Challenges of water management have been traditionally addressed with a sectoral policy approach. However, it is increasingly recognised that different sectors are interconnected in a complex and mutually interacting system. A nexus approach is needed to identify synergies and trade-offs between sectors and to foster the sustainable and efficient use of resources, particularly in light of global changes.
Ecosystems, despite representing the bio-physical foundation of the WEF nexus, have been identified as a missing element in most frameworks. Previous nexus assessments have been mainly focused on the allocation of water to different sectors and users, while ecosystem services were rarely explicitly addressed.

Integrating the Ecosystem Services (ESs) concepts into the nexus approach gives the opportunity of adding a new perspective thus permitting a better understand of cross-sectoral synergies and trade-offs.
In this context, UNTWIST, a new MSCA IF project, aims at exploring new pathways to operationalize Water-Energy-Food (WEF) nexus concepts into practice, applying Artificial Intelligence (AI) to help manage water, energy and food through the lens of Ecosystem Services.

By combining ESs theories with complex system analysis, UNTWIST aims to demonstrate, through two case studies applications in Europe (i.e. Po river basin (Italy), Pas Miera Ason river basins (Spain)), the potential of Artificial Intelligence (AI), and specifically semantic, in developing tailored integrated models, which combining available sectoral knowledge, facilitate the quantification of critical interactions occurring in WEF nexus systems.
Ecosystem Services (ESs) flows, being in the centre of the WEF relationships, are used as common assessment endpoints to disentangle the nexus, thus contributing to reveal potential interdependencies between policy sectors and unlock opportunities for delivering integrated solutions addressing key challenges towards the achievement of interconnected Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
The work will present the UNTWIST approach and some preliminary insights derived from the case study application.


Anna Sperotto, Ferdinando Villa, Stefano Balbi


Poster Session 1 (Water/Energy), Room 1 - 27th September, 15:45 - 16:45



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