Interdepartmental Directors North Sea Consultative Body (IDON)

All Ministries with tasks and responsibilities on the North Sea work together in the Interdepartmental Directors North Sea Consultative Body (IDON). This organisation coordinates the development of policy and prepares decisions about the management of the North Sea.

Coordinating role IDON

The coordinating role of IDON ensures that the Ministries draw up policy on the basis of one joint vision of the condition, use and further development of the North Sea area. The ensuing tasks for the management of the North Sea are coordinated within the IDON. This allows the government to fulfil its role in the sustainable shaping of the current and future use of the North Sea as a single authority.

The following organisations work together in IDON: the Ministries of Infrastructure and Environment (Chair), Economic Affairs, Defence, Finance, Education, Culture and Science and the executive organisations of Rijkswaterstaat and the Coastguard.

Structural vision for spatial management on the North Sea

The importance of IDON’s coordinating role has been increasing over the past few years. The North Sea has become busier year after year and will soon be used even more intensively. This is why the State has started managing the North Sea differently over the past few years, more on the basis of its framework vision for spatial management and the associated social interests. Consultation and coordination for this new approach were concentrated at management level in IDON.

The new approach was given clear shape in the 2009-2015 North Sea Policy Document and will become effective in the updated draft 2016-2021 North Sea Policy Document. The updated North Sea Policy Document (adopted in December 2015), looks back on the policy during the period 2009-2015 and deals with the Marine Strategy Framework Directive, offshore wind energy and the sand extraction strategy. The measures that the Policy Document specifies in this context focus on the protection, preservation and restoration of the good environmental status of the North Sea and also guarantee sustainable use of the North Sea.

Regional Agenda building block North Sea Policy

Making all types of use sustainable and stimulating new types of use in which economic and ecological interests are combined: these are the activities that have taken shape in the North Sea 2050 Regional Agenda. This agenda links future scenarios to concrete tasks and projects and is therefore one of the building blocks for realising the policy that has been incorporated into the 2016-2021 North Sea Policy Document.

The IDON is closely involved in elaborating the recommendations and activities specified in both documents. Amongst other things, the recommendations relate to the themes ‘Building with North Sea nature’, ‘Food and Marine ecosystems’, ‘Energy transition at sea’, ‘Multiple use of space at sea’, and ‘Connecting land-sea and shipping’ (including the aspects of safety and the accessibility of ports).

Consultation on European and global level

The water system, the ecology and the use of the North Sea are cross-border and are constantly bringing the Netherlands in communication and consultation with other countries. IDON plays a crucial role in this. For example, IDON coordinates the implementation of European legislation, such as the Marine Strategy Framework Directive and the Directive to establish a framework for maritime spatial planning. Conversely, IDON ensures that Dutch interests and viewpoints can be presented clearly and unambiguously on the European or global playing field.