Recognizing the need for cross-border collaboration for the benefit of the Rhine and of all waters running into the Rhine, the International Commission for the Protection of the Rhine (ICPR) is comprised of nine states and regions in the Rhine watershed (Switzerland, France, Germany, Luxemburg, the Netherlands, Austria, Liechtenstein and the Belgian region of Wallonia, Italy). The members closely co-operate with each other and the European Commission in order to harmonize the many interests of use and protection in the Rhine area. Key work areas include:
- The sustainable development of the Rhine and its alluvial areas
- The quality of water and pollution of waters in the watershed
- The prevention and protection against river floods.
The commission includes various working- and expert groups with clearly defined mandates which work on all relevant technical issues arising from the implementation of the Convention on the Protection of the Rhine and from European law. Decisions are taken in the annual plenary assembly. The Conference of Rhine Ministers takes decisions in matters of political importance and establishes the basis for coherent, coordinated programs of measure. The set-up of this cross-country commission was the model for many other river basins.