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Convention for the Protection of the Rhine

The Convention is designed to preserve and improve the ecosystem of the Rhine. This Decision seeks to strengthen cooperation between the Community and the Rhine riparian States.


Council Decision 2000/706/EC of 7 November 2000 concerning the conclusion, on behalf of the Community, of the Convention for the Protection of the Rhine.


By Decision 77/586/EC, the Community concluded the Convention for the Protection of the Rhine and the 1963 Agreement concerning the International Commission for the Protection of the Rhine against Pollution. At the 25th meeting of the Convention, the riparian States considered it necessary to conclude a new Convention for the Protection of the Rhine. The negotiations were completed in January 1998 and the Community signed the new Convention in April 1999 in Berne.

This Decision approves the new Convention for the Protection of the Rhine on behalf of the Community.

The entry into force of the new Convention repeals the April 1963 Agreement concerning the International Commission for the Protection of the Rhine against Pollution, the Additional Agreement of 1976 to the Agreement of April 1963 concerning the International Commission for the Protection of the Rhine against Pollution and the 1976 Convention for the protection of the Rhine against chemical pollution.

The aims of the new Convention are as follows:

  • sustainable development of the Rhine ecosystem through:

- maintaining and improving the quality of the Rhine's waters, and its natural function;
- protecting species diversity ;
- reducing contamination;
- conserving and improving natural habitats for wild fauna and flora;
- ensuring environmentally sound management of water resources;
- taking ecological requirements into account when developing the waterway.

  • production of drinking water;
  • improvement of sediment quality;
  • flood protection;
  • coordination with measures to protect the North Sea.

The riparian States undertake to:

  • cooperate in taking actions to protect the Rhine;
  • implement programmes and studies concerning the river;
  • identify the causes of and parties responsible for pollution;
  • ensure that technical measures liable to have a serious effect on the ecosystem, as well as discharges of waste water and hazardous substances, are subject to prior authorisation;
  • reduce the risks of environmental accidents.

The International Commission for the Protection of the Rhine (ICPR) is made up of representatives of the Contracting States. It is chaired by those States in turn. It takes decisions unanimously and communicates them to the Contracting Parties. The tasks of the ICPR are as follows:

  • prepare studies and programmes on the Rhine ecosystem;
  • make proposals for actions;
  • evaluate the effectiveness of the actions carried out;
  • coordinate warnings and alerts;
  • inform the public as to the state of the Rhine and the results of its work.

Each year, the ICPR draws up an activity report and submits it to the Contracting Parties.

The Contracting Parties report regularly to the ICPR on the legislative, regulatory and other measures they have taken with a view to implementing the Convention and the results of those measures.


ActEntry into force - Date of expiryDeadline for transposition in the Member StatesOfficial Journal
Decision 2000/706/EC07.11.2000-OJ L 289, 16.11.2000


Directive 2000/60/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 23 October 2000 establishing a framework for Community action in the field of water policy [Official Journal L 327, 22.12.2000].
This Directive establishes a Community framework for the protection of inland surface waters, transitional waters, coastal waters and groundwater, in order to prevent and reduce pollution of such waters, promote their sustainable use, protect their environment, improve the state of aquatic ecosystems and mitigate the effects of floods and droughts. This protection is organised on the basis of the river basins and river basin districts identified by the Member States.

Last updated: 11.09.2006
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