International Affairs

Many health and environmental issues demand an international approach. Our work is recognised internationally, as reflected in our designation as WHO Collaborating Centre on matters such as nutrition, tobacco product regulation and immunotoxicology. RIVM collaborates with many international organisations. Our international activities fall into two main categories: those which promote knowledge and quality, and those which assist in the development of policy and legislation.

Knowledge and quality

To fulfil its responsibilities at national level, RIVM must have access to fully reliable and current information. We therefore adopt a broad international perspective and have developed an extensive network. Many of the challenges in public health and environmental management demand an international approach. International cooperation, whereby various partners combine their strengths, is both effective and efficient. RIVM is recognised as a leading international authority in many areas. There is considerable demand for our expertise from other parts of the world.

RIVM develops and exploits its international knowledge base in various ways:

  • International research and projects.
  • Contributions to international conferences and publications.
  • Activities on behalf of international clients such as the European Commission and its agencies, the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). RIVM hosts several WHO Collaborating Centres.
  • Activities further to formal agreements between the Netherlands and other countries, including 'twinning' programmes designed to provide specific assistance, and collaboration with RIVM's sister organisations in other countries.
  • Membership of international professional organizations.

Policy and legislation

RIVM's national tasks are performed within certain international frameworks which have been created by the Netherlands' membership of the European Union and its adoption of various international agreements. As a knowledge institute, RIVM offers its clients specific advice on matters within the organization's sphere of expertise. It also represents the Netherlands in various international networks.

Examples of the processes in which RIVM is or has been involved include:

  • Implementation of European legislation governing the storage and use of hazardous chemicals
  • Implementation of the International Health Regulations
  • RIVM's role as EU Community Reference Laboratory (for residues and salmonella)
  • Participation in European networks for infectious disease control
  • Contributions to the European Union's advisory committees on drug evaluation and registration, food safety and health monitoring.

International partners

RIVM's international work has many aspects. RIVM works a great deal with and for the European Commission, including the JRC (Joint Research Centre). We also carry out work for European Agencies, such as the EFSA (European Food Safety Authority) and the ECDC (European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control). RIVM also plays a leading role in the European Topic Centre for Air Pollution and Climate Change Mitigation (ETC/ACM).  More information on our international collaboration webpage.

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