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

VIDEO: The Couplet Node from Cork Harbour shrre their insights on the benefits of working together

 "If we were to undertake the scenario phase of the adaptation strategy process again, we would conduct it in a much more condensed and intensive way".                 Cork Harbour Case Study

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

guidance4The ECN has had two primary roles since its inception:

(i) Implementation of the Integrated Management Strategy for Cork Harbour through the Cork Harbour Management Focus Group.

(ii) Initiating the development and future implementation of an adaptive strategy for climate change in Cork Harbour.


The Cork Harbour Expert Couplet Node relationship between CCC and CMRC initially formed under an EU Life project tasked with provision of a 'Bantry Bay ICZM Charter', and was further developed under the EU 3B Interreg project COREPOINT. This relationship evolved and was expanded under IMCORE to include the National Maritime College of Ireland (NMCI – comprising the Irish Naval Service and Cork Institute of Technology) see Figure 2.



Figure 2: the IMCORE process in Cork Harbour

The initial steps of ECN working under the IMCORE project involved work on a literature review of the ecological, social and economic drivers of climate change. The project was promoted by each member of the ECN working through the Cork Harbour Management Focus Group, which was established under COREPOINT and perpetuated through IMCORE to oversee the implementation of the Cork Harbour Integrated Management Strategy. IMCORE has received political support from a local authority perspective and has in turn reported progress to the EU Affairs and Coastal Management Committees of Cork County Council.

An Issues Workshop, conducted in the NMCI in May 2009, aimed to identify and discuss the local issues associated with climate change. In the case of Cork Harbour, flood management to 2030 emerged as the most important issue. An exploratory scenario workshop was thus conducted in April 2010 to identify the drivers of change affecting this issue. Following this workshop, IMCORE staff used the data gathered to develop four exploratory scenario narratives. These four narratives were presented to the consultative group for discussion and validation, and following this process a normative 'fifth scenario' narrative was also developed outlining a desired future for flood management in Cork Harbour to 2030. It is these actions form the basis of an adaptive management strategy for Cork Harbour.

Vision of the Couplet

Cork County Council and CMRC have a long established working relationship which has been developed through collaboration on various coastal management projects. These successful past experiences set the motivation to engage CMRC and PPU as an ECN, which came into formal existence in 2004, under the INTERREG IIIB project COREPOINT. At this time, NMCI collaborated informally in some of these activities and in 2008, with the beginning of the INTERREG IVB Project IMCORE; NMCI officially joined the other two couplet partners to form the Cork Harbour ECN.

The vision of the ECN is to initiate the development and future implementation of an adaptive strategy for climate change in Cork Harbour. The ECN have been involved in the implementation of the Integrated Management Strategy for Cork Harbour through the Cork Harbour Management Focus Group (established under the 3B COREPOINT project).

Objectives of the couplet

The ECN aims to underpin the delivery of a local adaptive management strategy via capacity building, e.g. through climate science, scenarios, visualisation, stakeholder & regulatory engagement. It also provides sound scientific support for decisions made by Cork County Council in the coastal zone through the regulatory and policy planning framework. The rationale for the expert couplet approach is based on the view that sustainability of the ICZM process within a local authority is most likely to be achieved when training is made available to permanent employees who do not rely on short-term projects for employment. These members of staff job specifications that cover many aspects of what could be described as coastal management (although their job titles may not indicate this). The couplet aims to increase in-house communication by working with these staff, while the workshop process carried out as part of IMCORE aimed to enhance their institutional capacity to deal with coastal management situations.

Scope of the couplet's work

Since its inception, the Cork Harbour ECN has operated without formal terms of reference, or a constitution to outline the objectives and functions of its partners. There has been some staff changeover in the County Council, CMRC and the NMCI and new relations have had to be established. However, the institutional memory existing between the three entities has facilitated their development and at no stage has this threatened the cohesiveness of the ECN, as key personnel have been retained. There has been a high level of interaction between the local authority, the NMCI and the University research group from the beginning.

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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