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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 

Belgian Coast

"We developed a better understanding of how the legal and policy context in Belgium influences adaptation"


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Who we are:

The Maritime Institute (University of Gent) and the Agency for Maritime and Coastal Services (Flemish government).

Key climate change issues:

Protection from coastal flooding. Click on this link to learn more about Climate Change in the Belgian Coast; coastal activities that could be affected, drivers and impacts and our specific institutional framework.

What we did:

We organised workshops on the issues, drivers and scenarios. 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 Belgian coastal adaptation strategy:

Click here to download the Belgian Coastal Adaptation Strategy

Our unique approach:

  • At a second workshop for developing future scenarios we assessed the ecological, social and economic impacts on three important Belgian coastal sectors, namely fisheries, tourism and coastal defence.
  • Adaptation measures were assessed for efficiency and subject to a legal and policy evaluation.
  • We coordinated our work in the context of the development of the Integrated Master Plan for Coastal Safety in parallell with a Decree on Coastal Safety

What we learned:

Communicating the purpose of workshops and good promotion and facilitation is essential. Giving the invited stakeholders alternatives to provide input to the process if they cannot attend (ie: questionnaires).

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 is required for successful implementation.


Read the full summary of the Belgian Coast case study

Planning to adapt in the Belgian Coast:


Engaging Stakeholders

stakeholdersWe were aware that raising awareness of our adaptation process and related activities was very important to engage our stakeholders to participate in our workshops. We send out invitations for our workshops to our initial contact list and we posted the invitations on several websites to inform a broader public. Also, the announcements of two of our workshops were posted in an é-magazine VLIZINE. We even got some regional publicity of a workshop through an article in a regional Fishery Magazine.

Because educating other generations is our main objective, we cooperated with the Aberdeen University to make a case study of our coast with some short exercises to provide active learning tasks about adaptation. They will be used at their institute.


Identifying the issues

guidance1The workshops were created to introduce the IMCORE project and to describe and evaluate the main climate change impact for the Belgian part of the North Sea. The participants in the workshop, representing various coastal and marine sectors, were stimulated to assess the impacts of climate change on their specific activities at sea and on the beach, what they experience as clear signals due to climate change effects and how they think these impacts will evolve over time as well as how they plan to anticipate them. The workshop gave the opportunity to prioritise the responses to these impacts alongside any other issues that need to be managed.


Developing future scenarios

guidance2This workshop took place under the CLIMAR and IMCORE project. Climate change scenarios for the Belgian coast are developed based on scientific information. These scenarios are used to assess the ecological, social and economic impacts on three important Belgian coastal sectors, namely fisheries, tourism and coastal defence. All this scientific information forms the basis for the elaboration of an evaluation framework for adaptation measures and strategies.


Designing the adaptation strategy

guidance3For our three case studies (coastal defence, tourism and fisheries), different possible adaptation measures were defined and discussed in the workshops. We performed a pre-Multi-Criteria Analysis on the different measures, based on different evaluation criteria, like technical feasibility, importance, ecosystem approach, urgency or institutional complexity, to select the most efficient adaptation measures. Those adaptation measures were all subjected to a legal and policy evaluation based on the following criteria:


Building Institutional capacity

guidance4We didn't need to start from the beginning. Already from 2001 there was a close relationship between the two parties on basis in legal, ecological (marine biology) and technical (civil engineering) matters. The cooperation for the IMCORE-project was just a reestablishment of that relationship. The Terms of References was set up with a great distinction between the delivery of the scientific knowledge on environmental law by the Maritime Institute and the delivery of access to information which the Agency for Maritime and Coastal Services could give.


Other actions

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.


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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