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The 3-day training “The water-energy-food-ecosystems (WEFE) Nexus: from research to practice”, hosted by PRIMA and the Nexus Regional Dialogues programme, co-funded by the European Union and the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development, kicked off on December 6, 2021 with welcoming words by Octavi Quintana, Director of PRIMA and Maria Ana Rodriguez, Team Leader Nexus GIZ. The day started off with an incredible 457 participants logged into Zoom.
“Changing climate conditions are a reality that everyone must deal with the consequences of, but vulnerable regions are taking a large amount of this burden”, emphasized Rodriguez. The importance of this workshop was made clear after she highlighted the challenges that the Mediterranean region faces due to the effects of a changing climate and the inter-connection of water, energy, and food security.
Over the period of 3 days, 6 sessions were held by a range of renown Nexus experts who gave unique inputs on researching the WEFE Nexus, and using this research to implement Nexus policies in the region.
Picture: Maria Ana Rodriguez, GIZ
Day One: Understanding the WEFE Nexus
The first session was dedicated to provide a general understanding of the WEF Nexus approach and was carried out by Annika Kramer and Sabine Blumstein from adelphi. Kramer and Blumstein started off with an interactive activity on mentimeter to engage the participants and understand better what they hoped to gain from the training, as well as where their expertise on the WEFE Nexus lay. A large majority of the participants had not participated in a WEFE Nexus training before, and most had professional expertise in either the water sector, or multiple sectors. Due to the high number of participants, this allowed for an engaging start to the first day. Following on, they went through a theoretical introduction to the WEFE Nexus, including its opportunities and challenges. This provided an insight into the value of WEFE Nexus approaches to ensure the security of water, energy, and food in the most vulnerable regions, setting the scene for the rest of the workshop.
Download the presentation to the first session here.
The second session, held in the afternoon, was carried out by Rabi Mohtar and Bassel Daher from AUB/TAMU, and Jauad El Kharraz from RCREE. Mohtar started off the session by discussing Nexus modelling, and how to take WEFE Nexus approaches from ideas to policy. This session focused on examples from countries in Western Asia (the ESCWA region), which are characterized by intense water scarcity. Mohtar discussed the importance of engaging stakeholders in order to generate measurable impact through projects. Daher followed up by presenting the role of tools to catalyze the trade-off dialogue that needs to happen between different stakeholders. He described the WEF Nexus Tool 2.0 using its impact in Morocco and Qatar as an example, and presented a 7-question guideline that participants could use to develop their own assessment for a WEF Nexus hotspot they are interested in. El Kharraz closed up the session by presenting on how to take Nexus from science to policy.
Download the presentation to the second session here.
Day Two: Analysis and Operationalization of WEFE Nexus
Day two started off with 316 participants, with the maximum number of participants logged in being 355. Ansel Renner from the Autonomous University of Barcelona took the third session of the training. Renner detailed the complexities that emerge from quantifying the Nexus, and the challenges that relate to governing water, energy, and food in an interconnected and effective way. After highlighting the epistemological challenges, he expressed the importance of creating new analytical tools in order to effectively characterize the WEFE Nexus.
Download the presentation to the third session here.
The fourth session, conducted by Eman Hussen, Darwich Salah, and Abdelazim Negm from Cairo University explored examples of WEFE Nexus implementation in agri-food systems in Egypt. Salah presented first, looking at the impact of Nexus practices on the sustainability of Corn and Summer Legume production. It was found that corn benefitted from intercropping, increasing corn yields compared to corn that had not been exposed to intercropping. Negm then presented on hydrological modelling for optimal cropping pattern using water evaluation and planning (WEAP) software. Negm ran through the importance of hydrological modelling and the gaps in research that it has the potential to address. Hussen ended the fourth session by presenting a case study from the south of Egypt on the detection of agricultural land changes using remote sensing techniques, and the advantages it can present in a WEFE Nexus context. These advantages included the ability to survey large and difficult-to-access areas, saving time and resources, remote sensing as a monitoring and evaluation tool, and that Remote Sensing used in a Nexus context allows policy makers to more efficiently tackle challenges.
The second day was wrapped up with an engaging quiz on the presentations of the day.
Download the presentations to the fourth session here.
Day Three: Implementation of WEFE Nexus Solutions and Successful Project Proposals
The final day of the training was an opportunity for participants to gain a more concrete idea on developing WEFE Nexus approaches.
Session 5 provided an insight into the operationalization of the WEFE Nexus with speakers presenting on experiences from various Nexus projects that have been implemented throughout the Mediterranean region. Maria Vrachioli from Technical University of Munich presented the Project SIGMA Nexus, Mateo Giuliani from Polytechnic University of Milan presented on Project AWESOME, Floor Brouwer from LEI presented Project SIM4NEXUS, and Chrysi Laspidou from University of Thessaly presented Project ARSINOE. Participants deepened their understanding on what to expect when taking a WEF Nexus idea from ideation to implementation.
Download the presentation from session 5 here.
The final session of the training was carried out by Ali Rhouma and Mohamed Wageih from PRIMA. This session was on how to successfully write a proposal for Nexus Calls. Wageih started off by presenting the main features of a competitive research proposal for PRIMA, as well as the most common reasons for failure. Rhouma then followed on by presenting some useful tips for writing a successful proposal, as well as feedback received from donors on what makes a proposal less likely to get funding. Laspidou made a cameo at the end to talk about her personal experience of writing successful proposals.
The session ended with Irene Sander from GIZ discussing the Nexus Regional Dialogues programme and some of the resources it has, such as the Nexus Resource Platform, and the Nexus Impact Assessment Toolkit, that could be beneficial to the participants in their WEFE Nexus journey.
Download the presentation from session 6 here.
Overall, 338 participants attended the full 3-day training. It was a huge success in terms of engagement with the participants. The presentations covered a wide range of WEFE Nexus topics, ensuring the seminar provided a comprehensive breakdown of creating WEFE Nexus projects and taking them from idea, to research, to policy.
Watch the recordings of each of the days below.
- Online Training // The Water-Energy-Food-Ecosystems (WEFE) Nexus: From Research to Practice
- Nexus Regional Dialogue Central Asia // Integrating the water-energy-food-ecosystems nexus into national planning systems
- WEFE Nexus Publication // European Commission Position Paper on the WEFE Nexus and the SDGs
- Publication // An analytical framework to assess SDG targets within the context of WEFE nexus in the Mediterranean region
- Water-Energy-Food-Ecosystem Nexus Atlas for the Mediterranean // Seeking Examples of Best Practices