Think Tank North Sea presents first results | Compendium Coast and Sea

Think Tank North Sea presents first results

The Think Tank North Sea is an independent and participatory think tank with the aim of achieving, through co-creation, a broadly supported long-term vision (2050) that will enable good management and use of the Belgian part of the North Sea. This think tank initiative is the follow-up to the North Sea Vision 2050 initiative initiated by Philippe Debacker, then Secretary of State for the North Sea, in 2017. The Think Tank North Sea works around annually changing thematic cycles. The themes are determined by means of a bottom-up survey of stakeholders from the quadruple helix (policy, industry, science and citizens).

For this first cycle (2019), representatives from the quadruple helix worked on the themes 'Living with climate change' and 'Working with nature' under the supervision of a working group chairman and reporters. This first cycle is now over so yesterday, at an event in Ostend, the synthesis notes containing the main recommendations and core principles addressed to the members of the quadruple helix were made public.

Within the working group 'Living with climate change' thought was given to what are currently the main concerns that stand in the way of a liveable, safe coastal zone by 2050. These concerns were dealt with thematically and always linked to concrete action points, applicable to different organisational levels.

Within the working group 'Working with nature' a framework was drawn up on what can be understood as 'working with nature', after which this concept was tested against three conceptual practical examples: Natural, self-sustaining coastal defence combined with coastal safety as a regulating ecosystem service; Integrated multitrophic aquaculture linked to the ecosystem service of food production; Offshore nature-inclusive design and construction linked to biodiversity as a cultural and optional service.

The final report of both working groups will be published on the website of Think Tank North Sea at the beginning of 2020, after which a new call for themes for the second cycle (2020) will be launched. After voting, a new vision process will be started with the topic that has the broadest preference from the quadruple helix.

The Think Tank North Sea is coordinated under shared chairmanship by the Royal Belgian Institute of Natural Sciences (RBINS) and the Flanders Marine Institute (VLIZ).

Download both vision texts and infographics from the VLIZ website (available in Dutch, French and English).