ICPR – International Commission for the Protection of the Rhine

Targets aimed at improving water quality

  • Permanent respect of target values and environmental quality standards for all substances relevant for the Rhine in water, suspended matter, sediments and organisms
  • Termination or phasing out of inputs, emissions and losses of hazardous priority substances of the Water Framework Directive
  • Phased reduction of inputs, emissions and losses of priority substances of the Water Framework Directive
  • Further reduction of inputs, emissions and losses of priority OSPAR substances until achieving concentrations near the background values for naturally occurring substances and near zero for industrially produced synthetic substances in the sense of the protection targets fixed by OSPAR and the Sintra Declaration.
  • Water quality is to be such that drinking water can be produced using simple and near to nature treatment procedures
  • Substances contained in Rhine water must neither individually, nor in combination detrimentally influence the communities of plants, animals and micro-organisms.
  • Further reduction of the accumulation of hazardous substances in plants, animals and micro-organisms
  • No exaggerated production of biomass
  • Fish, mussels and crustaceans must be apt for human consumption without any restriction
  • It must be granted that the disposal of dredged material does not cause any harm
  • Bathing must be secured in suitable locations along the Rhine
  • Further depollution of the North Sea

Approach and measures

  1. Continue to reduce inputs, emissions and losses of substances relevant for the Rhine by applying the state of the art and best environmental practice
  2. Implement the relevant decisions taken by the ICPR
  3. Update the list of substances relevant for the Rhine and the targets according to the developing state of knowledge, integrating the quality objectives the water framework directive sets for priority substances and priority hazardous substances as well as the OSPAR priority substances
  4. Implement further measures to achieve the targets set for priority and priority hazardous substances
  5. Applying the EC directives concerning water quality: WFD (2000/60/EG), IVU (96/61/EG), urban waste water (91/271/EWG), nitrates (91/676/EWG), plant protective agents (91/414/EWG), biocides (98/8/EG) and others contribute to the targets of improving water quality.
  6. Further development of administrative and in-house surveillance systems including self-checking of wastewater inputs, development and including uniform eco-toxicological assessment procedures (see relevant OSPAR work, it is the overall assessment of wastewater inputs that matters)
  7. Further development of the warning and alarm system Rhine
  8. Supporting ecological substance management in industry and trade, that is development of products of low environmental risk; close substance cycles, environmental protection integrated into production according to the state of the art (prevention: environmentally friendly products, clean technologies and process integrated measures, environmentally friendly raw materials and auxiliary agents, non-polluting management, use of material and maintenance; recycling: closed circuits within and outside production procedures; recycling, eventually after treatment or wastewater treatment)
  9. Development of an assessment method for individual measures with a view to eventual impacts on other areas, including cross-media expert assessment.
  10. Enhance environmentally compatible agriculture, biological farming, extensification and let agriculture take over environmentalist functions.


The OSPAR-Convention on the Protection of the Northeast Atlantic (1992) combines and completes the Oslo Convention (1972) on the dumping of waste at sea and the Paris Convention (1974) on continental sources of marine pollution. The Sintra declaration (the communiqué of the Conference of Ministers of the OSPAR-Commission of 1998) defined protection targets for the marine environment with respect to a list of priority substances.