Global Networks

Learn more about some of the global networks that Rijkswaterstaat operates in.


I-STORM is the international knowledge exchange network for everyone involved in the storm surge barrier industry, established in 2006. Our network brings together specialists from around the world to address common challenges. I-Storm enables continuous improvement in the design, operation, maintenance and management of storm surge barriers. 

Rijkswaterstaat is the operator of the Dutch storm surge barriers and therefore a member of the network. Other core members are England (Environment Agency – Thames Barriers), Italy (Venice Barrier) and the United States (New Orleans Barrier and others).

RANQUIL MUSIC (On-screen title: From a meeting in 2005... To a worldwide network. At the bottom of the screen is an I-STORM logo.) MARC WALRAVEN: My name is Marc Walraven, Senior Advisor, Storm Surge Barriers, within Rijkswaterstaat and also the co-founder of the I-STORM network. All storm surge barriers, not only in the Netherlands, but worldwide, are unique in design and maintenance operations. So, we can learn a lot from each other's experiences to protect the environment and people behind them against flooding. A lot of new people will be working on those barriers, so we have to pass on knowledge to new generations. I met my colleague Andy Batchelor, who is leading the Thames Barrier in London, in 2005. We went to a bar that evening, and we discovered we had so many things in common, challenges with all the knowledge we have in our organisation, that we thought: we have to cooperate one way or the other. I-STORM is the international network of specialists who work on storm surge barriers. It gives them the opportunity to learn from each other and to share their knowledge in circumstances in which trust is very important, and in an informal way, which makes it even easier to share knowledge and expertise. It's interesting that a lot of countries can learn from our experiences regarding maintenance operations when they build new barriers. But we can learn from them as well, as they use new techniques, innovations, which will help us, for the future of the Netherlands, to adapt our storm surge barriers. I think that the value of I-STORM is that it's so informal. People really get the feeling that I-STORM is trustworthy, they can share knowledge and expertise and they even feel that they can share their problems. That's really helpful in learning from each other on a global basis. The main objective of I-STORM is that it's available for storm surge barriers specialists, that they can share their knowledge and expertise, not only now, but also in the future. It's not about growth, it's just for them to share more in-depth knowledge than that the network has to grow. I-STORM will be needed even more in the future, with more and more countries that will build storm surge barriers and will have to maintain and operate them. So, we will have the challenge to share that knowledge with new generations. It's interesting to see that even universities are joining us now. And we also have I-STORM Next Generation now, so younger people are really enthusiastic in sharing knowledge, and expertise as well, with us. When I see what we started with a beer in 2005, and now seeing how many people and specialists are interacting, and even I-STORM Next Generation is starting with younger people, it's really, really good to see. (The Dutch coat of arms, next to: Rijkswaterstaat. Ministry of Infrastructure and Water Management. The screen turns yellow and white. On-screen text: More information? Go to: or A Rijkswaterstaat production in collaboration with I-STORM. Copyright 2022.) THE TRANQUIL MUSIC CONTINUES AND THEN STOPS

Barrier managers

An annual conference is organised to bring together barrier managers to discuss various topics of common interest. Members are encouraged to share their knowledge, experience, research and developments by bringing them together. They work together on joint projects and develop resources that can be used by everyone in the network. 

In this way, our members can:

  • improve: continuously improve the design, operation, maintenance and management of storm surge barriers
  • inform: inform each other about how to improve the design and development of new barriers and how to strive for continuous improvement of existing barriers and their teams
  • optimise: optimise the operation of barriers within flood risk systems
  • understand: understand the impact of environmental factors on storm surge barriers in order to anticipate and adapt to future challenges


The International Commission On Large Dams (ICOLD) is an international non-governmental organisation providing a forum for the exchange of knowledge and experience on dams and embankments.

ICOLD was founded in 1928 and has National Committees from more than 100 countries with approximately 10,000 individual members. ICOLD members are mainly practising engineers, geologists and scientists from government or private organisations, consulting firms, universities, laboratories and construction companies.

ICOLD leads the profession in ensuring that dams are built safely, efficiently, economically and without adverse environmental impact.


The focus is on issues of current concern such as dam safety, performance monitoring, re-analysis of older dams and spillways, effects of ageing and environmental impact. More recently, new topics have included cost studies at the design and construction stages, harnessing international rivers, public information and financing.

ICOLD leads the profession in setting standards and guidelines to ensure that dams are built and operated safely, efficiently, economically, in an environmentally sustainable manner and in a socially equitable manner.

Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer

The Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer (1987) was established to protect the ozone layer. It aims to eliminate substances such as CFCs, HCFCs, CTCs, methyl bromide and halons, which are mainly used as refrigerants, fire extinguishers, solvents, propellants, foam blowing agents, raw materials and pesticides.

The recent Kigali Amendment (2016) aims to phase down the production and consumption of hydrofluorocarbons. The impact of the amendment will prevent a global temperature increase of up to 0.5 ℃ by the end of the century.

Rijkswaterstaat supports the Dutch Ministry of Economic Affairs and Climate Policy at international meetings under this treaty.

More information: Ozone Secretariat website.

Circular & Fair ICT Pact

The Circular & Fair ICT Pact (CFIT) is an international procurement-led partnership to accelerate circularity, fairness and sustainability in the ICT sector. CFIT will promote the use of common, easy-to-use procurement criteria, provide guidance and facilitate knowledge sharing. 

Together we will use our collective purchasing power, in close dialogue with the ICT supply side, to drive the change and innovation we need. CFIT is an action under the UN One Planet Network SPP programme.

CFIT aims to accelerate the transition to circular and fair ICT products through the power of procurement. It aims to contribute to the Sustainable Development Goals by reducing carbon emissions and primary material use, reducing e-waste and promoting human and labour rights. 

To achieve this, CFIT aims to build its collective purchasing power to serve three million users by 2023.