The NExus Solutions Tool (NEST)

IIASA will work with the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change in India (MoEFCC) by helping to develop tools that will assist policy makers. This tool will aim to lead the Indian Government agencies in evaluating targets for Land Degradation Neutrality (LDN) and Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

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.  

IIASA scientists are now supporting the Government of India to scale-up the NEST approach to assess national water, land, and energy policies. The collaboration is a multi-phase project in which IIASA transfers the NEST approach and tools to the Ministry of Environment Forests & Climate Change (MoEFCC) for their ongoing use in national planning. 

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Last edited: 25 March 2021


Simon Parkinson

Research Scholar

Integrated Assessment and Climate Change Research Group|Transformative Institutional and Social Solutions Research Group|Energy


and Environment Program

T +43(0) 2236 807 483

Adriano Vinca

Research Assistant

Integrated Assessment and Climate Change Research Group|Transformative Institutional and Social Solutions Research Group|Energy


and Environment Program

T +43(0) 2236 807 596

Keywan Riahi

Program Director



and Environment Program

T +43(0) 2236 807 491


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