Sister projects Horizon2020 REXUS and LENSES PRIMA move forward to mainstream Nexus tools in practice

Sister projects Horizon2020 REXUS and LENSES PRIMA move forward to mainstream Nexus tools in practice

From 7-9 November 2023, scientists and stakeholders representing all Water, Energy, Food & Ecosystems Nexus sectors from pilot areas in Europe, the Mediterranean and Latin America joined the 5th joint plenary of sister projects Horizon2020 REXUS and LENSES PRIMA in Larisa, Greece.

The projects’ scientific teams and representatives from the WEFE sectors from 11 pilots explored ways of further fine tuning the tools and methods designed by the two projects in order to satisfy different pilot needs. They analyzed the scientific findings from a plethora of tools applied, such as water accounting and climate risk assessment, and identified obstacles that hinder the transition from Nexus thinking to Nexus doing in practice, including lack of adequate data and political barriers.

Approximately 80 participants attended the 5th Joint Plenary that took place in Larisa, the capital of Thessaly, Greece’s agricultural heartland. Pinios river basin, the only common pilot area for both projects, is located in the Thessaly River Basin District.

During the plenary, after an overview of the REXUS and LENSES achievements, each pilot leader together with the respective stakeholder updated participants on the implementation of Nexus tools and methods in their pilot.
During the breakout groups, stakeholders explained the nature of the obstacles that impede cross sectoral collaboration in their pilot areas, ranging from regulatory and cultural to economic and technological barriers. Together with pilot leaders from REXUS and LENSES projects, they examined how these could be overcome in order to mainstream water, energy and food Nexus solutions in practice.
The Nima pilot in Columbia, is one of the REXUS pilots that faces challenges such as water security and water pollution. Through a series of interviews and workshops with stakeholders, several solutions including Nature based Solutions have been identified in order to tackle them.
During a field visit to the Pinios River Basin and the pilot of Pinios, the SWRI team explained the methods and tools implemented in the quest for integrated management of the water, energy and food sectors in light of climate change in the area together with farmers and all Nexus related stakeholders.
Looking towards the future, stakeholders and project partners discussed ways of replicating tools from both projects to assist existing gaps in their pilots.  
A visual designer captured key elements from the meeting’s deliberations and the structured discussions breathing life to the REXUS vision “From Nexus thinking to Nexus doing”.
GWP-Med, leader of the Communication and Dissemination Work Package, updated participants on communication outputs aiming to promote REXUS’s participation in scientific fora, videos under preparation and efforts to raise the project’s profile in the media.
GWP-Med together with SWRI designed a comprehensive media strategy around the event, that included key journalists specialized in environmental issues from local and national Greek media. As a result, the meeting and the tools developed by both projects were featured in the Sunday edition of one of the most popular daily Greek newspapers “Kathimerini” and interviews from REXUS and LENSES partners featured across all local media: TV, radio, portals and printed daily and weekly newspapers.
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