Executive Summary
Make your own book

THEME 2 Risk Management along Rivers and Coasts

Sustainable Coastal Risk Management in 2050
Project Aim

Safecoast’s aim was to learn from each other by discussing their different contexts and approaches to coastal flood and erosion risk management. Faced with climate change, and associated impacts on our coasts, it is important to analyse, compare and benchmark our methods and ideas, focusing on the question: ‘How to manage our North Sea coasts in 2050?’

In order to answer that question, a number of separate key questions need answering and are addressed in project Safecoast as follows:

  • What is the present context of coastal flood and erosion risk?
  • How do we deal with problems now in terms of policy and management?
  • What risk-related trends do we foresee by analysing scenarios for the future?
  • What will be the trend of coastal flood and erosion risk in the future?
  • Are current policies and measures sustainable with respect to the future?
  • What could be promising adaptive strategies for the future?

Project implementation and results

The output and results have been documented in a set of separate and more detailed reports that can be found on www.safecoast.org. Also the synthesis report can be found on the website, which not only presents a compilation of the main findings from the different Safecoast projects, but also reflects the views, to the degree possible, of all stakeholders present in the different workshops that were organised between 2005 and 2008. The synthesis report has been distributed in all of the 5 participating countries.

Joint transnational strategy

Bottom-up approach
Since exchanging knowledge starts with exchanging information, considerable effort has been made to make relevant information accessible. Over 355 downloadable documents and over 85 news updates from the five North Sea countries with respect to coastal flood and erosion risk management and related themes are available though the Safecoast internet site. With over 70,000 unique visitors in 3 years, the Safecoast internet site will continue to be an information exchange platform for research, policy and management, especially in view of sharing best practices as part of the implementation of the EU floods directive (2007) and EU recommendation on Integrated Coastal Zone Management (2002). Also, knowledge and information gathered in the framework of Safecoast may provide valuable resources to pending European policy (e.g. related to climate change adaptation).

Mode of cooperation
In the study of Trans-national coastal flood risk assessment, probing a uniform method has been carried out a global flood risk assessment for the North Sea basin. An important objective within this project is to share information and develop a trans-national perspective on flood risk management for the whole North Sea area. Starting point of this study is the current situation (2007) as a reference, from where future developments (climate and socio-economic) until 2050 are reflected. The failures of flood defences were incorporated by the use of fragility curves.

The outcomes of the study could be used to benchmark ideas and strategies in order to secure the region from flooding, now and in the future (see web site: http://www.safecoast.org/index.php). Furthermore, this study may contribute to raised awareness on flood risk amongst flood prone societies in the North Sea basin and may serve as a reference framework for the implementation process of the EU Floods Directive (FD). 

Impact of the project

Policy shaping
The review of applications of risk assessment methodologies in Safecoast have emphasised the need to distinguish between different geographical and temporal scales in risk assessment in relation to specific planning objectives and phases. Different purposes require a different level of detail. In this respect, a distinction is to be made in a number of different, tiered assessment levels that could include:

  • The trans-national level, to identify the most vulnerable areas, e.g. in support of the implementation of the EU Floods Directive (as covered in Safecoast Action 3A).
  • The national/regional level or any level of competent administration, to substantiate or prioritise funding or planning decisions (as covered in Safecoast Action 4 on the development of the Flanders coastal protection master plan).
  • The local or regional level of specific flood prone areas to identify, design and evaluate possible measures (as covered in Safecoast Action 5B on the case studies in Lower Saxony).
  • In addition, it is observed that the planning for coastal risk management strongly interacts with other planning processes such as land use and spatial/infrastructural developments, involving many stakeholders and interests.

The project provided guidance for coastal zone management


Ministerie van de Vlaamse Gemeenschap Afdeling Waterbouwkundig Laboratorium en Hydrologisch Onderzoek, BE
Flemish Government - Agency for Maritime and Coastal Services - Division Coast, BE
Ministry of Traffic Danish Coastal Authority / Kystdirektoratet, DK
NLWK, Betriebsstelle Norden, DE
Schleswig-Holstein State Ministry of the Interior
Environment Agency, National Flood Risk Management Policy Team, UK

National Institute for Coastal and Marine Management/ RIKZ

Project Manager

Niels Roode
National Institute for Coastal and Marine Management/ RIKZ Kortenaerkade 1
P.O. Box 20907 NL-2500 EX The Hague
The Netherlands
Tel: +31 70 311 4368

Measure: 3.4

Start Date: 30 November 2004
End Date: 30 June 2008

ERDF Grant:
Total Eligible Sum:
The North Sea
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