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Develop your own coastal adaptation strategy by learning key methodologies and techniques.

The IMCORE project ran from 2008 to 2011 and was funded under the EU Interreg IVB programme.


Download the final Belgian Coastal Adaptation Strategy here

VIDEO: Frank Maes, Caroline Lootens and Miguel Berteloot explain the benefits of working together and the particularities of the Belgian Coast

 "The level of detail on scientific evidence has to be in balance with the scale and scope of the project. Time should not be wasted on too detailed research.             Frank Maes
Our stakeholders had difficulties to think outside the box of the preferred future, sectoral approach and the exiting institutional framework.                             Marian Willekens

Access or download overviews, tools, techniques and examples of visualisation tools, educational tools, legal and policy tools, future scenario techniques, etc

Practical tips for following the IMCORE approach to planning to adapt to coastal climate change 

We learned that:

• Good balance between scientific expertise/research and practical approach/policy is needed.

• Level of detail has to be in balance with scale and scope of the project. Time may not be wasted on too much detailed research.

• Communication to general public and other stakeholders is important.

There are two important actions:

The Integrated Master Plan for Coastal Safety

The approach of the Integrated Master Plan for Coastal Safety is based on the principles of an integrated coastal zone management:

• Level of protection for at least a 1000-year storm combined with a sustainable management of the coast;

• Costs and benefit along with possible side effects of all solutions were inventoried, quantified and evaluated to result in optimal safety levels along the Flemish coastline and the best combination of safety measures for protection against erosion and coastal flooding;

• Possibility of social participation and cooperation of all stakeholders;

• Balance between environmental, economic, social, cultural and recreational objectives, and that within the limits of the natural dynamics of the coast.

For the realization of this plan a budget over €300 million will be needed. How this budget will be funded, must be viewed in time. Here attention should be paid to the plan "Vlaanderen in actie" in which the realization of the Integrated Coastal Safety Plan was recorded.

The expectations of the 3rd and 4th Quarter include the execution of the beach replenishment of De Panne and Koksijde, the execution of phase 1 of the security against flooding through the port and the start-up and execution of the specifications' development of a financing plan for the Coastal Security Plan.

Drafting of a Decree on Coastal Safety

To take the necessary measures on coastal safety in an efficient and legally correct way, a legal basis in a decree is absolutely necessary. Anchoring the Integrated Master Plan on Coastal Safety into a decree has some important advantages:

• Without a legal basis, the legal status of the Integrated Master Plan – which can have a potential impact on the legal situation of legal subjects – is most precarious. Even a possible approval decision by the Flemish Government cannot solve this.

• A decree gives the frame a more logical structure it. This will likely make the practical implementation more easier for the (possible local) governments that face it.

• A decree can provide the necessary anchor point to the area of spatial planning.

This process is still ongoing.


Development of the Integrated Master Plan for Coastal Safety
What we did

Development of the Integrated Master Plan for Coastal Safety by the Agency for Maritime and Coastal Services, and the approval by the Flemish Government in 2011.

MDK established a methodology for the control of the coastal protection (dykes, dunes, beaches, harbours).

• Determine weak links of the coastal defence and coastal flood risks along the entire Belgian coastline.

• Design safety measures to achieve a basal safety level to withstand a 1000 year storm event.

• Evaluate different safety measures for their environmental impact, social costs and benefits, flood risk reduction.

• Set-up of a master plan for coastal safety till the year 2050.

• Consultation of regional and local stakeholders.

Why we did it

To protect the coastline against flooding from the sea now and in the future (time horizon: 2050).

What we achieved • A master plan approved by the Flemish Government (local communities) with an interest in other sectors like tourism, nature, recreation, ...

• Identification of unsafe zones of the coast and in harbours.

Problems we had • Difficult cooperation with regional and local stakeholders: lack of input, lack of interest, no co-financing.

• Communication to the general public: ad hoc communication, most of the people who come to information events are already retired, the local communities communicate separately.

• Lobby work of local communities at a higher level.


• Start from an integrated approach: bring all stakeholders together at the beginning of the project and let them think along as to integrate all interests.

• Organise events in which younger people can participate (e.g. field visits in the weekend instead of information evenings).

• Strengthen the cooperation with local communities to obtain a chaired responsibility.

What we learned

There is a need for a general integrated coastal vision in which all sectors/stakeholders participate.


Click here to view the Agency for Maritime and Coastal Services website


Drafting of a decree on coastal safety (ongoing)
What we did

Meetings with expert group (consisting of Agency for Maritime and Coastal Services, Environmental lawyers, Department of Mobility and Public Works of the Flemish Government and external experts).

Why we did it

In Flanders, there is no legal framework for coastal safety. To take the necessary measures on coastal safety in an efficient and legally correct way, a decree is absolutely necessary. This decree would be necessary to formalize the realization, preservation and protection of coastal safety and to support the coastal management with constructions regarding coastal safety, such as ensuring security, future developments, environmental impact, economic functions, living-, working and recreational environment.

What we achieved Draft decree on Coastal Safety


This learning portal brings together the results and lessons learned from the IMCORE project. This project was funded under the Interreg IVB programme from 2008 to 2011.

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