The OSPAR Convention

Home » Environmental Priorities » Policy and Legislation » The OSPAR Convention


Tralispeen Beach, Skibbereen, Cork (Image Credit: Breda Moriarty)

The OSPAR Convention initially covered European Union waters and stemmed from the Bonn Agreement in 1969, which came into place to grant protection to the 31 marine environment from oil-based pollution. In 1974, the Oslo Agreement was brought into place to give protection from dumping at sea by aircraft and ships, followed by the Paris Agreement in 1978, preventing the pollution of the marine environment from land-based sources (OSPAR, 2017). On the 22nd of September, 1992, at the Ministerial Meeting of the Oslo and Paris Commissions, what is currently known as the OSPAR Convention was opened for signatories. This new convention for protection of the marine environment was signed by the EU as well as 15 individual countries: Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Iceland, Ireland, the Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, UK, Luxembourg, and Switzerland. This new convention included all previous decisions, amendments and recommendations of the previous three agreements, but added new conditions divided into five annexes.

The OSPAR Annexes

The OSPAR Convention annexes are as follows:

  • Annex I: Prevention and Elimination of pollution from land-based sources
  • Annex II: Prevention and Elimination of pollution by dumping and incineration
  • Annex III: Prevention and Elimination of pollution from offshore sources
  • Annex IV: Mandatory Assessments by each signatory state of the quality of the marine environment
  • Annex V: The protection and conservation of the ecosystems and biological diversity of the maritime area.

The OSPAR Convention came into force from the 25th of March, 1998, strengthening and driving improvements to several pre-existing conservation driven directives and policies, such as that of the Common Fisheries Policy.

All information pertaining to the OSPAR convention is contained in this document.


>> Common Fisheries Policy