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Research project DAFNE

Use of a Decision-Analytic Framework to explore the water-energy-food NExus in complex and transboundary water resources systems of fast-growing developing countries.

The DAFNE project is developing an integrated and adaptive water resources planning and management approach that explicitly addresses the water-energy-food (WEF) nexus from a novel participatory and multidisciplinary perspective. This includes social, economic, and ecological dimensions, involves both public and private actors and is socially inclusive. The project is intended to contribute to the enhancement of resource efficiency and preventing the loss of ecosystem services in regions where large-scale infrastructure exist or are being built, and where intensive agriculture is expanding. A decision-analytic framework (DAF) will be developed to quantitatively assess the social, economic, and environmental impact of expanding energy and food production in complex physical and political contexts, where natural and social processes are strongly interconnected and the institutional setting involves multiple stakeholders and decision-makers. The DAFNE approach will be demonstrated by analysing two cross-boundary case studies, the Zambezi river basin in Southern Africa and the Omo-Turkana basin in Eastern Africa. The WEF nexus will be analyzed in terms of the trade-off between conflicting objectives such as hydropower production vs. irrigation, and land exploitation vs. conservation. The nexus will also be translated into economic values and measure impact on growth, ecosystems and ecosystem services. DAFNE will allow a better understanding of the WEF nexus, and generate and explore alternative planning and management solutions based on the cooperation of public and private stakeholders, that is intended to foster the profitable but equitable use of resources without transgressing environmental limits or creating societal and/or stakeholder conflicts.

The project is funded by the European Commission's Horizon 2020 Programme and is led by ETH Zurich.

Project Website:

For further information, please contact Caroline van Bers +49 541 969 2505, cvanbers[at]