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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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Flooding and sea level rise are part of a number of potential threats posed by climate change which can affect Aberdeen and its economic development. The severity of the threat depends on the magnitude of the likely effects, which cannot be accurately forecast. However, in the short term this appears to be relatively small. Nevertheless, the cost of mitigating all the impacts is likely to rise steadily and will represent an increasing economic burden for the city. This will be exacerbated by a lack of knowledge, funds, experience, strong public and executive will to robustly address climate change issues. This is currently impeding significant progress but projects such as IMCORE aim to help improve the situation and have the potential to have a lasting impact on society at the local scale.


The future is always uncertain although adaptation to climate change becomes more and more important on the policy agendas of the several institutions, encouraged by the national adaptation strategy. The latter reaffirms the need for a coordinated and integrated approach in which the context specific elements of each Region are respected and stakeholders are engaged.

Local Conditions:

Due to the federal and regional structure in Belgium, policy and legal actions related to climate change adaptation at the coastal zone are divided between the federal government and the Regions (three Regions: the Flemish, the Walloon and the Brussels Capital Region) each with their own competences.

Due to climate changes (e.g. rising of the sea level, extreme storms, increased wave energy) and continuing developments, protection against coastal flooding will become increasingly difficult. This necessitates close cooperation between federal state and region in determining coastal policy and management.

Who was involved and how:

The Expert Couplet existed of the Maritime Institute and the Agency for Maritime and Coastal Services. We organised workshops together on the issues, drivers and scenarios. Furthermore, the Maritime Institute did research on the legal and policy aspects of adaptive strategies, while the Agency for Maritime and Coastal Services made a Belgian Coastal Codex available through a web based application and freely accessible for everyone. The content of this Codex was developed by the Maritime Institute.

The Maritime Institute worked together with the Management Unit of the North Sea Mathematical models, Ecolas, Flanders Hydraulics Research, Arcadis, ILVO (Fisheries), the Flemish Environment Agency, Flanders Marine Institute (VLIZ) on the CLIMAR-project, that organised workshops on the three coastal sectors and made a framework for adaptation scenario's/measures as a response to climate induced impacts.

Stakeholders from different coastal sectors participated in the workshops.

What happened/actions and decisions:

We organised a workshop on issues identification to understand more about the impacts of climate change and form an idea on which issues the adaptation strategy should deal with. We had a second workshop on scenario development, to assess the ecological, social and economic impacts on three important Belgian coastal sectors, namely fisheries, tourism and coastal defence and develop four possible socio-economic scenarios from which an adaptation strategy for our coast could be established.

Once the preferred scenario (one for all, and all for one) was chosen, we could develop adaptation measures for each of our key coastal sectors. Those measures were discussed in the workshops and assessed on different criteria to select the most efficient adaptation measures.

Those adaptation measures were all subjected to a legal and policy evaluation.


The IMCORE process made sure that in all coastal sectors awareness of potential effects of climate change is raised.

The Agency for Maritime and Coastal Services has developed an Integrated Coastal Defence Plan taking to adapt to scenario-based effect assessments of climate change. The Plan is approved by the Flemish Government but the process to embed this plan into a legally binding decree is still ongoing.

What we learned:

We learned that communication before and during a workshop is crucial because participants are more captivated if they know the purpose of the workshop. A good schedule is vital as a workshop is very time consuming and discussions can get out of hand.

Awareness raising for the workshop is important since a substantive amount of stakeholders can provide a representative input. A questionnaire can be sent to stakeholders that were not able to attend the workshop in order to reach more people and get that crucial input.

Related to the development of an adaptation plan a "bottom up" approach was put forward as one of the principles. We realised that adaptation initiatives should be established at a local level, starting from sectoral adaptation plans combined in regional adaptation plans. More communication between sectors and engagement of sectors is needed to come to a strategy and implement it.

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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