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Call: Nexus Management Water-Energy-Food-Ecosystems


TOPIC: 1.4.1-2023 (IA) Accelerate adaptation and mitigation to climate change in the Mediterranean region by deploying WEFE nexus solutions.

TYPE OF ACTION:(IA) Innovation Action


OPENING DATE:  25 Jan, 2023


Stage 1 Pre-proposals – 22 March, 2023 (17:00h Central European Time (CET)
Stage 2 Full proposals – 6 September, 2023 (17:00h Central European Time (CET)


Climate change-associated extreme events, such as droughts and flooding, are considered one of the main challenges Mediterranean countries face. Temperature is expected to continue rising, and rainfall patterns are projected to continue changing, thus increasing risks and vulnerability in a region with limited adaptive capacity. By 2050, the demand for water and food is projected to increase by over 50%, while global energy demand will have nearly doubled, leading to competing needs for the already depleted and degraded scarce resources.

These challenges could affect food security, nutrition and livelihoods, triggering migration. Regarding economic development, climate change is a wicked problem because it is complex and straddles various sectors and levels.

In this context, cross-sectoral management of water, energy, food and ecosystem resources is pivotal to a successful transition to a green economy and sustainable development. Addressing interdependencies is indeed considered essential to achieving the ambitions of the Sustainable Development Goals, the Paris Agreement and the post-2020 biodiversity framework. However, although interest in adaptation to climate change impacts has surged in recent years, the focus has largely remained sectoral, an approach that, if not correctly undertaken, can exacerbate the existing challenges. Therefore, there is a need to shift from vertical to cross-sectoral approaches that promote circularity in resource management, use, and development. Regarded as a transformative approach, the Water-Energy-Food–Ecosystems (WEFE) Nexus has the potential to address competing demands and facilitate adaptation and development in an integrated manner.

Such potential has not yet been fully recognized, as current climate adaptation strategies, including the National Adaptation Plans (NAPs), have mainly promoted sectoral goals. They generally focus on sectoral and project-based activities without adequate consideration or coordination of cross-sectoral interactions among key climate-sensitive sectors, including water, energy, food and ecosystems.
Sectoral adaptation strategies can undermine net resilience by decreasing capacity or increasing risks in another place or sector, resulting in maladaptation. There is a risk that the benefits of cross-sectoral synergies remain unexplored, especially when seeking to speed-up climate adaptation and mitigation actions. This call aims at filling this gap in the Mediterranean region.

The call supports the Nexus cross-sectoral concept as a tool in climate adaptation and mitigation strategies by designing and integrating Nexus solutions into existing climate change adaptation plans at the sectoral level and assessing their impact on the livelihoods of populations and the socio-economic performance in the Mediterranean region. Through a multi-actor approach, project proposals should be built at various demonstration sites, preferably located in Mediterranean Partner Countries31 characterized by diverse climate and agro-ecological and socio-economic conditions with a critical mass of stakeholders, e.g., policymakers, public authorities, farmers, and other end users. Projects should co-deploy WEFE Nexus-based adaptation solutions, including changes in production and management practices (for instance, adapted varieties, mixed cropping systems, agroecological practices, nature-based measures, and renewable energy. Technologies and processes could also be implemented and validated at the demonstration sites, including decision support systems and digital solutions.

Proposals should assess the impact of Nexus-based adaptation and mitigation solutions on improving resource efficiency across the Nexus sectors and take a broad perspective by considering the impact on the overall environment and societal well-being. Consortia are expected to develop conceptual and evaluative tools for assessing tipping points beyond which climate change impacts on water, energy and food demand could harm the ecosystem integrity and the socio-economic security in the Mediterranean region.

Conditions and opportunities for effective engagement of the private sector should be analyzed, and the ways to promote sustainable market solutions should be demonstrated. To this end, proposals should develop business models targeting the Nexus-based adaptation and mitigation solutions, facilitating the roll-out of the piloted innovation at a larger scale across the Mediterranean region.
Ultimately, proposals are invited to offer promising pilots for successfully integrating adaptation and mitigation solutions into cross-sectoral policies. This would enable feedback to decision-makers to revise sectoral adaptation strategies, ensuring a long-lasting adaptation capacity for potentially vulnerable populations.

The objective is to enlarge the PRIMA portfolio of WEFE Nexus projects and case studies. The project proponents should use lessons learned from the Nexus projects funded by PRIMA by developing a close partnership during the implementation of respective projects. The successful consortia are strongly encouraged to participate in the Mediterranean WEFE Nexus Community of Practice created as an outcome of the WEFE Science Advances Conference to stimulate cross-organization collaboration and knowledge sharing in the Mediterranean region.

Due to the specific challenge of this topic, and in line with our principles of allowing maximum participation from Southern Mediterranean Countries to foster both North-South and South-South cooperation, the following additional eligibility criteria apply: “In addition to the minimum number of participants set out in the standard eligibility conditions (section 5.1.3), consortia must include at least one independent legal entity established in any of the MPCs32. The places of the establishment of the legal entities must cover at least two different specific regions in the MPCs.

  • Integrate the Nexus perspective into climate adaptation plans and the adaptation perspective into development plans for better policy integration
  •  Promote sustainable and inclusive economic development, job creation, and improving the livelihoods of people
  • Increase the resilience of marginalised communities
  • Strengthen policy integration between Nexus and adaptation mechanisms across sectors at different scales and among the principal actors
  • Reduction of poverty, migration, and vulnerability of marginalised populations.
  • Number of Nexus-based adaptation and mitigation solutions able to minimize shock, risks, and vulnerability and address impacts and risks associated with climate change
  • Number of engaged stakeholders and end-users
  • Number of business models of Nexus-based adaptation and mitigation solutions developed

The proposal should indicate linkages to relevant EU policies and objectives in the context of the European Green Deal, Water Framework Directive (WFD) and relevant EU Missions and Partnerships

The proposals should indicate their contribution to relevant SDGs and methodology to contribute to reporting SDG indicators.

For questions related to this call for proposals, please get in touch with Prof. Ali Rhouma, PRIMA Project Officer: [email protected]