German Federal Agency for Nature Conservation (BfN)


Convention for the Protection of the Marine Environment of the North-East Atlantic (OSPAR Convention) (1992)

Logo OSPAR Convention

Convention for the Protection of the Marine Environment of the North-East Atlantic

Contracting parties:

Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Great Britain, Iceland, Ireland, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland; EU


The OSPAR Convention replaced two precursor marine conservation agreements. Its purpose is to conserve the marine ecosystems of the north-east Atlantic and to protect them against the adverse effects of human activities. Where feasable, marine areas which have been adversely affected are to be restored.


Under the convention, non-binding recommendations can be adopted, but also decisions with legally binding force for member states. Implementation of the convention is organized under six strategies (Protection and Conservation of Marine Biodiversity and Ecosystems; Eutrophication; Hazardous Substances; Offshore Oil and Gas Industry; Radioactive Substances; Monitoring and Assessment). Member states cooperate via the OSPAR Commission, which meets annually in June. The commission is supported by annual meetings of six committees on the various strategies, which, in turn, are supported by several working groups. Observers from various organizations attend the meetings of the commission, the committees and the working groups.


OSPAR Secretariat
New Court
48 Carey Street
London WC2A 2JQ/ UK
Tel: +44 20 7430 5200
Fax: +44 20 7430 5225

BfN activities:

BfN's marine and coastal conservation unit is involved in all issues addressed by the OSPAR Biodiversity Committee. BfN chairs for Germany the OSPAR MASH (Marine Areas, Species and Habitats) Working Group and the OSPAR Marine Protected Areas Project Group. Among other activities, BfN organizes workshops aiming to develop this conservation instrument.

Last Change: 09/04/2018