Dresden Nexus Conference 2020 Awarded eku Future Prize for Its Success

  • 2021/12/01     Dresden, Germany

    Image: Mircophotohub/istockphoto

    The Saxon State Ministry for Energy, Climate Protection, Environment and Agriculture (SMEKUL) awards UNU-FLORES, IOER, and TU Dresden the eku erfolg as part of the “eku Future Prize for Energy, Climate, Environment in Saxony” under the category Science. The project team’s entry won a grant of 5,000 euros among a total of 63 entries submitted. 

    A joint effort of United Nations University – Institute for Integrated Management of Material Fluxes and of Resources (UNU-FLORES) (led by Prof. Edeltraud Guenther), Technische Universität Dresden (TU Dresden) (led by Prof. Lars Bernhard), and Leibniz Institute of Ecological Urban and Regional Development (IOER) (led by Prof. Marc Wolfram), the organisers of the Dresden Nexus Conference (DNC) series convinced the expert panel with the success of their virtual conference in 2020. Due to the uncertainty and existing travel restrictions, for the first time, in 2020, DNC was held as a completely digital (online) conference (eDNC2020).

    Since its inception in 2015, the DNC has provided a platform for an international dialogue on nexus thinking, promoting research and capacity development activities in sustainable and integrated management of environmental resources. With their willingness to hold the DNC as a completely virtual conference, the organisers supported the further development of online conference platforms and tools and dared to implement a format that was still underrepresented in February 2020.

    “DNC2020 proved a very timely example of transforming a threat into an opportunity. When the COVID-19 pandemic first hit us, we expected a virtual format to provide perhaps an inferior interim solution. However, in an online format, the DNC2020 capitalised on a disruptive innovation to lower our collective carbon footprint as much as possible. The result was an event that promoted inclusivity and accessibility and was internationally well-attended and received.”
    – Prof. Edeltraud Guenther, Director, UNU-FLORES

    As a result, the critical topics of the circular economy were discussed under the theme “Circular Economy in a Sustainable Society” as planned on 35 June 2020, emissions reduced, and participants who would typically not have been able to take part in person were able to do so. In addition, the DNC organisers issued a joint declaration with SMEKUL at DNC2020.

    “Organising the DNC2020 as a virtual meeting place in challenging times – where we only know today that we were at the beginning of a pandemic that fundamentally changed our daily life – turned out to become a success, and we are very grateful to all who made eDNC2020 happen. This way, we could fulfil our aims to bridge between Science and Policy and from Global to Local.”
    – Prof. Lars Bernard, Chief Digitalization and Information Management Officer, TU Dresden

    As a result of its significant overall success, its CO2 emission reductions resulting from non-travel, and the even better inclusion of participants from the Global South, the DNC organisers, all DRESDEN-concept members based in Saxony, have decided that, in the foreseeable future, DNC events will take place online.

    “The 2020 conference has been an important milestone for the DNC: Through this first virtual edition, we have been able to multiply the global community involved while also rebalancing participation from the North and South and across generations. This fully aligns with our objective of providing an open platform for knowledge exchange and fostering
    diversity and innovation in the nexus debate.”
    – Prof. Marc Wolfram, Director, IOER

    The eku prize money will support the DNC organisers to continue achieving the conference objectives.

    SMEKUL announced a call for the “eku Future Prize for Energy, Climate, Environment in Saxony” for two categories: “eku idee” and “eku erfolg”. In the category “eku erfolg”, the Ministry invited local civil society actorsmunicipalities, companies, institutions, and others to submit implemented projects with an environmental and climate protection impact, innovative and/or model character, cooperative project planning and social and economic impact.