On 4 March 2005, the Belgian Council of Ministers approved the research programme “Science for a Sustainable Development” (2005-2009). This research programme is the continuation of the first and second Scientific Support Plan for a Sustainable Development Policy (SPSD I (1996-2001) and SPSD II (2000-2005)). 

The priority research areas of this Programme are: 

The goal of the research actions is to support specific decision-making in relation to both sector-related and trans-sectoral problems. 

The ADAPT project falls into the category of climate-related research.


©2006 HACH-ULg

It is known that adaptation measures will be necessary to protect populations and ecosystems against climate-related hazards in the next decades (IPCC, 2001; EEA, 2004). It remains for the policy-maker to select among a wide range of options and possibilities of adaptation measures. In general, the ways and means required to implement these measures appear to be considerable, when compared with the risks to be avoided.

The decision-making principles advocated by international programmes stipulate that the choice of adaptation measures must reflect their potential to produce benefits which will surpass their costs.

The overall objective of this project is to develop and demonstrate an efficient management tool being a cost-benefit analysis based instrument for the integrated assessment of adaptation measures.

©2006 HACH-ULg




The project consists in two parts, the first one being a "general introductionary study" and the other, a "case study" for which the methodology will be refined.
The general introductionary study will provide a synthesis of the knowledge and facts available concerning the effects of climate change, their intensity and probable progression in time. The synthesis will provide a clear overview of facts and their uncertainty limit, focussed on Belgium.

In order to develop and to test the methodology, a case study on a target impact has been chosen: flooding in the two main Belgian river basins. From then on, the project management tool, the subject matter of the methodology, will be refined on the basis of a precise case of impacts, which will allow the idea of the methodology to be studied in depth. 




The analysis of adaptation strategies related to flooding will be built on a schema comprising the following steps:

©2006 HACH-ULg

The subject is vast and complex, and needs to be managed in a multidisciplinary approach, that takes into account the economic, social and environmental impacts (holistic way), and their mutual interaction in accordance with the principle of development and sustainable management. The subject will be investigated and analyzed by five partners of complementary scientific expertises belonging to the three pillars of sustainable development and starting from the technical and strategic considerations.

During the process, scientific support for the authorities will be sought out and contacts will be established with the leaders of other eventual research projects within the framework of this call for proposals.

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The integrated tool will be built on the basis of criteria such as efficiency feasibility and acceptability framework and their limitations, for which uncertainty analysis will be a permanent preoccupation. Nevertheless, the instrument will have to be sufficiently flexible to be applied to other forms of impacts identified in the first part of the study. This instrument in fact will have to be finally considered as the project management keystone of all the issues studied.

As a result, the possible, natural and social response strategies will then be identified. Development and evaluation of adaptation alternatives (anticipatory or autonomous) by means of cost-benefit analysis will lead to concrete results  for helping decision makers in allocation and scheduling resources for adaptation as well as for adaptation tradeoffs. They will also meet stakeholder needs over time, given the uncertainties. 

Tasks and timing

The different tasks (work packages) of this projects are the followings:



2.1. Evaluating the impact of global change induced flooding on river basins

a) Application of hydraulic modelling for the assessment of hydrological effects due to climate change, as input for other effects
b) Translating hydraulic modelling results into input for the assessment of secondary impacts

2.2. Evaluating secondary impacts of global change induced flooding on vulnerable sectors in river basins (PhaseI)

a) Vulnerability 
a) General approach and integrated economic aspects 
a) Ecological Indicator for quantifying and evaluating change in ecosystems good and services under climate change
a) Sociological aspects 

2.3. Determining adaptation measures (response) 

a) Definition of both technical and non-technical measures
b) Application of hydraulic modelling for defining and evaluating adaptation measures: partim. technical measures on the river Meuse

2.4. Evaluating costs of adaptation measures

2.5. Cost-benefit analysis

2.6. Recommandations on adaptation measures

Outlines of work package 2 (©2006 CEESE-ULB)

These different tasks will be achieved over two two-year periods. The first phase will treat Tasks 1, 2.1, 2.2 and 2.3. The second phase completes the study of Tasks 2.2 and 2.3, and will finish off the remaining tasks. 

At the end of the first phase, the study will be evaluated by foreign experts. Besides this, a follow-up committee has been set up to give an  external view on the subject and at the same time supervise the study. 

The ADAPT project also joins synergies with the CCI-HYDR project (an project financed by the Belgian Science Policy) because both projects are working on the same issue of flooding but with different approaches and different objectives.