A framework for assessing water security and the water-energy-food nexus-the case of Finland

Mika Marttunen*, Jyri Mustajoki, Suvi Sojamo, Lauri Ahopelto, Marko Keskinen

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

34 Citations (Scopus)
153 Downloads (Pure)


Water security demands guaranteeing economic, social and environmental sustainability and simultaneously addressing the diversity of risks and threats related to water. Various frameworks have been suggested to support water security assessment. They are typically based on indexes enabling national comparisons; these may, however, oversimplify complex and often contested water issues. We developed a structured and systemic way to assess water security and its future trends via a participatory process. The framework establishes a criteria hierarchy for water security, consisting of four main themes: the state of the water environment; human health and well-being; the sustainability of livelihoods; and the stability, functions and responsibility of society. The framework further enables the analysis of relationships between the water security criteria as well as between water, energy and food security. The framework was applied to a national water security assessment of Finland in 2018 and 2030. Our experience indicates that using the framework collaboratively with stakeholders provides a meaningful way to improve understanding and to facilitate discussion about the state of water security and the actions needed for its improvement.

Original languageEnglish
Article number2900
Number of pages24
JournalSustainability (Switzerland)
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2019
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


  • Assessment framework
  • Indexes
  • Qualitative assessment
  • Water security
  • Water, energy and food nexus
  • water security
  • qualitative assessment
  • energy and food nexus
  • water
  • assessment framework
  • indexes
  • LIFE


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