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Summary of Treaty

Official Title Convention on the Protection of the Rhine
Type of Agreement Multilateral
Place of Signature Berne
Date of Signature 12/04/1999
Date of Entry Into Force 01/01/2003
Duration Indefinite
Objective of Agreement To step up multilateral cooperation on sustainable development of the Rhine’s ecosystem, production of drinking water from the waters of the Rhine, protection of the flora and fauna in the river and on its banks, improvement of sediment quality, flood prevention and protection taking account of ecological requirements and helping restore the North Sea.
Remarks When the Governments of the five States which lie along the Rhine (Switzerland, France, Germany, Luxembourg, the Netherlands) and the representative of the European Commission signed the new Convention for the Protection of the Rhine on 12 April 1999 in Berne, they formally confirmed their determination to reinforce their cooperation with a view to continued protection of the valuable character of the Rhine, its banks and its flood plains. 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: 1. 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. 2. production of drinking water; 3. improvement of sediment quality; 4. flood protection; 5. 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. Under Article 14(1) of the Convention, the International Commission for the Protection of the Rhine may cooperate with other intergovernmental organisations and address recommendations to them. States, intergovernmental organisations and non-governmental organisations concerned by or with an interest in the Commission’s work may have observer status (Article 14). The Convention has an annex on arbitration.
OJ Reference L289, 16/11/2000, p. 31
Depositary Switzerland
Contracting Parties European Community, France, Germany, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Switzerland
Authentic Texts Dutch, French, German
Subject Matters Environment
environmental protection
international convention
pollution of waterways
Settlement of disputes Article 16 Convention
Management International Commission for the Protection of the Rhine
Other Links
Date of Signature 12/04/1999
Conclusion Date 17/11/2000
Ratification Status AP
Conclusion Decision Council Decision of 7 November 2000 concerning the conclusion, on behalf of the Community, of the Convention for the Protection of the Rhine; OJ L289 of 16/11/2000, p.30
Date of Entry Into Force 01/01/2003
Competence Mixed
Legal Basis Treaty EC: Article 175

Last Update :   06/02/2008