Since 1978, the Netherlands, Germany and Denmark have cooperated to protect the Wadden Sea as an ecological entity. The Guiding Principle of the Trilateral Wadden Sea Cooperation is to “achieve, as far as possible, a natural and sustainable ecosystem in which natural processes proceed in an undisturbed way”.
The Cooperation is based on the “Joint Declaration on the Protection of the Wadden Sea”, which was first signed in 1982 and then updated in 2010. The Joint Declaration is a declaration of intent, and includes the objectives and areas of the cooperation and the institutional and financial arrangements. For over 30 years, the Cooperation has united partners from politics, nature conservation, science and administration, along with local stakeholders, who together represent an enormous store of knowledge and experience.
It is a world wide unique example of effective transboundary ecosystem-based collaboration in order to conserve a World Heritage site.
The Trilateral Wadden Sea Cooperation:
- protects and conserves the Wadden Sea as an ecological entity through common policies and management.
- monitors and assesses the quality of the Wadden Sea ecosystem in collaboration with national and regional authorities and scientific institutions as a basis for effective protection and management.
- cooperates internationally with other marine sites on protection, conservation and management.
- engages the public in the protection of the Wadden Sea through awareness-raising activities and environmental education.
- secures the sustainable development of the Wadden Sea with respect to its natural and cultural values.
In 2012 the Communication Strategy for the Trilateral Wadden Sea Cooperation has been developed with the participation of the Cooperation stakeholders. The Communication Guidelines can be downloaded here: English, German.
Wadden Sea Area
The geographical basis for the Cooperation is the Wadden Sea Area. It covers the tidal area, the barrier islands, and an offshore area and the main estuaries of the Ems, Weser and Elbe. The Wadden Sea Area comprises an area of 14, 950 km².
The Wadden Sea Conservation Area comprises the Dutch and Danish Wadden Sea Nature Reserves and the German Wadden Sea National Parks. The Conservation Area covers an area of 11,950 km². Impacts which may arise outside the Wadden Sea Area will be addressed as necessary.