In the fairSTREAM project, IIASA researchers from the Equity and Justice, Water Security, and Biodiversity, Ecology, and Conservation research groups aim to address issues of fairness. This is crucial for managing risks in nexus challenges where conflicting views on procedural and outcome fairness often remain unresolved and jeopardize finding solutions.

In early 2023, the first fairSTREAM workshop was organized in India in collaboration with the Society for Promoting Participative Ecosystem Management (SOPPECOM) and the Indian Institute of Science Education and Research Pune (IISER Pune), with several IIASA researchers participating. The event resulted in a baseline report of the Upper Bhima sub-basin, and informed a field survey, which improved our understanding of the local  population’s risk behavior and biodiversity concerns.

On-ground efforts were backed by conceptual work, including a coproduction toolkit, a research article on transdisciplinary process design, and a review article on India’s food-water-biodiversity nexus. Model development in the project focused on finalizing the open source coupled framework of water (using the IIASA Community Water Model), people (using the Geographical, Environmental, and Behavioral Model), and building the coupling with the Plant Functional Trait Evolution (plantFATE) model. 

This work has for the first time enabled a simulation model that can replicate the interactions of the water cycle, individual households, and changes in biodiversity at hyper-resolution on a daily basis in major hydrological  basins, while integrating knowledge from hydrology, ecology, environmental economics, and sociology. Moreover, this model coupling lays the groundwork for ongoing collaboration between the research groups.