||- IMIS: Integrated Marine Information System -
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|Het Vlaams Instituut voor de Zee als mogelijk instrument voor geïntegreerd kustzonebeheer in België|
|Schrijvers, J. (2001). Het Vlaams Instituut voor de Zee als mogelijk instrument voor geïntegreerd kustzonebeheer in België VLIZ Special Publication, 2 Vlaams Instituut voor de Zee: Oostende. XII, 42 pp.|
|Deel van: VLIZ Special Publication.. Vlaams Instituut voor de Zee (VLIZ): Oostende. ISSN 1377-0950, meer|
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- VLIZ: VLIZ Publications VLIZ SP2 
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- Schrijvers, J., correspondent
Several studies during their search for the state-of-the-art of ‘integrated coastal zone management’ (ICZM) in Belgium, propose a newly developed coordination centre as key solution. They believe that such an ICZM coordination centre could be the ideal trigger for efficient and sustainable coastal management. The Flanders Marine Institute (VLIZ) is frequently mentioned as possible instrument to infrastructurally complement this centre. The VLIZ therefore faces today the intriguing question of how to develop a ‘knowledge management infrastructure’ that contributes to the role of an ICZM coordination centre. The present report reaches for an answer to this question.
It soon becomes clear that the ICZM coordination centre will only succeed in triggering efficient ICZM, if being able to face three important challenges:
· managing a stream of information
· managing a decision support
· managing a communication strategy
Each of these challenges directly asks for a suitable, dynamic and flexible infrastructure. This report therefore first outlines the expectations towards a coordination centre. It does this for each of the above challenges. These outlines will render an overview of what infrastructure and instruments will be asked for. Starting from the present capacity and expertise within the VLIZ, the report then aims at linking the necessary with the possible.
The information centre within the newly developed coordination centre would have to streamline and focus raw data towards information for ICZM in Belgium. The extensive pool of data would have to be used from an issue driven point of view. Issues will therefore have to be detected and then analysed into different sources of information. Both literature study as well as public participation and expert panels should underpin a thorough issue analysis. The sources of information that are proposed here are, besides the issue, also sites, persons, organisations, documents, projects, events, indicators, maps, datasets, rules, uses, tradition, case studies and ecosystems. The indicators are focused upon in detail. Indicators should be introduced as a ‘measure’ for the issue of concern. They can describe the issues, point at causalities within the issue, and they can even reflect targets. They additionally disclose the access to datasets and maps.
It is here that the value of the IMIS-databank (Integrated Marine Information System) becomes obvious. This databank is part of the Flanders Marine Data and Information Centre within the VLIZ. The existing entities such as persons, organisations, documents, events (conferences), projects and datasets, will therefore have to be adapted and extended. The actual basic structure of IMIS will not ask for any changes. Only the information stream itself will become more focused and will have to go beyond a pure marine and scientific character. The stream of information will be issue driven and new entities will have to be introduced. An efficient ‘knowledge management infrastructure’ will have to go further than that however. It will also have to define indicators, datasets and maps in terms of quality and access. This quality assurance process seems to be in place already.
The decision support centre as part of the ICZM coordination centre will consequently have to translate the gathered information into ‘knowledge or insight’ concerning the issue. This signifies nothing more than to advise and support the ICZM policy cycle covering policy preparation, formulation, implementation and evaluation. It is after all the task of a policy to face and eventually emasculate an issue in society. It therefore needs the necessary equipment of tools and instruments. The equipment should cover both administrative tools (rules) and social-technical instruments. And again, the VLIZ is believed to be able to anticipate this gap by extending and adapting its system of entities within the IMIS-databank. The entity on rules was already introduced. ‘Instruments’ however is a new entity to be given shape. It should maintain a range of analytical and social techniques to be applied in an efficient policy cycle.
Knowledge or insight concerning an issue should eventually lead to true management of that issue. The communication centre within the coordination centre to be developed should therefore also contribute to a public and broad platform. This is essential for an efficient implementation of any policy. One of the present tasks of the VLIZ is its role in popularisation of marine scientific activities and information. This task therefore makes way for the VLIZ as a possible means to support a strategy within the ICZM communication centre as well.
A case study is finally introduced in order to further reveal the possibilities of the VLIZ. The issue of beach pressure and beach use was carefully selected and analysed. Entities were detected and preliminarily fed by sets of describers.
The present report thus concentrates at pointing out two particular aspects. On the one hand, it outlines the position of a newly developed ICZM coordination centre within the ICZM process at the Belgian coast. On the other hand however, it aims at introducing a template for the VLIZ with which to support the functioning of such a centre. The strict neutral and objective role of the VLIZ as ‘knowledge management infrastructure’ should again be underpinned. The VLIZ applied for this report in order to effectively anticipate to a future lag of infrastructure for sustaining coastal management in Belgium.