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Approved a new project: SureNexus EU-PRIMA

The SURENEXUS proposal coordinated by the UNESCO Chair in Sustainability at the UPC, with 17 partners from 8 Mediterranean countries, has been selected by the scientific evaluation committee and will be funded under the PRIMA call, "Leveraging knowledge on the Nexus management of Water -Energy-Food-Ecosystems resources in the Mediterranean region: from concepts to practical solutions ".

The SureNexus project will support informed and evidence-based decision-making for a fair transition to climate change adaptation and mitigation as well as sustainable development, thereby enhancing the implementation of the WEFE NEXUS. The approach of NEXUS is to produce healthy and sufficient food with fewer resources (water, soil, energy and nutrients) through regenerative and precision agriculture including permaculture practises and with minimal impact on the environment. However, local/regional sustainable development should be coupled with biodiversity conservation and mitigation of land degradation.

SureNexus will translate conceptual NEXUS into practical solutions and develop a set of alternative socio-ecological and technical systems (SETs) adapted to NEXUS conflicts in different key sectors for the Mediterranean region.

SETs will use nature-based solutions and bioeconomy as the main integrative tools for NEXUS implementation, to improve the cycles of water, energy, food and ecosystem resources. The project will establish small-scale demonstration sites for promising innovative transformation solutions and evaluate their productivity and value for the local community, driving technology uptake and mentality change. Integrated tools will be tested on four innovative Living Labs in Spain, Greece, Morocco and Israel.

At the same time, SureNexus will bridge the barrier and resistance to change through the development of interconnected networks (network of networks) of grassroot community projects and foster Mediterranean knowledge transfer and best practices, coupled with intersectoral cooperation.

The novelty of SureNexus is the "bottom-up meets top-down" approach to the implementation of NEXUS through the development of interconnected networks of co-designed SETs adapted to NEXUS conflicts in different key sectors and increasing resilience in the Mediterranean areas. Innovative solutions that go beyond the state of the art will be demonstrated for different sectors and contexts, including: 1) Water treatment and conservation for water security, to prevent agricultural runoff pollution and negative impacts on ecosystems in agriculture, ecotourism and winery sector, 2) Precision agriculture for food security, 3) Renewable energies for food/energy, 4) Off-grid water-energy-food systems for sustainable tourism, housing and food production, 5) Bioeconomy solutions for resource and waste recovery and reuse, and water treatment and value chain enhancement for the area MED area, 6) Machine learning and data mining to improve allocation of different resources considering technical and policy constraints and for NEXUS modelling.

One of the Living Lab pilots will be developed in the Penedès Region in Catalonia: Vineyard & Winery Living Lab. SureNexus solutions will be implemented at 3 demonstration sites, two in the Penedès Region (Catalonia) and a third one in the IRTA Torre Marimon research center, to test NbS for winery wastewater (WW) using treatment (constructed) wetland for agriculture diffuse pollution control. In all three cases, cork by-product granulates are used for winery wastewater treatment as a filter medium. Expected impacts include the reduction of diffuse pollution from agriculture, specially from nitrates and the use of waste by-products from agriculture with WW treatment and reuse, as an example of coupled W-F-E.

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