to the website of the International Commission for the Protection of the Rhine.
ICPR - The Rhine for everyone!
How is the Rhine today? The general public is provided with appropriate information in the new ICPR brochure “Rhine for Everyone”. The ICPR aims at sensitising citizens in the entire international catchment for the Rhine as an important lifeline for man and nature The objective is to attract attention to the protection of waters and resources, the required ecological network for migratory fish, intact migration routes between the Rhine and the North Sea/Atlantic necessary for their life cycle as well as the importance of alluvial areas for floods and low waters. The ICPR equally provides information material for visitors’ centres at fish passages or in nature protection areas and offers to support their networking.
Karlsruhe, 21 and 22 June 2017
In this year’s Plenary Assembly staged in Karlsruhe/Germany the ICPR among others discussed the further improvement of the continuity of the Rhine and its tributaries for fish, the networking of visitors’ centres in the Rhine catchment, the biological monitoring programme Rhine 2018, the list of Rhine substances 2017 and the issue of low water.
The improvement of river continuity in particular at the barrages on the Upper Rhine - Rhinau, Marckolsheim and Vogelgrün - remains an important issue for the ICPR. A feasibility study is at present looking into two possible solutions for Vogelgrün: one solution already defined as feasible is to conduct the fish above the entire installation, the second solution, the feasibility of which remains to be analysed, is to build a tunnel under the entire sluice area. Furthermore, the bodies within the ICPR are discussing required improvements of fish protection at hydro power stations during downstream fish migration. In this connection the ICPR and further partners staged an international workshop in Roermond (NL) on 6 and 7 October 2016 with more than 170 participants from 20 countries.
This year the ICPR initiated an exchange of visitors’ centres at fish passages or in wetlands or water-related nature protection areas in the Rhine catchment. The target is on the one hand to promote public interest in the issue of migratory fish and measures taken to restore habitats and river continuity. On the other hand such exchanges are also a possibility to present interdependencies in the Rhine catchment with respect to ecological issues, water quality, floods and low water and to strengthen the awareness for water protection and nature protection. The new ICPR brochures which can be downloaded from "Rhine for everyone!" and "The Rhine for beginners" are supposed to contribute to this target.
This year’s Plenary Assembly also decided on the next Rhine Monitoring Programme Biology 2018 and the new list of Rhine substances 2017 determining, which substances are relevant for the Rhine and must thus be monitored and assessed within the next Management Plan according to the Water Framework Directive.
A new expert group created last year due to expected effects of climate change is presently collecting knowledge on low water in the Rhine catchment and will - if required - draft proposals for future surveillance, prevention and management activities within the field of low water. Since the ongoing programme “Rhine 2020” ends in 3 years, the ICPR has started work on a future programme “Rhine 2040”.
International Commission for the Protection of the Rhine (ICPR)
Short information As Rhine bordering countries, Switzerland, France, Germany and the Netherlands as well as Luxemburg and the European Community co-operate within the International Commission for the Protection of the Rhine (ICPR) on the basis of a treaty under international law. The President (at the time being Mrs. Martine Rohn-Brossard from Switzerland) and the different ICPR fora are supported by the international staff of the permanent secretariat in Koblenz (Germany). Furthermore, the secretariat gives support to the countries in the Rhine watershed when implementing the European Water Framework Directive (Directive 2000/60/EC) and the European Directive on the Assessment and Management of Flood Risks (Directive 2007/60/EC). To this end, cross-border co-operation was extended to Austria, Liechtenstein, Italy and the Belgian region Wallonia. The working languages of the ICPR are German, French and Dutch.
Change in the presidency of the ICPR as of 1st January 2017
Mrs. Martine Rohn-Brossard will be the first woman in the 66 years of ICPR history to take the lead of the International Commission for the Protection of the Rhine (ICPR) on 1st January 2017. Thus, Switzerland will take over the presidency from the Netherlands and Mr. Gustaaf Borchardt who assured the presidency during 2014 to 2016.
Mrs. Martine Rohn-Brossard is deputy head of International Affairs Division at the Swiss Federal Office for the Environment International Affairs at the Swiss in Berne and head of its section Europe, Trade and Development. She is a business economist and has a postgraduate degree in ecology and environmental science.
During the next 3 years she will chair the annual Plenary Sessions and further meetings of the ICPR. Mrs. Martine Rohn-Brossard comes from the French speaking part of Switzerland.
ICPR in support of worldwide cross-border water cooperation
On 29 and 30 November 2016, the president of the ICPR, Mr. Gustaaf Borchardt participated in a workshop on water diplomacy in the Mekong catchment staged in Ventiane, Laos. This will give the opportunity to exchange experience made within the Rhine basin with members of the Mekong River Commission how to resolve and avoid conflicts. The focal point will be the organisation and operation of the successful international cooperation along the Rhine. Also, on 23 November 2016, Mr. Borchardt participated in a conference on the Dead Sea concerning the Lower Jordan river organised by the environmental organisation EcoPeace. On this occasion, he shared experience made along the Rhine with participants coming from Israel, Palestine and Jordania.
ICPR in support of worldwide exchange of information on transboundary water cooperation
Together with the German Head of Delegation, Mrs. Heide Jekel, the President of the ICPR, Mr. Gustaaf Borchardt, will be participating in a workshop on “Exchange of experience on transboundary water cooperation and regional water diplomacy” staged in Tehran 31 October and 1 November 2016.
Experience made along the Rhine and other great European rivers will be exchanged with participants from Iran. Based on examples, different manners of coordinating competing interests of uses and possible consensual solutions for conflicts concerning water resources will be indicated.
