the tradeoffs as they related to Water-Energy-Food, while accepting changes such as climate change and urbanization that can be seen as prime movers and health and migration as impacts.
Floor Brouwer did attend a brokerage event of H2020 research in the bio-economy, held at the Ministry of Economic Affairs on 28 September 2017. Interesting was a conclusion that many innovations result from using existing knowledge. Not surprisingly there was agreement that international collaboration is important in solving societal challenges. A SIM4NEXUS poster was presented during the network lunch. It offered new contacts to interact in this Ministry. More than 100 experts from policy, the business sector and research discussed the involvement of the Netherlands in H2020.
The first workshop within the Andalusian Case Study took place successfully at the Regional Ministry of Agriculture in Seville on Thursday 26 October. The workshop, led by Maria Blanco, Bente Castro and Pilar Martinez from UPM, brought together 16 stakeholders from different Regional Ministries, public agencies, river basin authorities, professional agricultural associations, water user associations, environmental NGOs and research centres. The event allowed for presenting in detail SIM4NEXUS project to the stakeholders, as well as discussing about the water-food-energy Nexus in the region. As a result of the application of diverse participatory methodologies, the main interlinkages and challenges in the Nexus were identified and different potential policy scenarios were selected.
On 26 October, The Netherlands Case Study held a workshop in The Hague entitled “What is the role of biomass in the realization of a low-carbon economy in the Netherlands in 2050?”. Hosted by Wageningen Economic Research and PBL Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency, the workshop brought together 18 stakeholders from the national government, provinces, NGOs, business and research centres. The nexus of climate, water, energy, land and food policies was presented within the context of biomass use for energy production. Stakeholders actively discussed the opportunities and challenges for the use of biomass as an energy source. They also provided solutions for the challenges to turn them into opportunities. Interesting issues were raised during the workshop such as the somewhat negative image of biomass as energy source and the power of public opinion on biomass and its applications.
Dr. Dora Fazekas from Cambridge Econometrics, presented SIM4NEXUS in her Presentation “Supporting global and European climate and energy policy-making through the nexus approach” at the Green Energy Investments Forum in Athens, Greece 11th October 2017.
With the aim of increasing the project’s impact and facilitate the engagement of stakeholders and media, in particular in the case studies, SIM4NEXUS has hold an online webinar on 5 September 2017, in which 12 project staff participated. The presentations by Linda Romanovska (FT) and Maria Mirachtsi (WssTP) covered:
- Communication principles, target audiences and key messages of SIM4NEXUS
- The work flows from our Communications Strategy relevant for cases, e.g. organising workshops
- How to work with media?
We had also time for discussions and hope that participants find it now easier to get media and stakeholders on board, and to manage (social) media, e.g. twitter.
If you’re interested in participating in a similar webinar at another time, please let us know, and we see how we can best manage it. We also discussed to:
- Put an “elevator pitch” competition on the preliminary agenda of our next team meeting in Athens
- Organise another online meeting end this year based on the “lessons learned” from those actively involved in communicating SIM4NEXUS, e.g. Floor, Stefania, Maria, Pilar…
And of course we are open and available for further questions.
The workshop “Interdisciplinary approaches to assess and model the urban water-energy nexus” took place in Karlsruhe, Germany from the 31st of July until the 1st of August. The Institute for Technology Assessment and Systems Analysis (ITAS) under the roof of the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology organised the network event together with the Institute for Sanitary Engineering, Water Quality and Solid Waste Management (iswa) from the University of Stuttgart and funding from the Water Research Network Baden-Württemberg. The event aimed at linking different research approaches on the water-energy nexus. The target groups were doctoral and post-doctoral students. During the workshop, various synergies and transferable solutions among the research topics have been discovered and discussed. Especially the topics of linking models, engaging different stakeholder groups and translating model results to various audiences were of great interest. Some open (research) question have been identified, for example how to assess tradeoffs in the modelling process and how to include sustainability (indicators) into Nexus research.
Gitta Koellner, in the name of ACTeon, presented the SIM4NEXUS project and roadmap to the group. Special interest was shown for the Serious Game as a way to translate and visualize research output. The exchange on the applied methodologies fostered cooperation between research projects.
