The Common Wadden Sea Secretariat (CWSS) supports, facilitates and coordinates the Trilateral Wadden Sea Cooperation (TWSC). Located in Wilhelmshaven, the Secretariat was founded in 1987 by the Wadden Sea states Denmark, Germany, and the Netherlands.
- coordinates, promotes and supports activities of the Cooperation;
- is responsible for the preparation and production of documents for ministerial conferences, meetings of the Wadden Sea Board (WSB) and trilateral work groups;
- collects and evaluates information on monitoring, protection and the ecological condition of the entire Wadden Sea;
- is the central contact for the UNESCO Wadden Sea World Heritage;
- produces and publishes reports by the Cooperation;
- involves the public in the protection of the entire Wadden Sea area through communications, awareness building and environmental education.
Additionally, CWSS is the secretariat of the Wadden Sea Seals Agreement, the first regional Agreement to be concluded under the auspices of the Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals (CMS). Since the inscription of the Wadden Sea on the UNESCO World Heritage List, the Secretariat moreover deals with the implementation of the obligations derived from the UNESCO World Heritage Convention.
The legal status and the functions of and regulations governing CWSS are stipulated in the Administrative Agreement concluded between the Danish, Dutch and German Ministries responsible for the Wadden Sea. Each Ministry finances a third of its budget. The working language of the Trilateral Cooperation and the CWSS is English.