Article 6: Water-Energy-Food Nexus in the Mediterranean, a roadmap is emerging

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Faced with a ticking climate bomb, Mediterranean countries are the first exposed to the repercussions of climate change on health and food security. For several months, Femise, which has been advocating an integrated approach in the Water-Energy-Food (WEF) sectors in Mediterranean countries, has seen its recommendations validated as part of a public consultation. Beyond the strategy of small steps of each State, a real road map is emerging on a regional scale involving the countries of Southern Europe and the Mediterranean. The key to this innovation is the hope of creating jobs and wealth.

After several months of analyzing the impacts of climate change in Mediterranean countries and highlighting the good practices of each State in the production of renewable energies, preservation and recycling of water resources, Femise published, in September 2023, the third volume of the series of policy briefs produced within the framework of the WEF-CAP project, entitled “The Technology Transfer and Capitalization of Water Energy Food NEXUS: Evaluation of WEF Nexus best practices for replication in the Mediterranean region”. This policy brief contains a series of recommendations addressed to governments, the main orientations of which were validated by a public consultation carried out in March 2023 with Universities, NGOs, think tanks, institutions, administrations, Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), multinationals from the southern shore countries (Tunisia, Egypt, etc.).

These guidelines resemble the construction of a collective roadmap to fight the impacts of climate change. This policy brief includes 10 recommendations at the national level and 6 concerning cooperation at the regional level. Main lesson from this survey of 98 respondents, the integrated approach in the Water-Energy-Food (WEF) sectors received a favorable consensus.

An overview of the findings gathered through this public consultation

Femise invites, through its analysis of the respondents’ contributions collected as part of this public consultation, the governments of Mediterranean countries to strengthen the legal and institutional framework for the implementation of the integrated approach of the Water-Energy-Food Nexus, which involves the allocation of a dedicated budget by governments. The policy brief recommends acting to protect biodiversity while including mitigation measures in national strategies (restrictions on fuels, incentives for innovation with CO2 emissions). Femise invites countries to deploy an information program among the general public to raise awareness of these major developments in order to change behavior,by adopting new consumption models.

It is necessary to design an educational program aimed at training new generations while promoting transparency towards the public by communicating data on climate risks and promoting scientific knowledge. Femise calls for strengthening the engagement of stakeholders, including local communities, for inclusive solutions. At the regional level, Femise recommends including climate change mitigation measures in regional agreements while involving international organizations in financing, technical assistance and coordination. It encourages youth participation and advocates better communication between countries.

This collaborative and integrated approach in the Water-Energy-Food (WEF) sectors in Mediterranean countries goes hand in hand with a new working framework and dedicated governance to meet the challenge of climate change by adopting short-term emergency measures and deciding on medium and long-term directions. Very pragmatic initiatives ranging from the fight against water leaks, increasing agricultural land yields, to the development of an investment strategy in renewable energies, desalination units, wastewater recycling … Strengthening innovation will involve a transfer of skills, the creation of new jobs and above all a better controlled resource in the Mediterranean countries.