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Interview with Frederik Roose: Spotlighting CEDA’s environmental policy

2023-01-13 Tamara Parkin
Environmental policy and knowledge sharing are at the heart of the work carried out by the CEDA Environmental Commission (CEC), explains CEC chair Frederik Roose.

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Photo Credit: CEDA

Although environmental policy in dredging may feel like an intimidating topic for most people, it is one that comes naturally to Belgian-national Frederik Roose, who currently chairs the CEDA Environmental Commission (CEC). Set up in 1990, the CEC is responsible for developing and implementing CEDA’s environmental policy and represents the Association at meetings of international conventions and other regulatory forums. The commission has also produced a majority of CEDA’s position papers and information papers - some of which Roose contributed to as a member, prior to assuming the role of the chair in October 2015. 

Roose, who currently works for the Flemish Department of Mobility and Public Works Maritime Access Division in Belgium, believes that the CEC fulfils two primary functions. The first is that of environmental policy work and the other is to disseminate knowledge to provide insight into and context for the CEDA environmental policies.

“We help to achieve CEDA’s objectives, which are to be an independent knowledge platform concerning the dredging and water infrastructure sector,” he tells CEDA Industry News, adding that the commission gathers information from a variety of sources beyond dredging and publishes papers about topics which are relevant to CEDA and its members.

Knowledge sharing

Roose explains that under the mandate to disseminate information and keep CEDA members up to date with the latest environmental developments, the CEC is tasked with producing papers, acting as experts and contributing technical insight in working groups performing legislative work pertaining to dredging and hydraulic construction, and member educational outreach. 

All three aspects, he says, are based on sound technical and scientific knowledge which takes into account best practices. This knowledge foundation allows the commission to take a proactive approach to issues within the dredging sector and identify upcoming trends. 

At the environmental policy level, the CEC represents CEDA at a number of international organisations given the organisations’ role as an official non-governmental observer or stakeholder. Examples include a presence at working groups for the London Convention and Protocol since 1990, the OSPAR Convention since 1992, the European Commission since 2003, and the International Commission for the Protection of the Danube River (ICPDR) since 2007. 

“The representatives in each of these organisations can rely on the knowledge of the members of the environmental commission and on the available position papers,” Roose says, and in return the CEC has the opportunity to gather relevant information that should be factored into CEDA policy and member guidance. 

He adds that as the CEC has representatives from different sectors including governments, contractors, consultants, shipbuilders and more, the information gathered is of a robust nature. “This variety of stakeholders allows for a wider range of information gathering which helps the commission take more informed positions,” the CEC chair says. 

Representation and collaboration

Due to the wide ranging scope of work the commission performs, Roose is keen that the commission truly represents all the sub sectors in dredging and their environmental interests at various national and international levels. He states that “the commission strives to have a good composition or representation of members of CEDA across the various dredging organisations, as well as the different countries.” 

He remarks that “the commission is open to all, with dredging organisations entering a representative to contribute to the CEC on a voluntary basis. Since CEC work is voluntary in addition to an individual's primary workload, balancing the two can sometimes be challenging.” 

This has led to a few vacancies within the commission, although the team is working hard to fill the roles.“There has been a representative vacancy for a while for the marine strategy framework directive from the EU,” he says, telling CEDA Industry News that the CEC would welcome applications from CEDA members reading this article. In the absence of a designated representative, the CEC has supported the marine strategy framework directive using the knowledge of members within the environmental commission or the wider CEDA network.

Despite having many international voices on the committee, Roose is proud of the fact that all the members work well together. “Any differences in national legislation are generally underpinned by the technical aspects of dredging which are similar, making it easier to reach a consensus,” he says.

“Many of the environmental national legislations for dredging are based or framed on international legislation, which allows us to harmonise or help with the common implementation of this legislation. This is particularly the case for legislation from the European Union which is applicable to all member states.” He added, “I think a commitment in time to produce papers and write down statements is more challenging than finding consensus.”

Environmental Agenda 

Roose observes that since its inception, the CEC has changed its stance from reactive to proactive. He explains that “in the beginning the commission had a reactive role. There were issues and the CEC had to take a position by developing methods and guidance. Now we aim to be proactive, we want to take a position before the issue or problem has arisen.” This is a direct result of the industry's growing awareness of environmental issues, which have expanded significantly over the past two decades. 

“The agenda has only grown since the 90s,” Roose says, explaining that the CEC has several topics that are discussed year on year. “Issues like the beneficial use of dredged material have been on the agenda since the beginning, but now also relates to the circular economy, so the scope has expanded.” Other environmental policy areas the CEC works on are seafloor integrity, deep sea mining and the effects of turbidity from dredging on the environment. 

The emergence of new policy areas has resulted in a more comprehensive environmental agenda for the CEC. Roose states that current research being conducted on adaptive management is complementary to established topics such as turbidity, citing that “adaptive management can be a way to deal with effects of turbidity.”

Staying relevant

The constant updating of the CEC’s environmental agenda reflects the development of the environmental challenges acting upon dredging projects. Knowledge relevant to the dredging sector is taken and expanded to provide CEDA members with a thorough understanding of new legislation or industry developments. 

The commission is keen to remain ahead of the curve, with Roose and the CEC members actively identifying issues that may impact the dredging sector in the future. One of these is the issue of lowering emissions from dredging vessels and the energy efficiency of dredging projects. “I think the topic of decarbonisation is an issue not only for the next decade but the next three decades,” he says. The information gathered on this issue by the CEC led to the creation of a separate commission, the CEDA Commission on Decarbonisation (CCD), which Roose says will “define and take on this work for the sector.” 

The CEC is currently putting together a position paper on the adaptive management of dredging projects, and encourages readers to come forward if they would like to contribute their knowledge.

While the advice given in this editorial content has been developed using the best information available, it is intended purely as guidance to be used at the user’s own risk. No responsibility is accepted by CEDA or by the Intent Communications Ltd or by any person, firm, corporation or organisation who or which has been in any way concerned with the furnishing of information or data, the compilation, publication or any translation, supply or sale of this Guidance for the accuracy of any information or advice given herein or for any omission herefrom or from any consequences whatsoever resulting directly or indirectly from compliance with or adoption of guidance contained therein even if caused by a failure to exercise reasonable care.