Call for Proposals // Nexus Management Water-Energy-Food-Ecosystems 2022 (IA)

Feb 16 2022

Total indicative amount allocated to this call: EUR 6.2 million •

Stage 1 Pre-proposals – 15 March, 2022 (17:00h Central European Time (CET)

Stage 2 Full proposals – 6 September, 2022 (17:00h Central European Time (CET) •


Climate change and population growth projections are on a collision path in the Mediterranean Region. Concern on how long continuing along this path can be sustained is growing. The combined action of these drivers will impinge on water availability, energy consumption, agricultural productivity and ecosystem health:

Water is the medium through which the consequences of climate change extremes – droughts and flash floods – are directly felt by people

Cooling needs of thermo electric generation may no longer be met, thus making the grid unable to supply households and industries with the required power

Higher seasonal temperatures can significantly impact agricultural productivity by increasing evaporative water losses and the heat stress on crops

Mediterranean ecosystems are likely to be pushed past critical thresholds and altered in an unprecedented way, thus degrading their capacity to deliver services to society.

Beyond immediate or delayed effects on the biophysical state of Water, Energy, Food and Ecosystems resources, which have been considered in previous PRIMA calls, the focus of this call will be on the socio-economic impacts of a Nexus approach to the governance of WEFE resources. The livelihood insecurity and inequalities deriving from local resource scarcity in the Mediterranean Region might be push factors for the internal displacement of populations into nearby urban centres. This is especially true in rural areas where the farming-based livelihoods of smallholders are more likely to be affected. Where not well managed, urbanisation can create other challenges, including human health and the labour market, change in consumption patterns, loss of traditions and culture. Agriculture may take a back seat and be unable to cope with mounting pressure on rural hinterlands for food provision amid an increasing dependency on food crop import. At the same time, local employment, better health, improvement of life standard, income development and community development can be achieved by the proper usage of energy. Cross-sectoral (Nexus) policy actions striking a balance between the competing goals of the water, energy, food and ecosystem sectors are needed now as a precondition to prompt adaptation of the Mediterranean supply systems of WEFE resources safe net against projected changes and rise of inequality.


The call supports the development of strategies and policies that boost populations’ capacity to adapt to dwindling Water-Energy-Food-Ecosystem (WEFE) resources in the Mediterranean Region. As declining WEFE resources tends to emerge slowly over time, making a connection with socio-economic impacts is not immediately distinguishable from acute events. Given the need to plan for the future in the present, early identification of causal connections between socio-economic impacts and measures to build local resilience of WEFE resource management is necessary. To this end, proposals should be built around Nexus demonstration cases as socio-innovative adaptation experiments in different contexts. By analysing WEFE production and consumption structures, proposals should identify their impacts on the life-supporting abilities and local communities’ social and economic performance under climate change and demographic constraints. Actions would address the interplay of impacts, for example, of disruption of regional and international trade flows of food crops, on people’s displacement. In particular, actions could explore the associations between the trading of crop products and local usages of water, energy, ecosystem resources under different scenarios. Specific methodologies are necessary for the co-development in a participatory approach of transformative Nexus solutions as a potential strategy of people’s adaptation to the intensification of resource scarcity. Outcomes should then be translated into WEFE resource-related indicators to monitor these strategies’ qualitative and quantitative impacts and provide hints for possible futures. This would enable feedback to decision-makers to develop Nexus policies and strategies, ensuring a long-lasting adaptation capacity of potentially vulnerable populations.

Extensive involvement of stakeholders and right holders is necessary to make projects also social innovative experiments. The project’s evaluation will emphasise explicit KPIs to ensure quantifiable outcomes. The project proponents should identify potential synergies with other PRIMA, H2020 and Horizon Europe projects. The successful consortia should take part in the Mediterranean WEFE Nexus Community of Practice created as an outcome of the WEFE Science Advances Conference to stimulate cross-organisation collaboration and knowledge sharing in the Mediterranean Region.

Expected impacts

Integration of Nexus considerations into public and business decision-making at different governance levels through innovative toolboxes and guidelines supporting policymakers and practitioners in the implementation of adaptation strategies

Increase resilience to climate change, ensuring good quantitative and qualitative status of water, sustainable agriculture, food and energy production, and healthy ecosystems

Increase the socio-economic livelihood conditions of vulnerable populations

Share best Nexus practices across disciplinary silos in a context of combined natural, economic and social systems

Key Performance Indicators

Degree of integration between water related policies, such as environmental, climate, agriculture and energy policies

Number of stakeholders involved in innovative experiments

Number of Nexus demonstration cases as socio-innovative adaptation experiments in different contexts

Links with EU Policies, HE Mission’s and Partnerships

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 Horizon Europe Missions and Partnerships

European Partnership Water Security for the Planet (Water4All)

European Partnership accelerating farming systems transition: agroecology living labs and research infrastructures

European Partnership for Safe and Sustainable Food Systems for people, planet and climate

European Partnership for rescuing biodiversity to safeguard life on Earth

Links with SDGs

Communication from the Commission to the European Parliament, the Council, the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions “A Farm to Fork Strategy for a fair, healthy and environmentally-friendly food system”

Communication from the Commission to the European Parliament, the Council, the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions “EU Biodiversity Strategy for 2030 Bringing nature back into our lives

Further Information

More information is available here, where you can also download the call documents and templates.

For questions related to this call for proposals, please contact Ali Rhouma.

Source: Nexus - The Water, Energy & Food Security Resource Platform