Expert Couplet for Belgian Coast

Maritime Institute,

Ghent University, Belgium

MDK Coastal Division, Belgium

1. General Information on the Expert Couplet Node

The relationship between the Maritime Institute and MDK is established since 2001 in the form of consultancy and legal support for policy initiatives. The idea behind this Couplet is that “together we know more than alone”. MDK is a local government competent for Integrated Coastal Zone Management (ICZM), coastal defence, basic infrastructure in marina’s and hydrographical services. The MI is the maritime research division of the department International law at the Ghent University providing advice and different types of research for ICZM, Marine Spatial Planning (MSP), legal aspects of adaptation strategies for coastal zones, coastal zone legislation, International and European Environmental and Biodiversity Law etc.. A good collaboration between MDK and MI means that theory and practice can be linked, leading to mutual support around some dedicated topics (mainly law and policy regarding the sea).

Terms of Reference:

ToR MI and MDK

2. General Information on the Belgian Coast Study Site

The Belgian coastline is 67km long and 10 to 15 km broad, and consists of large sandy beaches, dunes and polders. The coastal defence mainly exists of dykes (38km), dunes and large quantities of sand (by carrying out sand nourishment). Almost 85% of the Belgian coast lies under 5m elevation, which makes the Belgian coast one of the most vulnerable coastlines in Europe, and makes the question: how to deal with climate change, in particular sea-level rise, even more pressing.

It is now known that climate change will make coastal zones even more hazardous. The most consistent effects will be due to sea level rise. The exact amount of sea level rise is difficult to predict. According to a study conducted by the MUMM (Management Unit of the North Sea Mathematical Models) in the light of the CLIMAR project, sea level is estimated to rise between 60cm and 2m for 2100, depending on which scenario is used. Climate change also threatens coastal zones with an increase in the frequency and intensity of extreme events such as high winds and storms. When we take into account a worst credible extreme storm event, with an associated return period, namely 1/17000 years, a storm surge level of 8m TAW (tweede algemene waterpassing) will be reached in Ostend in the present situation. In the worst case scenario a storm surge level of 10.5 m TAW will be reach in 2100 in Ostend.

3. The Belgian Coast Study Site Area from an ICZM/Climate Change perspective (Powerpoint presentation)

Study site presentation Belgian coast

4.  Action 1.4 IMCORE Case studies

  • Over 85 % of the coast is below 5 m elevation, which places it at increased risk of sea level rise and extreme weather events
  • The coastal plain is about 65 km long and 10 to 15 km wide, and comprises beach, dunes and polders. On the seaward side there a continental shelf with numerous sandbanks.
  • 60% of the coastline is protected by artificial coastal defence structures (e.g. groins, seawalls, beach groins, breakwaters)
  • The remaining 40% is protected by soft and dynamic coastal defence (e.g. dry beach elevation, beach nourishment, planting of brushwood, sand fences, planting of marram grass)
  • About 20 % of the coastline is sedimentary, 40 % is erosive and the remaining part is relatively stable

5. Action 2.3 IMCORE Identification of climate change drivers and related issues

Workshop on the Impacts of Climate Change in the Marine environment and coastal zone, the Belgian case.

invitation IMCOREworkshop 21 April 2009

template model


ppt workshop 21 april


Issues Identification Belgian Coast:

Template for issue identification- Belgian Coast

6. Action 2.5 Belgian case study: Belgium Coast


Educational material:

Belgium case study educational material

Belgium case study educational material- answers

7. Action 3.3 Exploratory Scenario Approach (Workshop)

Step 1: Identify drivers of change

Workshop: “How dynamic is Belgium’s coastal tourism in times of climate change?” / Workshop: “Hoe dynamisch is ons kusttoerisme in tijden van klimaatverandering?”

October 14, 2010, Blankenberge

Report Workshop/ rapport Workshop:



Annex 1: Report of the workshop: “The impacts of climate change in the marine environment and coastal zone”

Annex 1. report_workshop_21_April

Annex 2:  Invitation/Uitnodiging:

Annex 2. invitation_uitnodiging_workshop _toerisme

Annex 3: List of participants/ Aanwezigheidslijst

Annex 3. List of participants_Aanwezigheidslijst

Annex 4: Questionnaire on adaptation measures/Vragenlijst adaptatiemaatregelen

Annex 4. Questionnaire on adaptation measures – vragenlijst adaptatie

Annex 5: Questionnaire on socio-economic changes/Vragenlijst socio-economische veranderingen:

Annex 5. Questionnaire on socio-economic changes – vragenlijst socio-economische veranderingen

Annex 6-7-8-9: Presentations/Presentaties:

Annex 6. Presentation Strategic Policy Plan for tourism at the coast 2009-2014

Annex 7. Presentation Climate (change) and tourism

Annex 8. Presentation adaptation measures for coastal tourism

Annex 9. Presentation socio-economic changes

Annex 10: Graphs adaptation measures and CLIMAR indicators

Annex 10. Graphs adaptation measures and CLIMAR indicators

Annex 11: Graphs socio-economic drivers of change

Annex 11. Graphs socio-economic drivers of change

Step 2: Establishing future visions for the Belgian Coastal Zone

Establishing future visions BECN – Exploratory Scenario approach

8. Action 4.3 establishing a coastal adaptation strategy for the Belgian Coast

Summary Report of the CLIMAR workshop on coastal adaptation

9. Action 4.4 IMCORE Climate Change proofing of legal and policy aspects of adaptive strategies

Assessment of International and European legislation and policies that support adaptation actions in the coastal zone.

adaptation to climate change the international and European policy DRAFT

The report on adaptation to climate change and Strategic Environmental Assessment assesses how climate change adaptation concerns can be integrated into the planning process. It examines if the Strategic Environmental Assessment process is a useful tool to address the problems of climate change adaptation in the planning process and identifies possible entry points. Furthermore the report assesses if the integration of climate change is already a commonly used practise in the countries of North-West Europe and if it is recommended at international and European level.

adaptation to climate change and SEA DRAFT

The legal evaluation tool for analysing the institutional adaptation capacity framework of your country/region can be used to identify the existing institutional framework in which the policy on climate change takes place and highlight gaps in the planning policy.

Legal evaluation tool Institutional adaptation capacity framework

10. upcoming events

Partner meeting: Sefton 10 and 11 May

One Response to “Expert Couplet for Belgian Coast”

  1. Welcome! « IMCORE Says:

    […] | Belgian Coast | Cork Harbour | East of England | Golfe du Morbihan | Lough Swill | Durham Possibly related […]

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