European networks

Find out more about some of the European networks in which Rijkswaterstaat is active.

CEDR - Conference of European Directors of Roads

The Conference of European Directors of Roads (CEDR) is a non-profit association of Europe’s national road administrations that promotes excellence in road management. 

CEDR is consolidating its position as the platform for Directors of Roads and National Road Administrations (NRAs) that reliably and effectively facilitates benchmarking and the exchange of knowledge and best practice. For example, cooperation and the sharing of resources in joint projects and professional networking and capacity building.

CEDR’s strategic objectives are to help NRAs anticipate future trends and meet new challenges, such as:

  • reinforcing the role of NRAs as key providers of efficient and seamless mobility from an end-user perspective within the transport system
  • facilitating and optimising the efficient use of resources, making the best use of existing infrastructure
  • improving the safety and sustainability of roads and reducing their environmental impact and carbon footprint.

Rijkswaterstaat is a founding member of CEDR and actively participates in CEDR’s board meetings as well as in many of CEDR’s working groups. Rijkswaterstaat often participates in the funding of the CEDR Transnational Research Programme, which operates through a series of annual transnational calls on topics that address the needs of European road authorities.

Both Rijkswaterstaat and CEDR interact with PIARC.

CEN - Comité Européen de Normalisation

CEN, the European Committee for Standardization, is an association that brings together national standardisation bodies of 34 European countries. 

CEN is one of the three European standardisation organisations (along with CENELEC and ETSI) officially recognised by the European Union and the European Free Trade Association (EFTA) as responsible for the development and definition of voluntary standards at European level.

CEN provides a platform for the development of European Standards and other technical documents relating to various types of products, materials, services and processes. 

CEN supports standardisation activities in a wide range of fields and sectors including: aerospace, chemicals, construction, consumer products, defence and security, energy, environment, food and feed, health and safety, healthcare, ICT, machinery, materials, pressure equipment, services, smart living, transport and packaging.

CCR - Central Commission for the Navigation of the Rhine

The Central Commission for the Navigation of the Rhine is the oldest international organisation in modern history, dating back to the Congress of Vienna in 1815. Its legal basis is the Revised Convention for the Navigation of the Rhine, known as the Mannheim Document, dating from 17 October 1868.

The Central Commission is a modern international institution with an administration that enables it to deal effectively with all matters relating to inland navigation. It promotes the development of close cooperation with other international organisations in the field of European transport policy and with non-governmental organisations operating in the field of inland navigation. 

Rijkswaterstaat is a founder member of the CCR.

Bonn Agreement

The Bonn Agreement is the mechanism by which 10 governments, together with the European Union, cooperate in dealing with pollution of the North Sea by oil and other harmful substances. The signatories are the governments of Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Ireland, the Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, the United Kingdom and the European Union. 

Spain was welcomed as a party to the Bonn Agreement at a ministerial meeting in 2019. Under the umbrella of the Bonn Agreement, BE-AWARE I and BE-AWARE II produced the first area-wide risk assessments of marine pollution in the North Sea and the potential impacts of a pollution incident. 

HNS-MS, ARCOPOL, MARINIER and MARPOCS are related but external projects aimed at improving preparedness and response capacity to hazardous and noxious substances (HNS) pollution incidents.

ERTRAC - European Road Transport Research Advisory Council

The European Road Transport Research Advisory Council (ERTRAC) is the European Technology Platform (ETP) for road transport. ERTRAC provides a strategic vision for road transport research and innovation in Europe through the following tasks:

  • developing strategies and roadmaps to achieve this vision by defining and updating a Strategic Research Agenda (SRA) and research implementation roadmaps
  • stimulating effective public and private investment in road transport research and innovation
  • improving coordination between the European, national, regional public and private R&D activities on road transport
  • enhancing the networking and clustering of European research and innovation capacities
  • promoting the European commitment to research and technological development, and ensuring that Europe remains an attractive region for researchers
  • enhancing the global competitiveness of transport industries
  • supporting the implementation of Horizon Europe, the European Framework Programme for Research and Innovation.


IRAP stands for International Road Assessment Programme. Under the umbrella of the Road Assessment Programmes (RAPs), iRAP is aiming for a Europe free of high-risk roads. iRAP is helping to halve the number of road deaths by 2030 by ensuring that 75% of journeys on TEN-T and primary roads across Europe are rated ‘3 stars or better’, thus improving not only the actual safety on the roads network but also enhancing the living environment for communities in doing so.