EMP-E kicked off on May 17 in Brussels and more than 80 participants from the European Commission (DG Research and Innovation, DG JRC, DG Energy and DG Clima) as well as from a large number of European modelling groups. Floor Brouwer (WUR-LEI) and Hector Pollitt (CE) contributed to the start-up of the new Energy Modelling Platform (EMP-E). Their presentation did focus on ‘Energy modelling and the Nexus concept: design and tools in SIM4NEXUS’. There was a re-confirmed interest in the Nexus from the audience. Other partners attending this platform event were Mark Howells (KTH), Georgios Averinopoulos (KTH), Ioannis Pappis (KTH) and Jean-Francois Mercure (RU).
Hector Pollitt (Cambridge Econometrics) presented at a UNFCCC side event in Bonn on methodologies that could be applied to assess the impact of response measures implemented by member countries. The event was broadcast (audio only) on YouTube and attended by around 60-70 people from a range of countries that were interested in developing modelling capacity. In his presentation, Hector gave an overview of quantitative analytical approaches ranging from very simple calculations to highly complex modelling. He used the work being carried out in SIM4NEXUS for the Azerbaijan case study as an example of carrying out analysis in countries where there are data limitations. See also: http://unfccc.int/cooperation_support/response_measures/items/10354.php
SIM4NEXUS project partners met in Trebon, Czech Republic, the home of the meeting host and project partner ENKI. During the two days of active work, the partners took stock of the progress of work within Work Packages and Case Studies. Noting that important milestones have been reached in the first project year, including the finalisation of the first ‘fast track’ case study work in Sardinia, completion of the deliverables comprising the scientific inventory of the nexus interconnections and relevant EU and international policies, development of a common framework for nexus analysis within cases, first insights of market interest in SIM4NEXUS products and services, as well as further progress on impact-oriented communication and dissemination. The partners look forward to proceed with the work, as they are entering the core phase of the project with the final goal of developing a set of methods and tools to analyse and understand the nexus between water, energy, food, land and climate as well as the sustainable nexus policy options on international to local levels.
During the meeting s ‘SIM4NEXUS hero’ title was awarded to partners that have delivered exceptional effort and results within the first project year: Stefania Munaretto (PBL) for her work on nexus policy analysis, Maria Papadopoulou (UTH) on her work on Greek case study, as well as Simone Mereu and Antonio Trabucco (both UNISS) for their work on Sardina case study. Congratulations!
Prior to the project coordination meeting, the Work Package leads also met with the External Advisory Board in Prague.
UNESCO-IHE has post-doc to work on SIM4NEXUS in WP3 (mainly). The Integrated Water Systems and Governance Department is looking for a Postdoctoral Researcher on integrated water-food-energy systems modelling (m/f) – 0.84 FTE (4 days per week). The candidate will work closely with Dr. Janez Sušnik (IHE Delft project leader) in developing system dynamics models for the 12 case studies involved in the SIM4NEXUS project. The case studies cover a range of scales from regional (e.g. south-west England) to national (e.g. The Netherlands), European and Global. Additional information can be obtained from Janez Sušnik, Deputy Head of the Integrated Water Systems and Governance Department (+31 (0)15 215 2368; email@example.com). Details on the application procedure can be found at: https://www.un-ihe.org/working-ihe-delft
Maria P. Papadopoulou (UTH) was invited to participate on March 28 in a round table on sustainable tourism and culture, organized by the Hellenic Greek Ministry of Tourism. She had the chance to present the SIM4NEXUS concept and the Greek case study to about 30 persons. The feedback she got from the Greek Authorities - mainly governmental (Ministries of Tourism, Foreign Affairs and Culture) - and the other participants from Serbia, Croatia, Italy and Slovenia was very positive. The presentation ‘Perspectives for the development of the Tourist Sector - SIM4NEXUS: Towards a Sustainable Economy and an Effective Use of Resources’ was well received.
The SIM4NEXUS project relies on modelling to understand how the different components of the Nexus (water-food-energy-climate) are affected under different scenarios in the case study regions. The outcomes of the modelling undertaken within the project will feed into the development of the Serious Game.
Two experts on SDM from the consortium – Lydia Vamvakeridou (UNEXE) and Janez Susnik (IHE Delft) will hold an online course from 3-4 May to facilitate the use of modelling in the case studies. The course will focus on explaining to the case study partners the different software packages, including STELLA or VENSIM.
