EU Environmental Policy Frameworks through a Resource Nexus Lens

15 May 2018
European Environment Agency, Copenhagen

May 15-16th, 2018 | European Environment Agency, Copenhagen.

The overall objective of this EEA-MAGIC joint workshop was to gather EEA and JRC staff, EU policy makers, EIONET members and the team of the MAGIC H2020 project, in order to discuss narratives embedded within the following EU policies: Circular Economy, Bio-economy, Common Agricultural Policy, and Biodiversity Strategy, with particular emphasis on their ability to address interdependencies between water, energy, food, land, material and ecosystems and their services.

According to the EEA’s European State of the Environment Report (SOER) 2015, many of today’s environmental challenges have a systemic character and are intrinsically linked to our increasingly globalised consumption and resource use patterns. Although Europe has made progress in reducing some key environmental pressures, achieving the long-term vision highlighted in the 7th Environment Action Programme “Living well, within the limits of our planet” will require fundamental transitions in the societal systems of production and consumption that are the root cause of environmental and climate pressures. However, reaching the long-term vision requires acknowledging and addressing complex interdependencies across goals and intrinsic trade-offs between them. The ‘resource nexus’ approach, by looking at the interplay between resources such as water, energy, food, land, material and ecosystems and their services, provides useful insights to policies such as Circular Economy, Bio-Economy and the Common Agricultural Policy, about the systemic nature of environmental issues,  the consistency of established narratives and related implications.

The workshop built primarily on activities developed within the MAGIC H2020 project.  In particular, the discussion was informed by the policy-relevant findings developed by the MAGIC consortium, and was carried out in the context of the ‘dialogue space’ to engage different actors, a central element of the project which is managed by the Joint Research Centre of the European Commission. Such set-up allows gathering viewpoints, perspectives, and to explore narratives on EU environmental policy frameworks from within the European institutions and creates a space for open dialogue for healthy deconstructions and reframing. The participants were involved into:

  • exploring the policy narratives identified within the MAGIC project and discuss them in the light of systemic environmental and societal challenges, as well as some out-of-the-box issues unveiled by the resource nexus analysis;
  • critically appraising the outcomes of the analysis performed by the MAGIC team and explore near future synergies.

The workshop was a great opportunity to initiate conversations among the different actors about systemic challenges in relation to policy narratives, and to explore the usefulness of a ‘resource nexus’ approach for informing policy making or the reporting activities that the EEA is mandated with – namely the SOER 2020. This was done in interactive ways guided by purposeful questions that interested all actors.

Presentations made during the workshop are available in our project document repository.


European Environment Agency, Copenhagen
6 Kongens Nytorv
København 1050