Understanding of the water, energy, food Nexus as a framework of resource security and sustainable development


  • Responsible management
  • European Commission
  • ItalySpainGreeceIsraelJordanTurkey
  • 2021 - 2024

The Nexus approach stems from the realization that water, energy, agriculture and natural ecosystems exhibit strong interlinkages, and that under a traditional sectoral approach, attempting to achieve resource security independently often endangers sustainability and security in one or more of the other sectors. Over the last decade, significant effort has been put in improving the understanding of the water, energy, food (WEF) Nexus as a framework of resource security and sustainable development.

LENSES project (LEarning and action alliances for Nexus EnvironmentS) in an uncertain futureaims at operationalize the WEF Nexus concept in the Mediterranean region and translate conceptual considerations into practical solutions, fostering WEF security and efficiency, and reducing impacts and risks on water dependent ecosystems.

The problem

The Sustainable Development Goals on water, energy, food and biodiversity sit at the core of the Agenda 2030. A central principle of SDGs is to reach across all sectors and operate them in an interdependent way. However, the current disproportionate use and allocation of WEF resources have created an imbalance in the physical and natural systems.

Although these resources are interconnected, they are managed by separate institutions in order to facilitate and accelerate decision-making. This is especially critical in the Mediterranean region, where climate change projections and demographic pressures make more and more relevant the need for achieving further benefits to nature, economy and society per drop of available water.

The project

LENSES aims to contribute to improved water allocation, enhanced food security while preserving ecosystems and aiding climate change adaptation, by supporting the operationalization of the Nexus paradigm (from Nexus Thinking to Nexus Doing) in the Mediterranean region.
It will do so by a collective learning process, which integrates the concepts of sustainable Nexus management (progressing Sustainable Development Goals, SDGs) with a resilience-oriented approach, leading decision-makers in accepting uncertainty as integral part of management and decision-making.

LENSES will be implemented in 6 demonstration pilot sites distributed across the Mediterranean basin, which focus on different conflicting water and land uses, mainly food production through agricultural activities, forest and natural ecosystems conservation and other activities (such as tourism and industrial production).

Our contribution

Etifor will contribute to the project by providing the methodological and practical foundations for the validation of Nature-based Solutions (NBS) in each pilot area. In the specific, it will do so by:

  • supporting project partners in assessing the technical effectiveness of proposed NBS for each pilot area
  • developing a framework to assess the socio-economic benefits, costs and risks associated with identified NBS
  • developing a framework to assess the policy environment and address governance challenges for proposed NBS

Furthermore, our team will be involved in creating a methodology to identify a set of financing, investment and business models for the identified NBS and assess their economic and governance sustainability on the long term. We will then design a business plan to ensure long-term sustainability and take-up of LENSES results for each pilot area.

LENSES project (LEarning and action alliances for NexuS EnvironmentS) is part of the PRIMA programme supported by the European Union