Sound policy and effective resource allocation are the keys to preventing, managing and solving major crises, especially those involving complex human and natural systems and their interdependence. But in order to create and implement effective policy, accurate data is required, and both interpretive and predictive models based on this data need to be developed. The objective of this ambitious project, Linked Indicators for Vital Ecosystem Services (LIVES), initiated by the Luc Hoffmann Institute and the World Wildlife Fund, is to identify valid and consistent measures of risk for food, water and energy systems – at different scales and under different conditions. These measures will be combined to produce models that can help policy makers understand complex systems and their interdependence – and, more importantly, help them to understand the practical consequences of different policy decisions. This project aims to provide a fact-based understanding of the linkages between economic, environmental and social sectors and to develop valuable, practical tools for sustainable resource allocation by decision makers.
The NOMIS-funded LIVES project is currently conducting basic research to develop risk-analysis metrics for complex systems involving food, energy, water and the economy. The project is working on a number of levels simultaneously: formalizing and refining conceptual relationships, collecting massive amounts of data, and developing and testing models and applying risk analysis to policy decision making. A full-scale pilot project for this innovative approach is currently being tested in the Mekong River basin in Cambodia.