ICPR – International Commission for the Protection of the Rhine

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.

The prize was awarded to the ICPR on the basis of the remarkable success achieved in Rhine protection during the more than 60 years of the Commission's existence.
Due to a positive co-operation of all states based on solidarity the Rhine has again recovered from the open sewer it was considered to be in the 1960s and 1970s. The implementation of the Rhine Action Programme and of EU Directives has considerably improved water quality and the biological state of the Rhine and many of its tributaries. Today, more 96 % of the population are connected to a wastewater treatment plant. Many big industrial plants have their own wastewater treatment plant. The number of animal and plant species has increased. At present, 63 fish species live in the Rhine. In particular, and since 2006, salmon, sea trout and eel as well as other migratory fish may migrate from the North Sea as far upstream as Strasbourg. Floodplains of the Rhine have been restored, oxbow lakes have again been connected to the Rhine and its tributaries and along shorter stretches river structures have been ecologically improved. Considerable efforts have been undertaken to reduce negative impacts of flood events. Among others, additional flood retention areas have been created.

“We are most pleased to have been awarded the Thiess Riverprize in Canberra in the name of all those cooperating in the ICPR“, says Gustaaf Borchardt. “This prize is an incentive to start working on future challenges, such as the effects of climate change, micro-pollutants and the futher improvement of fish migration in the Rhine catchment.“

Originally funded by the International RiverFoundation (www.riverfoundation.org.au),
the Thiess International Riverprize was first awarded in 1999. It has developed to become one of the worldwide most prestigious environmental awards. It is not only awarded for outstanding achievements, but also for sharing knowledge and experience with other river commissions worldwide. 

More information:

International Commission for the Protection of the Rhine (ICPR)
Ben van de Wetering
Tel.: +49-(0)261-94252-17
Mobile: +49-170-497 68 61
Anne Schulte-Wülwer-Leidig
Tel.: +49-(0)261-94252-19
Mobile: +49-171-322 65 82

Short description of the ICPR

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 Mr. Gustaaf Borchardt from the Netherlands) 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 (2007/60/EC). To this end, cross-border co-operation was extended to Austria, Liechtenstein and the Belgian region Wallonia. The working languages of the ICPR are German, French and Dutch. For detailed information on the ICPR please browse to the ICPR website: