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The ‘Moving Towards Adaptive Governance in Complexity: Informing Nexus Security’ (MAGIC) project is 4 year one funded under the H2020-WATER-2015-two-stage programme, in the line ‘Integrated food safety, low carbon energy, sustainable water management and climate change mitigation strategies’ (WATER-2b-2015). MAGIC aims to break with the past in narrative construction of sustainable policy formulations related to the nexus between food, energy, water and climate; thereby leading the institutions (specifically the European Commission) more quickly to current thought regarding this nexus based on the theory of complex systems, ecology theory likewise the history and philosophy of science and technology. The solution MAGIC poses is based on opening the space of possible narratives instead of choosing a single narrative so that numbers prevent identification of the optimum solution.

This is called QST and integrates quality and quantity analysis. The mechanism supporting QST is called MuSIASEM (Multi-Scale Integrated Analysis of Societal and Ecosystem Metabolism). Beyond seeking to reinforce and confirm the selected narrative, the analysis via QST aims to systematically try an incorrect option identifying restrictions and impossibilities. A QST option or line can be tested based on its viability (do the resources add?), feasibility (can a society and institutions implement it with the proposed technology?), and convenience (is this what society expects to achieve?). QST avoids the precision of large mathematical models seeking the clarity and simplicity of the flow fund balances indicated.

MAGIC checks existing policies and innovative trends, rejecting unrealistic dichotomies among scientists and policy creators. The works occur in communities where scientists, policy executors and civil society co-exist. The narratives created and analysed by these communities constitute a socially solid contribution for the development of policies. In the third millennium, the change of the ‘empty world’ concept to that of a ‘complete globalised world’ is reaching its maximum speed, which generates new challenges for sustainability management. Conventional solutions as a readjustment of the combination or production factors (substitute a less limited resource to compensate the scarcity of the other), or externalisation of the problem to other agents making maximum use of current favourable exchange terms, may become unsustainable in the long-term in our world. Implementation of policies which involve the nexus between water, food, energy and use of the land requires urgent revision of existing analytical and theoretical

  • Universitat Autonoma de Barcelona (UAB) . Spain
  • The James Hutton Institute (JHI) . UK
  • University of Wageningen (WUR) . The Netherlands
  • University of Twente (UT) . The Netherlands
  • University of Bergen (UiB) . Norway
  • EC-Joint Research enter (EC-JRC). EU
  • Universitá Napoli Federico II (UNFII). Italy
  • Climate Analytics (CA). Germany
  • Instituto Tecnológico de Canarias (ITC). Spain 
  • Yale University (YU) * without EU funding. USA

H2020 Funds (UE) - (100%): 7.457.761,25 €

May 2016 – September 2020

Main objective:

The aim of MAGIC is to transform the current Nexus to indicate the complexity of the relationship between water, soil energy and climate in a series of relationships about identified factors which can be systematically used to explore this complexity. This means, this analysis must include social challenges and perceptions of the interested parties related to the nexus climate-water-food-energy. Dialogue spaces will be opened in the project and diffusion strategies announced, likewise mixed qualitative and quantitative tools will be developed in a community construction exercise context transcending scientific mechanistic policy creator, while making maximum use of the rich spectrum of actors and institutions active in Nexus. 

Specific objectives:

  • Structure Nexus perception (qualitative) and representation (quantitative using an approximation called QST (e.g. construction and verification of the stories used to study and assess the Nexus)
  • Carry out 1. A state-of-the-art diagnosis / where are we? And 2. A simulation of the existing options space / where can we go from here? In the context of relevant European policies for Nexus?
  • Create and maintain a dialogue space in Nexus as an essential infrastructure for the Nexus definition, operation and governance. A good example of what can be achieved via open consultation is the GMFs case.
  • Create a Nexus information space (NIS). This NIS is a geo-referenced visualisation tool which includes complex information related to the Nexus. This enables establishment of a connection among different measures used to store data on: water, food, agriculture, energy and climate among others. Carry out a qualitative check of story policies regarding Nexus. Quantitative stories use results expected by the policies chosen to check whether this results are feasible, viable and executable in relation to the Nexus
  • Undertake a qualitative check of the assessment process of improvements referred to Nexus. Likewise in this case, the QSTs will be applied to test feasibility, viability and convenience regarding the nexus of a wide range of innovative applications. On this point different study cases will be used in relation to the 5 innovative aspects relevant to the Nexus: (i), biofuel production (ii) fracking, (iii) GMFs, (iv) negotiable licences and (v) desalination
  • Create a Nexus Knowledge Centre to improve dissemination of results and ensure a long-term legacy of the project results
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