OSPAR Convention

conventions (concluded in Oslo and Paris respectively). In full, OSPAR is the Convention for the Protection of the Marine Environment of the North-East Atlantic.
The convention is of great importance for regulating international cooperation on policy for the North Sea. It is a platform on which the countries of the North Sea can mutually coordinate their substantive assessment of the marine environment, drawing conclusions for the use of the North Sea. This prevents extreme or even contradictory strategies being applied to the same sea.

The OSPAR Commission (made up of representatives from fifteen signatory countries in the North-East Atlantic area and representatives of the EU) is tasked with implementing OSPAR'sNorth-East Atlantic Environmental Strategy. Various thematic committees and working groups within OSPAR pave the way for coordination at regional level, among other things. The Netherlands is active in several of these groups. From time to time OSPAR publishes a Quality Status Report.

Common indicators

OSPAR develops common indicators from which it is possible to infer how much the current situation deviates from good environmental status. OSPAR also ensures that there is a coordinated, coherent, consistent and comparable monitoring programme. Joint monitoring is carried out to assess the environmental status of the OSPAR regions, including the North Sea. This assessment is used to draft the Dutch Marine Strategy.


The committees and working groups within OSPAR work together to develop measures at a regional level to achieve and maintain good environmental status and the environmental objectives under the MSFD. A concrete example of coordination is the regional action plan (RAP) for marine litter that was adopted in June 2022. This includes agreements on regional measures to tackle litter in the marine environment.