On 5th of April Fresh Thoughts was invited (and attended) to a DG CLIMA workshop to provide inputs to the EU Adaptation strategy review, which is currently ongoing. Fresh-Thoughts represented SIM4NEXUS and provided inputs from the nexus perspective to this policy-making event.
The Workshop took place on the 6th of April 2017, in Barcelona, Spain. The presentation was given by Xavier Domingo (EURECAT) at the Final Confernce.
For further Information please have a look at the presentation on our Slideshare Account.
Nexus is the ‘new’ popular buzz word. Already present in the sustainable development discourse since the early 1990s, the concept has gained momentum in the scientific and policy circles over the the past ten years, especially in relation to the water, energy and food (WEF) domains.
Underpinning the nexus approach is the recognition that different sectors are inherently interconnected and must be investigated and governed in an integrated, holistic manner. Accordingly, nexus thinking entails a shift of focus towards sector and resource interdependences, with the aim of exploiting potential synergies, and managing critical trade-offs. Ensuring coherence of policy goals and instruments is crucial for a nexus approach. However, as for the nexus, a clear and consistent conceptual and analytical framework does not exist and empirical studies are scares.
The SIM4NEXUS project is a 4 years EU-funded project (started in 2016) developing knowledge and tools to understand and support policy-making in the water-land-energy-food-climate nexus. 12 case studies investigate nexus challenges and opportunities as well as policy coherence at global, EU, national and regional scale. The final product is a simulation game where users can learn about the impacts of policy choices across the different nexus sectors.
The talk will present the results of an investigation conducted within the project on coherence of EU and international policies in the water-land-energy-food-climate nexus. The talk will include some discussion about the conceptual definition of the nexus and of policy coherence as well as methodological approaches for empirical research.
The Joint Research Center and the MAGIC project (Moving Towards Adaptive Governance in Complexity: Informing Nexus Security) are hosting a working in Brussels on 20 April. The workshop “Debunking myths and interrogating the universality of global and local integrations” focuses on energy and energy policies inside the EU institutions. The aim of the workshop is to discuss different insights regarding heterodox narratives about energy and more in general sustainability.
Maria Witmer (PBL) and Eunice Ramos (KTH) are attending on behalf of the SIM4NEXUS consortium. They will report back to the consortium regarding the discussions and how they link to the nexus energy-water-climate-food.
Seven thematic models will be used to gain knowledge of the Nexus in each Case Study, under different climate change scenarios for 2030 and 2050. Results from the model runs will enable the identification of the main gaps in the Nexus and also contribute to the development of complex science tools within the project SIM4NEXUS.
Further information for each thematic model is available in section Outputs/ Deliverables.
The 15th International Conference on Environmental Science and Technology will be held in Rhodes, Greece from 31 August-2 September. This biennial conference brings together engineers, scientists, researchers, students, managers and other professionals in order to address and discuss emerging environmental issues. The main aim of the conference is the presentation of state-of-the art research and innovative technologies to address local and international critical environmental issues.
At the conference, there will be a special sesson on the Water-Energy-Land-Climate-Flood nexus. The purpose of this special session is to bring together researchers, professionals and policy makers in the field of water, energy, climate and food production sectors to first understand how water and energy management, food production, biodiversity, land use and climate are linked together and then propose sustainable approaches, actions and measures to address the multi-dimensional nexus issues as described by the post-2015 Sustainable Development Goals through innovation and uptake of technologies and policies.
Chrysi Laspidou and Maria Papadopoulou from SIM4NEXUS will co-chair the session.
Presentations can be found here:
- CEST2017 Presentation
- AQUA REPUBLICA: Serious Game (in Greek)
- The conceptual context of Nexus for Greece (in Greek)
SIM4NEXUS partners Floor Brouwer, Wageningen Economic Research, Dragan Savic, University of Exeter and Gabriel Anzaldi, EURECAT attended the Waterwise Annual Water Efficiency Conference and ICT4Water Cluster Event on the 8th of March 2017 in London. The 2017 Waterwise Annual Water Efficiency Conference focused on “Delivering Water Efficiency projects and programmes”. The event provided key stakeholders within the water sector an opportunity for key to come together to discuss how to further water efficiency in the UK.
