Session 15-I - Science-Policy Interfacing for Managing a Natural Resource Nexus
[Clarify resource interlinkages]

Convener - Serena Caucci

Speaker Titel Abstract Kind of presentation
Chrysi Laspidou The resource nexus: Identifying critical interlinkages for efficient resource management  Complexity science methods applied for policies provide a means of exploring the effects of various types of spatial and temporal drivers and constraints on the behavior of society and helps scenario-forming and the development of sound policies through stakeholder consultations. In the context of policy-making following a Nexus approach that includes Water, Energy, Food, Land Use and Climate, System Dynamics Modelling is used, in order to integrate different model outputs and to handle system complexity via a building-block approach. The objective of this article is to present the System Dynamics Model (SDM) that establishes and quantifies the interlinkages among all five Nexus dimensions for the national case study of Greece. The methodology of data mapping and linking Nexus components in a complex system is presented, while outputs from scientific models are integrated producing a web of interlinkages that are quantified. In the framework of the H2020 project SIM4NEXUS, the interlinkages among all five Nexus dimensions are established in a conceptual framework for the national case study of Greece; it is then translated into an SDM built in STELLA Professional. The national case is disaggregated and analysed in fourteen River Basin Districts. Data from open databases, such as Eurostat and FAO are used, while data from E3ME model are integrated. All interlinkages are mapped and quantified, identifying which Nexus dimensions strongly affect others and which interlinkages are relatively weak. Food is identified as the Nexus component affecting the largest number of other Nexus dimensions, while Water is the most vulnerable sector, since it is strongly affected by the others. Oral (normal length)
Janez Susnik From nexus system concept to serious game implementation: the SIM4NEXUS approach to policy-relevant nexus research and dissemination  There is growing interest in using serious games for a wide range of applications, from water resources management to pilot training. Concurrently, there is rapidly growing interest in the water-energy-food/land-climate nexus, where interactions in one sector leads to impacts in others, some of which are unforeseen due to complexity. Common practice revolves around sectoral silos, with relatively little interaction or consideration of wider impacts. Serious games could help erode these silos, fostering efforts towards assessing policy decisions in a safe space, where potential impacts (unforeseen or otherwise) can be explored and assessed without real consequences. One point of criticism of some serious games is their lack of policy relevance. SIM4NEXUS ( is an ongoing H2020 research project that develops policy-relevant serious games for 12 case studies from sub-national to global scale, addressing the challenges above. Close case study stakeholder involvement is critical at every step, from qualitative system design and conceptualisation, policy analysis and selection, quantitative model development and serious game testing and playing. SIM4NEXUS covers five nexus sectors (water, energy, land, food, climate) and develops scientifically-robust system dynamics models to quantify and explore the nexus relationships, including the impact of policy, for each case. Models explore the impacts of changes in one sector (e.g. policy actions) both within that sector and on all other related sectors. The SIM4NEXUS serious games ‘play’ the models via an online user-friendly graphical interface. Through intelligent game design, nexus-wide policy and climate impacts are clearly and effectively communicated to stakeholders and policy makers while also being fun to play, offering opportunity for nexus exploration in an educational setting. This paper details the SIM4NEXUS process, from system conceptualisation, through quantitative model development and ending at the serious game, emphasising the constant stakeholder collaboration to ensure that the outputs remain relevant. Oral (normal length)
Stefanie Kunkel, Marcel Matthess Digitalisation & Sustainability: Policy expectations of sustainability potentials and Circular Economy implementation with digital technologies  With the digital transformation in industry becoming ever more important, questions about the potential of digital technologies to contribute to a more environmentally friendly industrial production arise. Not only scientific findings on technical feasibility of digital technologies but also the political perception of their opportunities and risks shape the implementation of policies and determine whether these technologies will contribute to positive sustainability outcomes. For example, in 2015 the Chinese government issued the “Internet Plus” policy dedicated to the integration of the internet in society and business. Among others, the policy proposes the use of Internet of Things technologies for waste tracking – a useful step to proliferate the Chinese Circular Economy (CE) Programme? In this session, I present the preliminary results of research on expectations about the effects of digitalisation on sustainability in the manufacturing sector. Firstly, I present some empirical findings from the literature on the link between digitalisation and environmental sustainability in the manufacturing sector. Secondly, I will present selected results from