Nexus and SDGs // Linking the Water-Energy-Food Nexus and Sustainable Development Indicators for the Mediterranean Region
Food production and water provision are are two urgent socio-economic and environmental issues in the Mediterranean region. Because these aspects are closely linked, they need to be tackled by an integrated approach known as Water-Energy-Food (WEF) Nexus, with JRC highly engaged. Not only the global food crises of 2008 and 2011 drew attention to the crucial role of food security in the Mediterranean basin, especially considering the consequences for social and political equilibrium in the certain countries of the Middle East and North Africa (MENA).
Water use and agricultural practices in the Mediterranean area are unsustainable. The situation is worsened by the increased frequency of droughts and floods, as well as desertification and soil depletion, associated with climate change. The aim of the Partnership for Research and Innovation in the Mediterranean Area (PRIMA) is to foster an integrated programme of sustainable food production and water provision in the framework of the water-energy-food nexus. A monitoring tool developed under PRIMA is based on the Sustainable Development Goals, two of which are specifically dedicated to food security (SDG 2) and sustainable management of water resources (SDG 6).
The 12 indicators that have been chosen to be monitored in the Mediterranean are the Multidimensional Poverty Index (MPI), population overweight, land use, GHG emissions, cereal yield, agriculture value added, fertilizer consumption, crop water productivity, annual freshwater withdrawal for agriculture, rural population served with safely managed water service and sanitation and the amount of agricultural residues used for energy purposes. Datasets for these indicators are collected by international bodies such as the World Bank, WHO, FAO and UNFCCC; recent series are available for almost all Mediterranean countries and are constantly updated. The aim of the proposed monitoring tool is to keep track of the impact generated by PRIMA research and innovation projects in the Mediterranean countries.