The Conference also hosted the European ICT4Water Clustering event, of which SIM4NEXUS is a member. The session looked at using applied research and practical experience to optimise the implementation of water efficiency projects for households, business and agriculture. Dragan Savic (UNEXE) chaired the Research and Innovation session, identifying how existing research activities (including the ICT4Water projects) can feed into water utility work. Floor Brouwer held a short presentation on "How to improve Resource Efficiency". In addition, during the event Gabriel Anzaldi (Eurecat) outlined the ‘Action Plan to Digital Single Market’, as SIM4NEXUS is going to feed into this plan in the coming months.
Some 90 participants from the water business sector, public policy and research showed a great interest into the Nexus of water-energy-food, and 7 EU-funded projects currently address the water-energy Nexus.
The Global Stock-taking Workshop on assessments of the water-food-energy-ecosystems nexus and response measures in transboundary basins took place in the Palais des Nations in Geneva on 6 and 7 December 2016. The workshop was then followed by the fourth meeting of the Task Force on the Water-Food-Energy-Ecosystems Nexus on December 8th. The KTH team working on the SIM4NEXUS project had the opportunity to communicate their nexus methodology and share ideas with institutes that have conceptualised comparable integrated assessment approaches, and with country delegates involved in the nexus assessments.
Claudia Teutschbein (UU) presented SIM4NEXUS (background, approach and methods) and more specifically the Swedish Case Study to staff members at Uppsala University. The Swedish case study focuses on forest-water-energy issues in a changing climate. The audience - consisting mainly of physical geographers, meteorologists, hydrologists and environmental scientists - were amazed about the ambitious efforts of SIM4NEXUS to combine such a wide range of both NEXUS-relevant issues and methodologies within social, political and natural sciences. There was broad consensus on the fact that Sweden is currently facing the challenge of achieving the agreed upon Environmental Quality Objectives for water and forests by 2020 because present environmental initiatives are not sufficient. After the presentation, participants shared their experience with stakeholder engagement and provided useful feedback on how to actively involve more stakeholders in the Swedish case. Suggestions were also made regarding testing of the serious game with different student groups at Uppsala University.
Organised by the Hungarian Government in cooperation with the World Water Council, the Budapest Water Summit is the first global conference summarising the results of the UNSDGs (in particular, Goal #6: Clean Water and Sanitation) since they were implemented in 2015. At the conference, the aim was to set out tasks with targets to be achieved for the next 15 years.
The Summit’s mission: Water shall be the source of cooperation, peace and development for all nations committed to sustainable development.
In the session on "More production with less water consumption? Implications of the Paris Agreement on the Water - Energy – Industry triangle.", Chengzi Chew from DHI gave a presentation on "Serious gaming for serious impacts", with links to the Nexus approach.
Two Horizon2020 projects: SIM4NEXUS and MAGIC are jointly co‐ordinating the Nexus working group (WG) ‘Water Energy Food Biodiversity nexus’ of the Water Supply and Sanitation Technology Platform (WssTP), a SIM4NEXUS partner. The two projects are jointly co‐ordinating the working group, in a rotating structure. Both projects have designated a core group of key contributing persons. The SIM4NEXUS core group includes Floor Bouwer, Wageningen Economic Research, Lydia Vamvakeridou, University of Exeter, Chrysi Laspidou, University of Thessaly and Gabriel Anzaldi, EURECAT.
On 24 November 2016, the working group held a meeting in Brussels introducing the two projects and holding discussions on the work plan for year 2017. It addition, the group discussed potential further cooperation building on common synergies in nexus research, nexus knowledge, dissemination and creating impact. The meeting was chaired by the SIM4NEXUS Coordinator Floor Brouwer; Chrysi Laspidou held a presentation introducing the project and Lydia Vamvakeridou led the discussion on enhancing synergies.
The next meeting of the working group is scheduled for June 2017.
Maria Papadopoulou (UTH) presented the SIM4NESUS project to a large audience at the 1st Conference of the National Rural Network 2014-2020 "Networking to promote innovation in rural areas'', which took pace in Athens, Greece on 21 November 2016. The feedback from the policy authorities, agricultural unions and also other research institutes that were present was extremely high. They were excited with the SIM4NEXUS concept, and they are looking forward to be part of the case study in GReece. Maria and colleagues are planning to have small informative meetings targeted at stakeholders from agriculture in 3-4 locations all over the country to keep them "on board" until our first workshop (Spring 2017) when the first results from the models will be presented and they will be able to get a more clear picture of the Serious Game.
