RamCo was financed by and is a product of the National Institute for Coastal and Marine Management (RIKZ) and the associated Coastal Zone Management centre (CZM), the Hague, the Netherlands. It was developed by the consortium consisting of INFRAM BV (Zeewolde, the Netherlands), RIKS, Twente University (Enschede) and Maastricht University.
It is the first prototype of an information system, which is to evolve eventually into a Generic Decision Support System for the Integrated Assessment of Sustainable Coastal Zone Management problems. The ultimate aim is to develop a system that will be applicable for the purpose of (1) rapid assessment, to (2) a wide range of coastal zone management problems, in (3) most of the coastal zones of the world.
The aim of Integrated Assessment is to gain a better insight into the functioning of a (coastal) system as a holistic, integrated system. It is a diagnostic analysis which tries to uncover the real, often underlying or indirect causes of the disfunctioning of a system. It uncovers the weak link(s) in a chain of relations and offers these to the analyst for further research as part of the Comprehensive Analysis phase. Integrated Assessment should provide a good insight into the origin, nature and the scope of problems that could arise.
RamCo aims to describe the natural and anthropogenic processes in a coastal zone under the influence of the dynamic behaviour and interaction of spatial agents, such as inhabitants of the coastal area, economic activities (fishery, cultivation of shrimps, agriculture, industry, tourism and commerce).
Characteristic of RamCo is the way in which processes are reciprocally linked on different spatial levels to form one system, and how these sub-models use very detailed data layers from a built-in Geographical Information System (GIS). The models are part of an information system that makes it possible to design, test and evaluate policy alternatives. It is possible to design scenario and to define policy parameters and policy criteria.
RamCo has been applied to a coastal zone near Ujung Pandang in South-West Sulawesi (Indonesia). It shows how - in the next 25 years - the coastal zone strongly urbanizes under the influence of a growing population (annual growth ± 3%) and the external economic growth. It also shows how this is translated into increasing pollution of rivers and coastal waters, but also and more importantly, how the increasing demand for food leads to the cultivation of important parts of forests, how this in turn increases erosion of soil material in the mountainous inland, and how this ultimately causes new floods in the coastal zone. Policy makers can intervene in these dynamics by choosing other settings for among others processing of sewage waters, the management of the Bili-bili dam, reforestation and rehabilitation of mangroves. In this way, they can test their policy choices under the influence of climate changes, demographic growth or changing economic demand.