a qualitative content analysis of industrial and digital strategies of selected low and middle income countries. In particular, I want to discuss the Chinese case of the use of Internet of Things Technologies for waste tracking and CE implementation purposes. The goal of this research is to put sustainability-related policy expectations into perspective by relating them to scientific findings and the country context in which the use of digital technologies is envisioned. This research is useful in two ways. On the one hand, it provides an insight into policy perceptions of the potential of digitalisation for more sustainable business practices, such as the implementation of the CE, in the manufacturing sector. On the other hand, it allows examining the potential gaps between policy expectations and the scientific discourse and might help addressing these gaps. Oral (normal length)
Lama Elhatow Climate change as an opportunity for cooperation in the Blue Nile River Basin under the Water-Energy-Food (WEF) Nexus  The countries of the Blue Nile River Basin encompassing Egypt, Ethiopia, and Sudan, have faced a history of tensions over the uses of the water resources on this river. With competing claims for water to suffice their needs, a shift in their interactions becomes necessary for cooperation. With population increase, environmental degradation, and the exacerbated effects of climate change, the three countries independently have growing developmental needs and plans which require utilization of this resource to meet these needs particularly within the water, energy, and food sectors. Climate change impacts on this basin however are quite severe from extreme water scarcity, drought and famine, to floods and degradation. As one of the most impacted and vulnerable regions globally from climate change, these countries are seeing the effects compounded. It is imperative to understand the true motive nationally behind the utilization of the river’s waters; be it energy, food, or water security, or agricultural growth, industrial growth, ecosystem services, etc. Once the needs for the utilization of water become apparent for each, the areas for mutual benefit sharing become clear for all. It can be used to better align where the opportunities for cooperation can exist. This research assesses the areas for cooperation between the 3 countries under climate change using the Water-Energy-Food (WEF) nexus as a framework for analysis. The research methodology involves a combination of 1) an exploratory survey given to experts in the field from the 3 countries; 2) semi-structured interviews with key experts in relation to the drivers for action in the Blue Nile; and 3) secondary data obtained from documents including national action plans on climate change, and policy documents. Indicative findings outline the opportunities through mutual benefit sharing for cooperation between the 3 states to move forward together collaboratively on a regional level. Oral (short presentation)
Matthew Griffey The Nexus approach for water utilities: A case study from South West UK  The delivery of drinking water and wastewater services is inextricably linked to significant demand for energy and other key resources arising from the natural environment. Furthermore, it is becoming evident that the growing pressures of climate change and population growth heighten the need for efficiency and integrated solutions. Within this context the UK water industry regulators expect drinking water and wastewater service providers to undertake suitable planning actives to ensure the ongoing delivery of services. To that end, South West Water Ltd (SWW) has developed a Systems Dynamics Model (SDM) based decision support tool to help them better understand the complexity and interactions of the nexus components. The work to be presented will outline the development of the south-west UK case study for the SIM4NEXUS project, as undertaken by SWW and The University of Exeter. The UK case study is unique within the SIM4NEXUS project, as it includes financial modeling that links policy and investment decision making, to water bill affordability and commercial viability. The nexus approach aims to develop a holistic and comprehensive understanding of how the supply and consumption of energy, food, and water interact within the context of a changing climate and population growth. Focusing on SWW’s operational area of approximately 1.7 million customers, the case study addresses how legislation, policy and strategic planning can be aligned to: 1. Support the provision of water and wastewater services in a region with significant environmental sensitivities and the UK’s largest tourism region. 2. Recognise the need for resilience in the face of climate change, population growth and an increasingly competitive market place. The outputs from the SDM framework are being developed by Exeter University into a “Serious Game”, that can simulate the Water, Energy & Food NEXUS in the region. Oral (short presentation)