About 45 consortium members met in Barcelona on November 16 & 17 to work on the 12 case studies. The event was hosted by EURECAT in its inspiring premises in Barcelona. Wednesday morning sessions were dedicated to the thematic models: 3 hours of high-level science to understand our future! The Plenary session focused on the case studies “roadmap”, describing the scientific assessments and stakeholders processes to be followed by all. The workshop on Wednesday helped the project to better understand the offer from the thematic models, and how to make this tangible and prepare for its implementation. Thursday morning was spent working in small groups on tools and methodologies for the “policy-assessment” component of the case studies.
On Friday, November 18, the partners from the SIM4NEXUS project came together to discuss progress in the project overall and to discuss future steps in the project leading up to the next project meeting, which will take place in May 2017.
All Partners look forward to continue the work and to see each other again.
Chrysi Laspidou, a SIM4NEXUS partner from the University of Thessaly, attended the IWA World Water Congress 2016, which took place in Brisbane Australia from 9-13 October 2016. Chrysi held a presentation at the Intermittent Water Supply Open Meeting, informing participants of the purpose, objectives and deliverables of SIM4NEXUS project and exchanging ideas and thoughts on the way forward in assisting water utilities and governments in improving the level of service to the consumers and water supply conditions in general. The presentation highlighted policies and how the water-energy-land use-climate nexus influences intermittent water supply.
The Royal Geographic Society held its Annual Conference from 29 August to 1 September 2016 in London. The main theme this year was "Nexus Thinking". Lydia S. Vamvakeridou-Lyroudia held a presentation in the Session "Water Energy and Food Nexus: Dealing with a wicked problem? (1): WEF NEXUS Thinking: UK and International Perspectives".
Click on the download link below to view her presentation.
A new project “Sustainable Integrated Management FOR the NEXUS of water-land-food-energy-climate for a resource-efficient Europe (SIM4NEXUS)” has been selected by the European Commission to sign a Grant Agreement for an overall grant of nearly € 8,000,000. The project, which involves 26 partners from 15 countries is led by Wageningen UR (The Netherlands), will start in May 2016 and run for 4 years.
SIM4NEXUS will develop innovative methodologies to facilitate the design of policies and bridge knowledge and technology gaps in the field of the water-land-food-energy-climate Nexus under climate change conditions. The project aims to develop a methodology of integration using a complexity science approach and a Serious Game, as an integrating tool for testing and evaluating policy decisions. The Serious Game will be operable at different scales ranging from regional to national, to continental, to global, as well as at different time horizons—short, medium and long-term.
“SIM4NEXUS has 4 objectives”, explains George Beers, the Project Coordinator, “namely to adopt existing knowledge and develop new expertise on the Nexus, to reduce uncertainties of how policies, governance and institutions affect complex changing environmental systems, to showcase the implementation by a network of regional and national case studies in Europe and to valorise the project outputs by creating project spinoffs.” Such approach is in the core of the EU research and innovation policy, as “this is an ambitious and challenging project which positions European research and business as frontrunners at the global level”.
The 26 partners of SIM4NEXUS are from 14 countries (NL, EL, UK, DE, ES, IT, JP, SE, CZ, DK, FR, AT, LV and BE), namely: Wageningen UR, NL; University of Thessaly, EL; University of Exeter, UK; Stichting IHE Delft, NL; Potsdam-Institut für Klimafolgenforschung, DE; Universidad Politécnica de Madrid, ES; Bocconi University, IT; United Nations University /Bonn, JP; University of Cambridge, UK; KTH Royal Institute of Technology, SE; Uppsala University, SE; Eurecat, ES; University of Sassari, IT; ENKI, CZ; Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency, NL; DHI Group, DK; South West Water, UK; ACTeon, FR; Epsilon Malta Limited, MT; Cambridge Econometrics, UK; Radbourd University, UK; Strane Innovation, FR; Fresh Thoughts, AT; Baltic Environmental Forum Latvia, LV; People & Water, SK; Water and Sanitation Technology Platform, BE.