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

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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 

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It could be argued that in Cork Harbour we suffer from an existing ‘adaptation deficit’. The impacts of the current climate regime often overwhelm the defences of the city and lower harbour, leading to flooding and considerable damage to property and critical infrastructure. The need to meaningfully engage with the subject of adaptation in advance of the more severe climate impacts predicted for Cork is therefore becoming increasingly urgent.


Having previously produced an ICZM strategy for Cork Harbour, we were fortunate in having a ready-made partnership structure to begin the engagement process for adaptation: the Cork Harbour Management Focus Group (CHMFG). This group comprises representatives of the key statutory bodies and commercial actors with a stake in the management of the Harbour, so provided an ideal forum to support our adaptation strategy process.


The CHMFG were involved in every stage of our strategy development, which was for the most part very successful. We utilised their expertise to establish precisely which climate issues required adaptive intervention thus enabling us to determine the drivers of change surrounding those issues. These drivers were subsequently used to generate scenarios of change and the input of the Group was hugely beneficial and grounded our work – given that representatives from the group would be involved in the subsequent implementation of any strategy. Similarly, their extensive knowledge of the workings of local government gave extra validity to the back-casting exercise we undertook to populate our adaptation actions table.


However, we did encounter a few stumbling blocks in working with such a high level group of stakeholders. The most critical obstacle was gaining sufficient access to the group as a whole and containing the process within a short period. With busy schedules and plans forced to change at the last minute we often had to wait for extended periods between the scheduling of workshops and meetings. This cost us valuable momentum and influenced the ability of the Group to retain focus on the purpose and process of the exercise, but is likely to be a necessary trade-off when working with a relatively large group of high level collaborators. For all of us engaged in the process - stakeholders, researchers and facilitators alike - shifting our focus to think beyond the immediate tasks and obligations of the here and now and creatively envision the future was also a necessary hurdle to overcome.


Despite these challenges, our adaptation strategy was successfully drafted and will now be launched. However, we’re keenly aware that in order for the strategy to be implemented, it will be essential that that we’re able to keep the public and key stakeholders engaged with the issues it raised, which is becoming increasingly difficult during the current economic downturn. So in order to assist with communicating the costs of inaction and potential savings of adaptation, we created a visualisation tool that illustrates the effects of flooding in an engaging and challenging way, providing us with a means to generate debate and interest that might not otherwise be possible. The success of the tool was down to an expansion of our ECN to incorporate the National Maritime College of Ireland and the Cork Institute of Technology, which gave us the opportunity to tap into resources and expertise we’ve not previously employed. In addition to the local knowledge, pragmatism and planning expertise of our Cork County Council partner, this configuration of our ECN was extremely useful.


Overall, we see this initial effort at an adaptation strategy as merely a first iteration, to be revisited, amended and improved as knowledge evolves and actors change roles, and as the policy/legislative landscape alters. Therefore the most important thing we’ve taken from the IMCORE project is not the strategy itself, but learning how to utilise the adaptation process in a locally specific and relevant way.

In the North East of England there is a high level of awareness of the need to adapt to climate change. IMCORE (through the regional group ForeSea) brought a coastal  element to this process. Developing adaptation strategies created divergence at the initial issues workshop but some important topics were raised and used as a prompt for developing adaptation strategies with the ForeSea steering group.

Climate North East, along with others, has developed strategies to work with and adapt to the impacts of climate change. Having a member of the partnership of Climate NE on the steering group opened up the capacity to feed in to their adaptation strategy. This will be done through developing the North East Coastal Network. The strategies of Climate NE and those developed from the   adaptation workshops will be used as guidelines for creating the background for the network.

The current status of the North East economically will be a key selling point to sign members up for the network as it represents  “togetherness” in a region that is being restructured and broken down due to funding reductions associated with government cut backs.

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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