Convention between the Federal Republic of Germany and the Czech and Slovak Federal Republic and the European Economic Community on the International Commission for the Protection of the Elbe

Done at Magdeburg on 8 October 1990


CONCERNED about keeping the river Elbe free from pollution,

RESOLVED to prevent its further pollution and to improve its current state,

RECOGNIZING the need to make a sustained contribution to the reduction of pollution in the North Sea arising from the Elbe,

CONVINCED of the urgency of these tasks, and

INTENDING to increase the cooperation that already exists between the contracting parties in this area,


Article 1

1. The contracting parties shall cooperate in the International Commission for the Protection of the Elbe, hereinafter referred to as the Commission, to prevent the pollution of the Elbe and its drainage area.

2. They shall in so doing in particular endeavour:

(a) to enable use to be made of the river, in particular the obtaining of supplies of drinking water from bank-filtered waters and the agricultural use of the waters and sediments;

(b) to achieve as natural an ecosystem as possible with a healthy diversity of species;

(c) to reduce substantially the pollution of the North Sea from the Elbe area.

3. In order to attain these objectives step-by-step, the contracting parties within the framework of the Commission shall determine the tasks to be carried out as a priority in the form of work programmes with timetables. These programmes shall provide, inter alia, proposals for the application of state-of-the-art techniques for the reduction of emissions and for measures to reduce pollution from various sources.

4. This Convention does not cover matters relating to the fishing industry and shipping; however, this does not exclude the consideration of matters relating to the protection of the waters against pollution caused by these activities.

Article 2

1. In particular, the Commission shall:

(a) prepare surveys showing major point sources of discharges of harmful materials (discharge charts), estimate water pollution from diffuse sources and extrapolate both of these,

(b) propose limit values for the discharge of effluent,

(c) propose specific quality objectives taking account of the requirements with regard to the use of the waters, the particular conditions for the I protection of the North Sea and the natural aquatic communities,

(d) propose and coordinate the implementation of joint programmes of measurements and investigations to demonstrate the quality of the waters, sediments and effluent and to describe the aquatic and coastal communities, and shall record and evaluate the findings,

(e) compile standardized methods for the classification of water quality in the Elbe,

(f) propose specific action for the reduction of discharges of harmful materials from the point sources of both local authorities and industry and from diffuse sources and further measures including timetables and a cost assessment,

(g) propose protective measures to prevent water pollution resulting from accidents,

(h) propose a uniform warning and alert system for the drainage area, to be updated according to experience,

(i) describe the hydrological situation in the Elbe area and record the main influencing factors (Elbe monograph),

(j) provide documentary evidence regarding the ecological importance of the various biotope elements of the waters and proposals regarding the improvement of conditions for aquatic and coastal communities,

(k) discuss planned and, upon request by a delegation, existing types of utilization of the waters which may have serious international repercussions, including hydraulic structures and regulation of the waters,

(l) promote cooperation in particular on scientific research projects and regarding the exchange of information especially on the state of technology,

(m) prepare the basis for any regulation between the contracting parties regarding the protection of the Elbe and its drainage area.

2. The Commission shall furthermore be responsible for all other matters assigned to it by the contracting parties by joint agreement.

Article 3

The Convention shall apply in the territories in which the Treaty establishing the European Economic Community is applicable and under the terms of that Treaty, on the one hand, and in the territory of the Czech and Slovak Federal Republic, on the other hand.

Article 4

The contracting parties shall inform the Commission of all the basic matters required for the Commission to fulfil its tasks and of the measures taken and the total resources used therefor. The Commission may submit proposals to the contracting parties regarding improvements.

Article 5

1. The Commission shall consist of the delegations of the contracting parties. Each contracting party shall appoint a maximum of five delegates and their deputies, including the head of the delegation and his deputy.

2. Each delegation may call in experts which it appoints for the consideration of certain matters.

Article 6

1. The chairmanship of the Commission shall be held by the delegations of the contracting parties in turn. Details regarding the provision of a chairman shall be determined by the Commission and included in its rules of procedure; the delegation chairing the Commission shall appoint one of its members as Chairman. This delegation may appoint a further delegate for the duration of its chairmanship.

2. The Chairman shall, as a rule, not speak on behalf of his delegation during the meetings of the Commission.

Article 7

1. The Commission shall meet at least once a year, when invited by the Chairman for a regular meeting at a place to be specified by him.

2. Extraordinary meetings shall be convened by the Chairman if so requested by a delegation.

3. The leaders of the delegations may confer between meetings of the Commission.

4. The Chairman shall propose the agenda. Each delegation shall be entitled to include those items in the agenda which it wishes to have discussed. The order shall be decided by majority decision of the Commission.

Article 8

1. Each delegation shall have one vote.

2. Negotiations and decisions within the framework of this Convention as well as its implementation shall be conducted by the European Economic Community and the Federal Republic of Germany with their respective fields of competence. the European Economic Community shall not exercise its right to vote in cases in which the Federal Republic of Germany is competent and vice versa.

3. The Commission's decisions and proposals shall, unless otherwise specified in this Convention, be unanimously adopted; a written procedure may take place in line with the conditions to be specified in the rules of procedure.

4. Decisions nem. con. shall be deemed to be unanimous, provided all delegations are present.

Article 9

1. The Commission shall set up working parties to carry out certain tasks.

2. The working parties shall consist of the delegates or experts appointed by each delegation.

3. The Commission shall determine the task and the number of members of each working party and shall appoint the Chairmen of such working parties.

Article 10

The Commission shall establish a secretariat for the preparation, implementation and support of its work. The headquarters of the secretariat shall be at Magdeburg. Further details shall be governed by the rules of procedure.

Article 11

The Commission may call on the services of especially suitable persons or establishments for the examination of special matters.

Article 12

The Commission shall adopt decisions regarding cooperation with other national and international organizations concerned with pollution control.

Article 13

The Commission shall provide the contracting parties with an activity report at least every two years and, as required, with further reports setting out in particular the results of investigations and their assessments.

Article 14

1. Each contracting party shall bear the cost of its representation in the Commission and the working parties and the cost of the current investigations carried out in its territory.

2. All other expenditure arising from the work of the Commission, including the costs of the secretariat, shall be divided among the contracting parties as follows:

Federal Republic of Germany 65.0%
European Economic Community 2.5%
Czech and Slovak Federal Republi 32.5%
TOTAL 100%


The Commission may also specify a different breakdown in certain cases.

Article 15

The Commission shall adopt rules of procedure.

Article 16

1. Existing agreements and treaties shall remain unaffected.

2. The Commission shall examine as soon as possible to what extent it is expedient to amend, supplement or annul agreements and treaties as referred to in paragraph 1 because of their contents or for other reasons; it shall draw up recommendations in respect of their amendment or annulment and of the conclusion of new agreements or treaties.