The concept of nexus thinking has gained traction amongst the applied research community to examine cross-sector linkages between land, water, and energy strategies. A nexus approach identifies the interactions among sectors to better understand the synergies and trade-offs involved in meeting future resource demands in a sustainable way.

IIASA has pioneered the development of new tools for nexus analysis. The NExus Solutions Tool (NEST) is an open access framework that links infrastructure optimization modeling at the river basin-scale to high-resolution mapping of land, water and energy resource potentials. The innovative tool provides insights into the vulnerability of linked systems to future socioeconomic and climatic change, and how technological and policy solutions can be implemented to avoid trade-offs across sectors.


The NEST framework has been developed as part of the Integrated Solutions for Water, Energy and Land (ISWEL) project and in the context of analysis of long-term development strategies for the Indus River Basin. The region is home to approximately 300 million people distributed unevenly across Pakistan, India, Afghanistan and China, and faces immense development challenges due to the rapid growth in population, the existing poverty and the projected impacts of climate change. NEST is being used to develop long-term basin-wide scenarios for the region that indicate feasible adaptation pathways based on a portfolio of technology and policy solutions identified in collaboration with stakeholders from the region.