© A. Malago, S. Comero, F. Bouraoui, C. Melek Kazezyılmaz-Alhan, B. Manfred Gawlik, P. Easton and C. Laspidou 2020
Understanding the complex relationships amongst Water, Energy, Food and Ecosystems (WEFE nexus) together with the achievement of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) is critical for the development of a sustainable and secure future in the Mediterranean area. In this study, we analysed 29 case studies across the Mediterranean region which describe potential success stories for the implementation of good nexus practices. We developed an analytical framework for investigating the impacts on 15 SDG targets and we also explicitly quantified the magnitude of interconnection of nexus pillars with SDGs. Our findings showed that renewable energies have a predominant role on sustainability. Moreover, to achieve the highest positive impacts on economy, environment and society, it is necessary to ensure that both people and ecosystems benefit from a minimum amount of goods/qualities as expected by specific targets like SDG 6.1–4 (clean water and sanitation) and 15.1–3 (life on land), as well as 7.2–3 (affordable and clean energy) that are strongly linked with 13.1 (climate action). We showed also that the strongest interconections between SDG and WEFE are present for the categories of renewable energy system (RED and REW). However, the analysis showed that there is a tendency to focus on a specific sector (e.g. agriculture) and that the good nexus practices implementation is not enough to understand the achievement and progress towards the SDGs. For that reason, we recommended that a more holistic nexus approach including end of supply chain options should be systematically integrated into the project design or evaluation.
- 29 case studies of WEFE nexus implementation were analysed in the Mediterranean area.
- An analytical framework was developed investigating the impacts of 15 SDGs.
- Economic, societal, and environmental perspectives were investigated.
- The magnitude of interconnection of nexus pillars with SDGs was explicitly quantified.
- Six types of technologies were assessed in achieving the SDG targets and WEFE nexus.
- The analysis showed the need of a more holistic nexus approach integrated into the project design.