To enhance water, energy, and food security and promote ecosystems conservation, it is necessary to design policies or solutions capable of addressing cross-sectoral challenges. In this paper, GoNEXUS SEF, an evaluation framework for co-designing and evaluating nexus solutions, is presented. This framework provides guidelines for conducting a nexus-coherence assessment to improve the governance of the water-energy-food-ecosystems nexus. The assessment involves a participatory process that integrates qualitative and quantitative methodologies through systemic approaches. The crucial aspects necessary in the development of methodologies that address the nexus have been identified and considered. The framework was applied to a practical case study, an increase in the irrigation water price in Andalusia—Spain for the horizon of 2030. Case study results revealed that the measure can generate synergies since it favours water savings, irrigation water efficiency and ecosystems conservation. However, trade-offs are observed, mainly undermining the economic development of agriculture in the region. GoNEXUS SEF has proven capable of evaluating nexus solutions by measuring cross-sectoral synergies and trade-offs. It highlights hidden properties and identifies leverage points and key aspects of a complex cross-sectoral system to apply nexus solutions more effectively to promote sustainable development. In addition, the framework can be adapted to fit different case studies, considering their own challenges and their spatial and temporal scales, which gives it a competitive advantage over other methodologies focused on analysing the nexus.
González-Rosell, A., Arfa, I. & Blanco, M. Introducing GoNEXUS SEF: a solutions evaluation framework for the joint governance of water, energy, and food resources. Sustain Sci 18, 1683–1703 (2023). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11625...
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