Learning and action alliancEs for NexuS EnvironmentS (LENSES)

Over the last decade, significant effort has been made to improve the understanding of the Water, Ecosystem, Food (WEF) Nexus (connection) as a framework for resource security and sustainable development. There is still a need for approaches capable of overcoming the sector segregation, allowing for an equitable and socially acceptable allocation of resources. Moving beyond a mere scientific Nexus understanding, efforts are required to enable collective learning processes through the active, inclusive and equitable engagement of all decision-makers and multi-stakeholders involved in the Nexus management. LENSES aims at enhancing system understanding, gathering and structuring knowledge to unravel complexity and manage uncertainty in WEF systems, with their dynamic evolution. Coping with uncertainty and understanding “what are the intrinsic qualities that render a WEF system resilient” is vital to building resilient Nexus systems, i.e. developing the capacity of Nexus systems to adapt quickly to changes and disruptions.

By activating collective learning, LENSES envisions building resilient Nexus systems:

(i) that recognise and deal with uncertainty and change (e.g. climatic, social, technological, environmental);

(ii) that can avoid technical lock-in by having the ability to adapt based on new evidence or circumstances

(iii) whose WEF domains can accommodate disruption (e.g. due to water scarcity, socio-economic stresses, shocks);

(iv) that are resourceful and use multi-functional solutions (e.g. via Nature Based Solutions (NBS));

(v) that can assess how actions in one area may affect the coordination of institutions and policies for resource management in another area (e.g. payments for ecosystem services);

but, perhaps most critically, it envisions

(vi) a Nexus which is bottom-up by engaging with all relevant communities and places

(vii) offers a well-balanced distribution of the Nexus elements and services amongst the societal stakeholders, including the private sector, to promote sustainable market solutions and

(viii) makes use of the assets each one has and addresses the current incapacities.

In this context, LENSES aims to contribute to improved water allocation, enhanced food security while preserving ecosystems and to aid climate change adaptation, by supporting the operationalization of the Nexus paradigm (from Nexus Thinking to Nexus Doing). This will be realized through a collective learning process, which integrates the concepts of sustainable Nexus management (progressing Sustainable Development Goals, SDGs) with a resilience-oriented approach, leading decision-makers in accepting uncertainty as integral part of management and decision-making. This will be done in six pilots, distributed across the Mediterranean basin, which cover a wide range of relevant environmental, socio-economic and socio-technical conditions.

Role of DRAXIS:

DRAXIS is the technical coordinator of the program.  It is responsible for providing relevant climate projections and carrying out climate risk assessments for the use cases. Moreover, DRAXIS develops and maintains the LENSES Observatory, a platform empowered by Earth Observation and supporting the visualization of Nexus Indicators for the explored sectors. Other than that, it will develop the individual methodological approaches and criteria for the final comprehensive LENSES Nature-based Solutions Selection Framework. Finally, DRAXIS has undertaken the development of the exploitation and sustainability plan of the project’s results for maximizing the project impact after its end.

This project is funded by the H2020 Framework Programme of the European Union