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Call: Nexus management Water-Energy-Food-Ecosystems 2021


TOPIC: 1.4.1-2021 (IA) Leveraging knowledge on the Nexus management of Water-Energy-Food-Ecosystems resources in the Mediterranean region: from concepts to practical solutions.

TYPE OF ACTION: (IA) Innovation and Action


OPENING DATE: Stage 1 Pre-proposals – 5 March, 2021

DEADLINE; Stage 1 Pre-proposals – 13 April, 2021 (17:00h Barcelona time)
Stage 2 Full proposals – 09 September, 2021 (17:00h Barcelona time)



The Sustainable Development Goals on water, energy, food and biodiversity sit at the heart of the Agenda 2030. A central principle of SDGs is to reach across all sectors and operate them in an interdependent way. This nexus is a key determinant for a successful implementation of the objectives of Agenda 2030. However, the current silo-driven disproportionate use and allocation of WEFE resources have created an imbalance in the physical and natural systems. Besides, these interlinked resources are managed by separate institutions to facilitate decision-making, which overlooks the interdependences and interconnectivity of the resources. This is especially critical in the Mediterranean region, where climate change projections make more and more relevant the need for achieving further benefits to nature, economy and society per drop of available water. Optimization of water allocation across, e.g., the irrigation and the energy sectors is central in scenario planning for regional and local development. Research has a role to play by providing convincing evidence as a basis for nexus decision making in the Mediterranean region. Integrated tools are necessary to enlighten stakeholders on the spatial-temporal dimension of social and economic drivers and the benefits deriving from trading in circular cycles of the water, energy, food and ecosystem resources. At the same time, the fact that significant nexus challenges have to be tackled at the local level should not be neglected.

However, although the systemic nature of water, energy and food securities is widely recognized, there is a relatively limited understanding of how to take action to address these relationships. Lack of knowledge and resistance to changes hinder the practical deployment of a cross-sectoral nexus approach in the management of natural resources.


The call for proposals aims at creating a PRIMA portfolio of demonstration cases at specific sites in the Mediterranean region to operationalize the Water-Energy-Food-Ecosystems (WEFE) Nexus concept and translate conceptual considerations first into practical solutions and then into specific policy-making processes. To this end, technologies, processes and management models, including decision support system tools, digital solutions, data infrastructure, should be implemented and validated in demonstration areas under a practical approach. This action should identify and implement solutions for gaining efficiency and saving of water-energy-food resources. Proposals should address the interdependency of food, water and energy securities by analysing trade-offs and synergies between sectors and potential impact on social stability due to resource shortages and climate change. Activities should analyse good practices for resource allocation and assess the economic, environmental and social implications of various choices. For the proposed cases, Nexus interventions should be identified and prioritized, also considering ecosystems and natural infrastructure, in a participatory dialogue with water right holders and stakeholders accounting for the specific social and economic circumstances. Starting from existing governance frameworks, demonstration cases should also analyze the potential for upscaling and replication of the Nexus solutions in other geographic or thematic contexts in the Mediterranean region and identify impacts on the Sustainable Development Goals. Extensive involvement of stakeholders and right holders is necessary to make projects also social innovative experiments. Projects evaluation will emphasis explicit KPI to ensure quantifiable outcomes. The project proponents should make use of lessons learned from the Nexus projects funded by H2020 and PRIMA in 2019 and 2020 calls through the development of a close partnership during the implementation of respective projects. The objective is to enlarge the portfolio of WEFE Nexus projects and case studies in PRIMA. Successful consortia are also asked to cooperate with the EC Knowledge Hub on Water and Agriculture[1] to facilitate the uptake of project outputs by policymakers after project completion.

Expected impacts

  • Support the identification and development of practical solutions where the use of a nexus approach can lead to improved outcomes in the integrated management of water-energy-food-ecosystems resources.
  • Increased water and energy use efficiency contributing to the reduction of conflicts in the allocation of resources and adaptation and resilience to climate change.
  • Enable the deployment of methodologies and guidelines stimulating the reduction of water use and deliver tools addressing the cascading effects and impacts on other sectors in a circular economy perspective.
  • Demonstrate how science can strengthen institutional capacities, support the intra-regional dialogue and integration of knowledge, and positively benefit multiple SDGs.
  • Ensure viability and replicability of the demonstration cases also after the end of the project.
  • Demonstrate how the nexus approach provides the opportunity for building regional resilience to climate change.

Supporting information for Section 1 Call for Proposals, Topic 1.4.1


Call Documents and Templates


More information

For questions related to this call for proposals, please contact Ali Rhouma [email protected]