FEHRL - Forum of European National Highway Research Laboratories

The Forum of European National Highway Research Laboratories (FEHRL) is an international association of national road research laboratories with members in all EU Member States, EFTA and Eastern European countries, as well as Israel and the USA.

FEHRL's primary objective is to provide opportunities for identifying research priorities and to create a positive climate for cooperation between its member institutes. FEHRL's mission is to promote and facilitate collaboration in road research and to provide high-quality information and advice on road-related technologies and policies. National institute staff provide the technical input to all projects. Through the specification and delivery of research, FEHRL aims to:

  • provide scientific input to European and national government policy on motorway engineering and road transport issues
  • create and maintain an efficient and safe road and infrastructure network
  • increase innovation in road and infrastructure construction and related industries
  • improve the energy efficiency of road and infrastructure engineering and operation
  • and to protect the environment and improve the quality of life.

Rijkswaterstaat is a member of FEHRL together with TNO and Delft University of Technology.

IENE - Infrastructure and Ecology Network Europe

IENE is a network of experts working on different aspects of transport, infrastructure and ecology. The establishment of IENE in 1996 was originally an initiative of the Road and Hydraulic Engineering Division (accomodated by Rijkswaterstaat) of the Dutch Ministry of Transport, Public Works and Water Management.

The aim of the network is to provide an independent, international and interdisciplinary arena for the exchange and development of expert knowledge with the aim of promoting a safe and environmentally sustainable pan-European transport infrastructure. IENE organises international conferences, workshops, training seminars and symposia, initiates collaborative projects and helps answer questions that require shared international expertise.

Although IENE has been a network of experts on infrastructure and biodiversity since 1996, it became a legal entity in 2021, founded by the Swedish Transport Administration (Trafiverket), the French Ministry of the Environment (Ministère de la Transition écologique) and Rijkswaterstaat.

IMPEL - European Union Network for the Implementation and Enforcement of Environmental Law

The European Union Network for the Implementation and Enforcement of Environmental Law (IMPEL) is an international non-profit association of the environmental authorities of the Member States of the European Union, the acceding and candidate countries to the EU, the EEA and EFTA countries and the potential candidates for accession to the European Community.

During the Dutch presidency of the European Union, the establishment of a European network for the implementation and enforcement of environmental legislation was recommended: This network later became the IMPEL network. The objectives are:

  • to provide the necessary impetus in the European Union to make progress on ensuring a more effective application of environmental law, and
  • to improve the implementation of European environmental legislation and thus its enforcement.

The IMPEL network works on these issues through the exchange of knowledge between its members by carrying out peer reviews. These are the IMPEL Review Initiatives, in which implementing organisations are assessed (on a voluntary basis) on their performance in areas such as permitting and enforcement, and the development of tools and guidance for more effective implementation.

An example of such guidance is the handbook Doing the right things for environmental permitting, which was developed by Rijkswaterstaat. In 2021 Rijkswaterstaat carried out a feasibility study on the IMPEL capacity building.

The IMPEL projects are divided into five sector groups:

  • Industry and air
  • Waste and TFS
  • Water and land
  • Nature conservation
  • Cross-cutting tools and approaches

Rijkswaterstaat has been an IMPEL member since 2017.

Within the Netherlands, the Human Environment and Transport Inspectorate is the coordinating organisation for IMPEL.

SedNet - European Sediment Network

SedNet aims to integrate sediment issues and knowledge into European strategies – such as the WFD – to support the achievement of good environmental status and to develop new tools for sediment management. SedNet focuses on sediment quality and quantity issues at the river basin scale, from freshwater to estuarine and marine sediments.

SedNet brings together experts from academia, government and industry. It interacts with the various networks in Europe that operate at national or international level or that focus on specific areas such as science, policy, sediment management, industry and education.

SedNet is a member of the WFD Common Implementation Strategy Strategic Coordination Group and as such one of the initiators of the Integrated Sediment Management Guidelines and Good Practices in the Context of the Water Framework Directive (TBP 2022). 

This document aims to help EU Member States to (better) implement sediment management in WFD River Basin Management Plans. 

Rijkswaterstaat, the Port of Rotterdam Authority and Deltares are the Dutch members of the SedNet Steer Group. The Port of Rotterdam Authority is the chair of SedNet, while Deltares runs the SedNet secretariat. 

Participation in SedNet provides Rijkswaterstaat and the Ministry of Infrastructure and Water Management with an international platform for review, inspiration and state-of-the-art knowledge in the development of sediment policy.