OSPAR Convention

1. Issued by / date / date of implementation

Fifteen Governments* together with the European Community / 1972 / 2007

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2. Type of legislation

Regional Convention to be implemented by all ratifying Parties

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3. General purpose

OSPAR is the mechanism by which fifteen Governments* together with the European Community, cooperate to protect the marine environment of the North-East Atlantic. It started in 1972 with the Oslo Convention against dumping from ships and aircraft. It was broadened to cover land-based sources and the offshore industry by the Paris Convention of 1974. These two conventions were unified, up-dated and extended by the 1992 OSPAR Convention. The new annex on biodiversity and ecosystems was adopted in 1998 to cover non-polluting human activities that can adversely affect the sea.

* The fifteen Governments are Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Iceland, Ireland, Luxembourg, The Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and United Kingdom.

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4. Substitution relevant paragraphs



7. In determining what combination of measures constitute best environmental practice, in general or individual cases, particular consideration should be given to:

(b) the substitution by less polluting activities or substances;

(d) the potential environmental benefit or penalty of substitute materials or activities;

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5. Assessment of relevance for substitution

The Contracting Parties shall take all possible steps to prevent and eliminate pollution and shall take the necessary measures to protect the maritime area against the adverse effects of human activities so as to safeguard human health and to conserve marine ecosystems.

Therefore, substitution of hazardous substances and/or practices is one of the best ways to achieve this purpose.

The OSPAR List of Substances of Possible Concern comprises hazardous substances which are persistent, bioaccumulative and toxic (PBT) or of equivalent concern. A selection is included in the List of Chemicals for Priority Action, according to their actual occurrence and effects on the marine environment and judged to require priority action by OSPAR. All these substances may be subject to substitution measures.These substances are further described in the Substances of High Concern section accessible via the Restricted and Priority Database.

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6. Link to the legal text

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

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7. Further information

7.1 Studies or publications about the legislation or its impact

7.2 Other relevant legislation

  • DIRECTIVE 2002/95/EC
  • Annnex - Use of lead, mercury, cadmium, hexavalent chromium, polybrominated
  • biphenyls (PBB) or polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDE) which were exempted from the provisions of Article 4, paragraph 1
  • Decision 2005/618/EC [Official Journal L 214 of 19.8.2005];
  • Decision 2005/717/EC [Official Journal L 271 of 15.10.2005];
  • Decision 2005/747/EC [Official Journal L 280 of 25.10.2005];
  • Decision 2006/310/EC [Official Journal L 115 of 28.4.2006];
  • Decision 2006/690/EC [Official Journal L 283 of 14.10.2006];
  • Decision 2006/691/EC [Official Journal L 283 of 14.10.2006];
  • Decision 2006/692/EC [Official Journal L 283 of 14.10.2006];
  • Decision 2008/385/EC [Official Journal L 136 of 24.5.2008];
  • Decision 2009/428/EC [Official Journal L 139 of 5.6.2009];
  • Decision 2009/443/EC [Official Journal L 148 of 11.6.2009];
  • Decision 2010/122/EU [Official Journal L 49 of 26.2.2010].

Last update: 28.06.2019

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