ENEON Food-Water-Energy Nexus Working Group

WG Membership
WG Meetings
WG Charter
Sign Up
Splinter meeting of the FWEN WG at EGU. Read more ...


The FWEN Working Group of ENEON is working with European EO communities and networks to improve decision support in the broad domain of the food-water-energy nexus. A goal is to demonstrate that cross-domain and discipline cooperation between EO networks and communities analysing EOs can provide new information and improve the understanding of an issues as complex as the FWEN. The working group is supported by Task 5.6 of the ConnectinGEO Project.

At the first ENEON Workshop, several themes were considered for such a demonstration project. There were three theme proposals:

  • Urban coasts under climate change and sea level rise
  • Resilient communities
  • Food-water-energy nexus.

The participants selected the FWEN as the theme for this interdisciplinary demonstration project.

Under this theme, the task will apply the ConnectinGEO methodology to indicators related to this FWEN and explore to what extent ENEON provides an environment that supports a transdisciplinary nexus approach to a complex and societally highly relevant issue. Specifically, the task will conduct the following activities:

  • Use the observation inventory and the gap analysis to identify potential stakeholders who can benefit from collaboration across disciplines and domains represented in ENEON and develop a compelling argument for the prioritization of FWEN-related observations and products based on results from the work packages.
  • Determine stakeholders, develop plans for further research and investigate regional, national and international funding opportunities to cover the gaps identified.
  • Analyze the cost saving potential of collaborations across previously segregated disciplines and domains

In addressing the FWEN under global and climate change, the task will specifically consider indicators related to food, water and energy security. The recent very rapid changes in the phosphate and nitrogen cycle (e.g., Rockström et al., 2009, Rockström and Klun, 2015) associated with food production will also be considered. Taking into account that the rapidly increasing energy usage during the last roughly 100 years enabled the population growth that is now threatening food and water security, the task will actually have to consider the Energy-Population-Food-Water-Nexus (EPFWN). The nexus approach will help to understanding the interdependencies between energy usage and availability, population growth, global change, food security, water security, and the global boundaries. Specific questions to be consider are:

  • How can collaboration and coordination through ENEON help to inform about the FWEN and impacts in Europe?
  • Which SDGs relate to the FWEN and which are the relevant indicators?
  • Can ENEON help to quantify the indicators for these SDGs?
  • What ENEON products could support policy making that takes a nexus perspective?

The most relevant GEO Societal Benefit Areas (SBAs) are Food Security and Sustainable Agriculture; Water Resources Management: Agriculture, Water, Energy; and Energy and Mineral Resources Management. Also relevant are Biodiversity and Ecosystem Sustainability and Sustainable Urban Development. Disaster Resilience and Infrastructure and Transportation Management also have relevance to the FWEN.

There are many Essential Variables (EVs) that relate to the FWEN. The EVs to be used will be determined using the ConnectinGEO methodology. To the extent possible, the societal goals and targets will be extracted from the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) accepted by the United Nations. Based on the associated indicators, a specific set of EVs for the FWEN will be established. To the extent possible, these EVs will be extracted from the SBA-specific EVs.

The main gaps to be addressed in this WG include the lack of collaborations across disciplines and domains, and a gap in GEOSS related to theme-based approaches to data and product discovery. A particular gap is that linking industry and science communities. Another gap relates to links between different observing networks required to address a complex issue such as the FWEN.

The outcomes expected from the WG include a report characterizing the gaps that hamper the use of GEOSS in addressing complex issues and proposing actions to address these gaps. The report will identify the stakeholders of the FWEN who would are impacted by the identified gaps and who would benefit from actions addressing the gaps. The aim is to quantify the societal benefits and to estimate the benefit-to-cost ration. A particular focus will be on the potential contributions of ENEON in closing the gaps. The report will also describe the EVs relevant for the FWEN and assess to what spatial and temporal extent data for these EVs is available through ENEON.

An attempt will be made to identify at least one product that directly relates to the FWEN and that could be produced based on data provided by ENEON members. Prime candidates are quantification of SDG-related indicators that are relevant to the FWEN. The EVs related datasets will be identified and an inventory of these datasets will be compiled.

It is planned to focus on Europe as the test region. Temporally, the project period is the main timeslot to be considered. However, for the quantification of indicators, it may also be consider to extend the time window into the past.

The result of the work in the WG will be documented here. The results will also be presented at the second ENEON plenary workshop in October 2016. The WG work will be distilled into a report to the EC, and the scientifically relevant parts will be published in scientific papers.

ENEON is a key component bringing together the networks required to address metrics-related aspects of the FWEN. Moreover, the goal is to identify related gaps in ENEON and to propose actions for a remedy of these gaps.

In the post-2015 period, GEOSS has a dedicated focus on supporting the SDGs. The WG's work directly relates to this goal and will provided important feedback to what extent GEOSS is prepared to inform complex societal issues associated with the SDGs.

The stakeholders of this WG include those monitoring the indicators for SDGs related to the FWEN, and those engaged in planning actions to make progress towards these SDGs. The EO networks providing data for EVs required to quantify the indicators are also stakeholders of the FWEN. Researchers studying the FWEN as well as funding agencies at national and international levels providing financial resources for EO networks, research, and monitoring relevant to the FWEN belong to the stakeholders, too. In particular, funding agencies will be interested in cost savings and increased efficiency that may result from the actions proposed by the challenge.