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International Co-operation

There are a number of groups which work to ensure international co-operation for specific geographic areas:

Bern Convention

This is a treaty in the field of nature conservation which was negotiated at the Council of Europe and signed in Bern, Switzerland. It covers the natural heritiage of most of the European Continent and some states of Africa, aiming to conserve wild flora and fauna species and their habitats, particularly where co-operatin between several counries is required.

The Bern Convention has been in force since 1982 and now involves 50 countries including four African states and the European Union. It was the first international treaty to protect both species and habitats and to bring countries together to make decisions on nature conservation and promote sustainable development.

The EBA Environmental Secretary produced the European Code of Conduct on Recreational Boating and Invasive Alien Species on behalf of the Bern Convention.

Bern Convention Code of Conduct on Recreational Boating and Invasive Alien Species


Baltic Marine Environment Protection Commission or Helsinki Commission is the governing body of the “Convention on the Protection of the Marine Environment of the Baltic Sea Area”.The 1992 Helsinki Convention entered into force in 2000 and is updated when necessary e.g. to incorporate developments in international enviromenal and maritime laws. It coverse the whole of the Baltic Sea area, including the sea, the sea-bed and inland waters. Measures are also taken to reduce pollution from land-based sources.

The EBA has observer status with HELCOM.

Pleasure boating is dealt with by the Maritime Group within HELCOM (HELCOM Maritime).


The Convention for the Protection of the Marine Environment of the North-East Atlantic, is known as OSPAR because it started with the 1972 Oslo and 1974 Paris Conventions. It is the current legal instrument guiding international cooperation on the protection of the marine environment of the North-East Atlantic. Work under the Convention is managed by the OSPAR Commission, made up of representatives of the Governments of 15 Contracting Parties and the European Commission, representing the European Union.

The 15 Governments represented at OSPAR are those of Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Iceland, Ireland, Luxembourg, The Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and United Kingdom. These are the countries of the western coasts and catchments of Europe.

The EBA has Observer Status to OSPAR and as such is welcome to attend any of the meetings and engage in discussions. 

Mediterranean Action Plan – Barcelona Convention

The EBA follows the work of the Convention for the protection of the Mediterranean Sea against Pollution (Barcelona Convention and its Protocols) which is part of the United Nations Envirnment Programme. Following its amendment in 1995, it was renamed Convention for the Protection of the Marine Environment and the Coastal Region of the Mediterranean.


The World Association for Waterborne Transport Infrastructure (PIANC) hosts and chairs the Navigation Task Group (NAVI) which the EBA participates in. More information about this group can be found under WFD & MSFD.