The current epidemic has highlighted the crucial role of research and innovation, and the need for evidence-based and science-grounded policy-making. Reinforced cooperation between scientists and stakeholders in the WEFE (water, energy, food, ecosystems) sectors will also contribute to the fight against global pandemics such as Covid-19. Food security and agricultural livelihoods, access to safe water and sanitation, reconstruction of the relationship between humans and ecosystems are indeed key elements of social and health protection programmes.
The WEFE Nexus science should be ready to confront the additional challenges that were highlighted by the pandemic and embed them in the discussions prior to the conference. Shifting the event will permit sharing content and ideas through preparatory virtual meetings. We invite all partners to continue their engagement with this conference, whose theme is more important than ever.
Sustainable development in the Mediterranean region is facing a combination of challenges that are likely to undermine livelihoods.
The Water-Energy-Food-Ecosystems (WEFE) Nexus is gaining increasing attention in policymaking and research communities as a means of addressing sectoral interdependencies in the management of natural resources and as an approach for operationalising the United Nations’ 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
This is evident in the rapidly growing literature in the field. However, most of the published studies merely debate the need to fully understand the interdependencies between the WEFE sectors, with few examples of successful ground-level WEFE Nexus practices.
Answering the broad range of questions embraced by the Nexus concept is clearly a challenging process. The role of the research community is to support this process by pooling together multi-disciplinary competences to show decision-makers the co-benefits of and trade-offs between future energy, food and ecosystem security plans and water policies.
In this way, scientists and stakeholders will not only be able to 'speak the same language', but also to agree on best practices and solutions to be shared and used across country borders.
Objectives of the Conference
The WEFE Nexus Science Advances Conference is organised by the Joint Research Centre (JRC) and the DG Research and Innovation (DG R&I) of the European Commission, the Union for the Mediterranean (UfM), the Partnership for Research and Innovation in the Mediterranean Area (PRIMA) and the Cyprus Institute (CYI) to address the role of science as a driver of innovation and its interface with the policymaking process.
With a focus on the Mediterranean, the Conference will look at the four aspects of the WEFE Nexus from different perspectives (e.g. through the eyes of economists, sociologists and end users) and canvass opinions on how to approach the cross-sectoral management of WEFE resources.
Participants will include scientists, business and water practitioners, professional organisations as well as governmental and regional policymakers and NGOs from across the Mediterranean countries, all brought together to:
- Explore capacity for cross-sectoral analyses of the use of natural resources by exchanging knowledge on the development, use and demonstration of Nexus methodologies applicable across scales;
- Promote the collection of best WEFE Nexus practices in the Mediterranean region and the incorporation of lessons learnt into hands-on guidance for the development of innovative and economically viable roll-outs;
- Elaborate on the role of a WEFE Nexus Community of Practice to stimulate cross-organisation collaboration and knowledge sharing in the Mediterranean region.
The outcomes of the conference will contribute to the objectives set out in the UfM Water Declaration, the Strategic Research and Innovation Agenda of PRIMA and the actions proposed by the European Commission in the roadmap of the new European Green Deal.
The Conference focuses on the Mediterranean dimension, but it is of broad interest to participants from outside the region sharing the same interests and wishing to learn from the Mediterranean experience. The outcomes of the Conference will contribute to the objectives set out in the UfM Ministerial Declaration on Water, to the UfM Water Agenda (UfM Policy Framework of Actions 2030), to the Strategic Research and Innovation Agenda of PRIMA, and to the actions proposed by the European Commission in the roadmap of the EU Green Deal.
Participants are encouraged to complete the Registration Form according to the guidelines by 30th June 2021.
By submitting posters, attendees are offered the opportunity to share their work and views on how science can address the challenge posed by the implementation of a WEFE Nexus approach. The associated abstracts can be submitted according to the instructions in the registration form.
For more information and updates about the conference can be found on the website of The Cyprus Institute.
The preliminary programme is available here.