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GoNEXUS will leverage and expand the existing WEFE knowledge base to propose concrete solutions for better WEFE governance. Our method primarily revolves around scenarios, nexus dialogues, and a model toolbox. Each of these activities looks to define and refine evidence to create solutions for decision-making from global to local levels. GoNEXUS novel approach combines advanced modelling with the participatory approach of the nexus dialogues.

This diagram showcases the methodology and interconnectivity between GoNEXUS activities.

Case studies

We will conduct 8 case studies to showcase the GoNEXUS approach: at the global, at a continental level in the EU and at the river basin level in 6 case European and African case study sites. Nexus dialogues will be held for each of the case study areas.

Nexus dialogues

The nexus dialogues are a series of participatory discussions between stakeholders, policymakers and experts at various levels (including the local/ basin level, EU level, and global). They will help the GoNEXUS team to better understand existing WEFE  nexus conflicts and trade-offs, incoherent sectoral policies, synergies, and uncertainties. They will also support the co-design of scenarios, models, and solutions to address nexus problems.

During the dialogue process, stakeholders will explore the projections outlined in our scenarios to discuss risk management across the nexus. Bringing together a diverse group of stakeholders will ensure that synergies and trade-offs for different sectors and WEFE elements can be thoroughly explored. The process hopes to build trust and mutual understanding between these diverse stakeholders to improve the legitimacy and uptake of solutions proposed by GoNEXUS.

Model toolbox

The model toolbox will present GoNEXUS’ modelling efforts at both global and local scales. It will showcase the functional links the project aims to establish between existing global and continental models that tackle separate elements of the WEFE nexus. In addition, it will include basin-level WEFE models which will combine a variety of system analysis techniques for each different case study basin linked to global and continental model results. The model toolbox will not only allow us to assess the viability of our solutions but can also act as a methodological starter kit for future nexus research.

The model toolbox will include:

Thematic models that consider the interdependency of different sectors as well as policy models for impact assessment

– A combination of existing numerical models of the different sectors of the WEFE nexus from global to basin/local scales

River basin WEFE models that integrate all relevant nexus elements in case-study-adapted modelling frameworks.

For both the continental and global assessments, our toolbox will start with existing models for climate-water (PCR-GLOBWB and LISFLOOD-EPIC); climate-energy (PROMETHEUS and PRIMES); agriculture and land-use (CAPRI); ecosystems (GLOBIO); and the interaction of the economy, energy, and the environment (GEM-E3). Though these models are already fully operational and have been used for research and decision-making, none of them considers all WEFE components and their interconnections. GoNEXUS will work to establish a fully functional communication system between these models to better account for WEFE trade-offs and links.

GoNEXUS will contribute by:

–  making the linkages between sectors and filling the gaps to create a more holistic analysis

–  downscaling the assessments of global and continental WEFE models through increased modelling detail.

–  enabling a detailed analysis of synergies and trade-offs across WEFE elements through explicitly incorporating WEFE linkages in a single modelling framework

– defining joint efficient and sustainable WEFE management and policies.

The river basin models will be tailored to each of our river basin case studies which will rely on a combination of high-resolution modelling, many-objective decision-making, hydro-economic modelling, system dynamics and agent-based behavioral modelling. By downscaling global model assessments, GoNEXUS will be able to better support work and create possible solutions at the local level.

In addition, the toolbox will also be used to assess the historical and future evolution of the WEFE nexus, providing evidence on the nexus management performance. It will also be used to evaluate the performance of solutions across multiple scales and sectors and assess the impact of GoNEXUS solutions to meet the challenges of climate change and will facilitate the linkages within the nexus to be used by future researchers.


GoNEXUS will develop scenarios projecting future climate conditions, land use and socioeconomic effect, and policy trajectories. Combing existing datasets with expert knowledge from the nexus dialogues., we will define scenarios for 3 periods:

  • 2020-2030, in line with the time horizon of the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable development and the EU policy framework for energy and climate 2030-2050, aligned with the time horizon of the EU Green Deal
  • 2050-2100, to assess long-term implications of scenarios and solutions from the proposed scenarios from previous periods and to consider longer-term strategies (e.g., new EU energy scenarios).

Different data sets will be used for each of the scenarios:

  • Land-use scenarios will be developed using data from the Land Use Harmonisation Project
  • Environmental, socioeconomic, and policy scenarios will be defined based on EU strategies and adapted to the regional and local scale as defined in the nexus dialogues
  • Policy scenarios

    will theorise how current and future nexus policies and strategies will be aligned with climate, land-use, and socio-economic projections.

  • Regional land-use and socio-economic scenarios

    will be developed for each case study and will take into account global forces as well as local factors of change.

  • Global land-use and socio-economic scenarios

    Global and continental drivers meet local factors of change to estimate future land uses and socioeconomic trends.

  • Climate scenario

    The new climate scenarios from the IPCC AR6 report will be adapted from global to local scales to inform adaptation decisions.