Xu Tian Water-energy-land nexus of hydropower development in Sichuan province: impacts from climate change  Electricity consumption is increasing as the rapid economic growth in China. Increasing the use of renewable energy will help to cope with climate change and reduce emissions caused by coal thermal power, as well as meet the increase in electricity consumption. Hydropower plays an important role in China's electricity generation. To operate the hydropower system at all time and under diverse climatic conditions, a complex water-energy-land nexus relationship should be considered. For instance, the land is required to build up infrastructure for energy and water production, energy is required to water supply and treatment, water withdrawals are required for energy production. On the other hand, it is noticed that the utilization of hydropower has been increasingly affected by climate change. In our current paper, we take Sichuan province in China as a case study, which is the major area of China’s hydropower generation as well as the most fragile area influenced by climate change. Two aspects are considered and analyzed (1) the trade-offs between water, energy and land with main focus on hydropower generation and (2) forecast WELN in 2050 based on China’s thirteen hydropower bases planning under different climatic conditions. It is concluded there is an urgent need to revise the plans for future thermal power plants and hydropower. To decrease the climate change risk a further increase in electricity capacity from hydropower of 14% is needed to meet the electricity demand. Furthermore, Sichuan is the key province for China’s “west to east” electricity transfer project. If future plans for thermal power plants will not take place the electricity transfer between regions will be greatly affected economically. There are trades to be made to meet climate change targets and economic growth to this region. Our study will provide valuable policy implications for China’s future hydropower planning. Oral (short presentation)
Manzoor Qadir Strengthening enabling environments to accelerate achievement of SDG 6  The world at large is not on track to achieve water-related sustainable development by the end of the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) era. Strengthening enabling environments to drive successful achievement of water-related sustainable development is becoming a critical step for many countries, particularly low- and middle-income economies, as the urgency for policy actions is growing with time. Making the right policy decisions in the SDG era can be complex as the evidence for “fit-for-policy” decision making may be incomplete, contentious, or conflicting. A multi-partner team of water professionals and policymakers developed the SDG 6 Policy Support System (SDG-PSS) to facilitate pertinent policy actions ensuring the achievement of water-related SDGs at the national level. The system provides a strong foundation for countries based on a rigorous and systematic approach to support policy processes and decisions to accelerate the achievement of SDG 6 targets by 2030. Available in multiple languages – English, French, and Spanish – SDG-PSS is a user-friendly system available freely online. The system is organized around six critical components: Capacity Assessment; Finance Assessment; Policy and Institutional Assessment; Gender Mainstreaming; Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR)/Resilience Mainstreaming; and Integrity. These components stem from more than 20 well-established tools, processes, and practices. Developed and tested in partnership with 5 countries (Costa Rica, Ghana, Pakistan, Republic of Korea, and Tunisia), SDG-PSS is being used by the policymakers in more than 25 countries and this number is expected to grow with time. As a means of implementation, SDG-PSS also complements UN-Water’s Integrated Monitoring Initiative (IMI) in its pursuit of SDG 6 data monitoring and reporting at the national level. Oral (normal length)
Daniela Schrack How to develop Circular Economy Policies using an SDG Framework  As resource consumption is continuously rising and climate change, driven by human activities, has become a major societal and governmental challenge, the concept of Circular Economy (CE) is viewed to be a promising approach to help reduce our global sustainability pressures. The circular approach generally contrasts with traditional economic and linear “take-make-use-dispose” systems and focuses on slowing, closing and narrowing resource cycles. Besides political initiatives at the European level to advance CE (e.g. Circular Economy Action Plan, EU Strategy for Plastics in the Circular Economy) the United Nations ‘2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development’, with its 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) at its heart, explicitly includes CE targets within SDG 12 (‘Responsible Consumption and Production’). Literature also shows that CE practices can directly contribute to a broad range of connected SDGs, among them SDG 6, 7, 8, 9, 13 and 15. Within this context, the main research question of our project is how to develop an adequate CE policy set which enables economies to successfully implement the UN SDGs. Based on a longitudinal case study (the UniNEtZ project in Austria), which includes a multi-stakeholder involvement, we investigate the process of developing CE policies for the Austrian Federal Government. Our analysis draws on the theory of change which assumes linear chains from a program implementation to societal impact. The findings provide a structured approach clarifying how different stakeholders from academia, industry, research funding and government collaborate, how knowledge is created and transferred within this multi-stakeholder process and what outputs, outcomes and impacts can be realized at the national level in the context of developing CE policies using an SDG framework. Oral (normal length)
Eben-Anuwah Amarh The Kwawu resilient entrepreneurial ecosystems: A complex adaptive systems approach to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals   Oral (short presentation)