Commission internationale
pour la protection des eaux du Léman



CIPEL’s Missions

CIPEL organises the studies required to determine the nature, extent and source of any pollution that has occurred, has these studies performed and uses their findings.
The Commission advises the contracting Governments about the measures required to correct any existing pollution and to prevent future pollution.
It may draw up texts for inclusion in international regulation of the cleanliness of the water of Lake Geneva.
It also investigates any other questions related to water pollution.

CIPEL’s Objectives

Maintaining or restoring an ecologically-acceptable quality of the water and the aquatic environment as a whole (physical characteristics, state of the banks, the Lake bottom …) notably to permit:

  • the use of the Lake water for drinking water after simple processing;
  • the practice of leisure activities (fishing, swimming, other aquatic activities, …) under optimum conditions;
  • the predominance of noble fish (Arctic charr, corregones (whitefish) or féra, trout, …) is ensured by natural reproduction.


To simplify, we can distinguish three tiers:
The first tier consists of roughly equal numbers of Swiss and French elected politicians and senior civil servants. These members act as an Administrative Board, which meets once a year in plenary session.
A Technical Sub-commission constitutes the second tier : this comprises scientists and experts, and consists of an Operational Committee and a Scientific Committee. The former supervises the proper implementation of the action plans, and the latter coordinates studies and research programmes concerning the water of the Lake Geneva catchment area and monitors the scientific aspects. The Technical sub-commission calls on specific working groups to explore the various different aspects of water protection. The Operating Committee, the Scientific Committee and the working groups include a total of about de 140 people, most of who are drawn from Swiss and French state bodies. Finally, a permanent secretariat permanent based at Changins near to Nyon, forms the third tier. This secretariat is responsible for coordinating the studies and carrying out the administrative, financial, technical and scientific administration.
Since 1971, the monitoring of the aquatic environment, the research and other investigations undertaken by CIPEL, and its running costs have been organised into five-year programmes, 75% of the funding for which comes from Switzerland and 25% from France.