To improve management of the area, it was agreed in 1991 to embark on a common monitoring programme (DEMOWAD). Building on the results of previous ministerial conferences and research reports, the LIFE project is to develop and test this integrated monitoring programme for the entire Wadden Sea parallel to the development of a management programme. DEMOWAD will not only take up physical, chemical and biological, but also socio-economic parameters. Innovative aspects are the cross-linking of existing monitoring systems and data in the three states involved and the development of a common data collection and processing methodology. The development of the programme will also look towards using DEMOWAD as an 'early warning system' in the future. At the next ministerial conference in 1997 a general evaluation of the monitoring programme will take place and based on this evaluation decisions on the procedures to follow will be taken.