In May and September 2016, two workshops at Ministers’ level have been staged in Brussels and Beijing within the CCICED (China Council for International Cooperation on Environment and Development), during which the President of the ICPR reported on experience made within the International Commission for the Protection of the Rhine existing since 1950. In particular, the step-by-step approach first improving water quality before then dealing with ecological issues and water management were met with great interest. Thus, integrated water management as precursor for European directives on water-related issues has been developed within the ICPR. The organisation and operation of ICPR cooperation were another focal point of the exchange of experience.
ICPR-Contribution: Opening of the EDF Hydro Power Plant K
ICPR Contribution during the Opening of the EDF-Hydro Power Plant K in Kembs (20 October 2016)
During the formal opening of the new EDF hydro power plant K in Kembs on 20 October 2016, the President of the ICPR, Mr. Gustaaf Borchardt, praised the many ecological enhancements of the Old Rhine which, since 2010, concern the distinct increase of residual water flow in the Old Rhine, a new fish passage for upstream fish migration into the Grand Canal d’Alsace and protection devices for downstream fish migration into an oxbow lake and the Old Rhine, 100 ha of reactivated floodplain areas on the islands in the Rhine and the partial restoration of the natural bedload regime in the Old Rhine.
In this connection, he also addressed the issue of the importance of the continuity of the Rhine for fish from the outlet into the North Sea until Basel and mentioned the fish passages already constructed at Iffezheim (2000), Gambsheim (2006) and Strasbourg, which was officially opened in May 2016. The fish passage at Gerstheim is under construction and will be functional in 2018. Presently, an ICPR working group is looking into the technical possibilities for also equipping the remaining hydro power plants on the Upper Rhine at Rhinau, Marckolsheim and Vogelgrün with ecologically sustainable fish passages. As the President of the ICPR clearly indicated to EDF in his speech, the EDF proposal to adopt a system consisting of catching fish and transporting them by boat is not met with approval by all states in the Rhine catchment. As already underlined during several conferences of Rhine-ministers, for their reproduction, salmon must be able to reach their home rivers by themselves.
ICPR - innovative assessment tool concerning the effectiveness of flood prevention measures
A new ICPR tool is able to produce a quantitative proof of the effectiveness of flood prevention measures along the Rhine. Calculations show that the ambitious target defined in the Action Plan on Floods in 1998, to reduce flood risk by 25 % between 1995 and 2020 will be achieved with the measures already taken and those planned until 2020. This tool might also be of interest to other river basin commissions. Upon request, the ICPR will make the recently developed tool and the methods it is based on available to other states, resp. their authorities or scientific organisations.
Nine states – one river basin.
For the benefit of the Rhine and of all of its tributaries the members of the International Commission for the Protection of the Rhine (ICPR) Switzerland, France, Germany, Luxemburg, Netherlands and the European Commission successfully co-operate with Austria, Liechtenstein, the Belgian region of Wallonia and Italy. Focal points of work are sustainable development of the Rhine, its alluvial areas and the good state of all waters in the watershed.
New: Climate change adaptation strategy
Climate change adaptation strategy for the Rhine catchment is published
ICPR wins prestigious Thiess International Riverprize
Worldwide reward for decades of international cooperation in Rhine protection!
On 16 September 2014 the ICPR was awarded the Thiess International Riverprize 2014 in Canberra (Australia). During a gala dinner, the price was handed over to the President of the ICPR, Mr. Gustaaf Borchardt and its deputy manager, Anne Schulte-Wülwer-Leidig.
What were the reasons for the co-operation? Which steps and events proved to be decisive? Worldwide, the ICPR develops to be a model for environmental and water protection which numerous organizations take as an example. The secretariat has drafted some new pages concerning the ICPR success history. We would be grateful for any questions or suggestions you might have.
The Rhine and its catchment
This report presents an overview over ecological improvement along the River Rhine and its present chemical water quality. Furthermore, it contains a survey of the implementation of the Action Plan on Floods.
During the last years, the water quality of the Rhine and of many of its tributaries has been distinctly improved by reducing the inputs of pollutants and nutrients of industrial and municipal origin. However, micro-pollutants are a new challenge for water protection.
The Warning and Alarm Plan Rhine (WAP) distinguishes between warnings, information and search reports. The...
Die Rheinstoffliste, welche alle drei Jahre aktualisiert wird, legt die Stoffe fest, die im Rahmen des...
Das Rhein-Messprogramm Biologie 2018 / 2019 dokumentiert das gemeinsame Monitoring am Rheinhauptstrom für die...
240. Strategy for Avoiding and Reducing Micropollutants of Diffuse Origin, Based on the Case Study of Plant Protection Products
The 14th Conference of Rhine Ministers on 18th October 2007 tasked the ICPR, among other things, with developing...
This report is only available in German, French and Dutch.
How is the Rhine today? The general public is provided with appropriate information in the new ICPR brochure “Rhine for Everyone”. The ICPR aims at sensitising citizens in the entire international catchment for the Rhine as an important lifeline for man and nature The objective is to attract attention to the protection of waters and resources, the required ecological network for migratory fish, intact migration routes between the Rhine and the North Sea/Atlantic necessary for their life cycle as well as the importance of alluvial areas for floods and low waters. The ICPR equally provides information material for visitors’ centres at fish passages or in nature...
International and national water protection along the Rhine “30 years after Sandoz” Where are we today and what remains to be done?
Considerable investments into environmental protection and water protection triggered by the Sandoz warehouse fire 30 years ago have shown that it is possible to turn the former sewer Rhine into a largely clean river. Worldwide, the Rhine with its many uses and high industrial density on its banks has become an example for this development. Countless visitors from Asia, Africa, Middle and South America and invitations to participate in environmental congresses all over the world may serve as a proof. Koblenz, 13 October 2016During a press conference staged on the NRW-laboratory ship Max Prüss in Koblenz, the location of the ICPR head office, the International...