Democratic science, participation and support are fundamental pillars of successful policy making in a nexus context. They can help to avoid pitfalls such as conflicting or absent regulation, ambiguity between strategies, low awareness of interrelations and therefore lack of priority, diffuse responsibility and inaction.
Policy making in a nexus context, pitfalls and recommendations for improvement
The added value of a nexus approach stems from the exploitation of synergy between policies, avoidance of conflicts and negative trade-offs because they were foreseen and addressed, and innovative solutions stimulated by broad cross-sectoral views and relational learning. Conflicting interests between sectors in the nexus between water, land, energy, food and climate, insufficiently addressed in strategic European and national policy, have led to inconsistent implementation and undesired developments at regional scale. On the other hand, options for synergy could get more explicit support in European and national legislation and policy instruments. Several regional cases mentioned European funding as a necessary condition for cross-sectoral cooperation.
Regulatory gaps and inconsistencies in regulations for water, land, energy and climate
Four national and six regional cases reported regulatory gaps, ambiguities and inconsistencies in regulations for water, land, energy, agriculture and climate, that caused conflicts and missed opportunities for synergy between sectoral policies during implementation. A nexus approach could support policy coherence, but this takes political will, a cross-disciplinary mindset and a carefully organised process through the whole policy cycle (Figure). Monitoring and reporting of cross-sectoral policy impacts at regional and local scale can feed a bottom-up nexus learning process at strategic level.
This product is a publication of the SIM4NEXUS project. This European project aims to qualify the water, energy, land, food and climate nexus for resource efficiency. The project addresses knowledge and technology gaps and thereby facilitates the design of policies within the nexus. The project will deliver a Serious Game, a cloud-based, integrated tool for testing and evaluating policy decisions.