Europe and Central Asia

Bern Convention


BirdLife Europe is working closely with the Convention on the Conservation of European Wildlife and Natural Habitats, better known as the Bern Convention. Created on 19 September 1979, the Convention has now been signed by all Member States of the Council of Europe - except San Marino and Russia - as well as by the European Union, Burkina Faso, Morocco, Tunisia and Senegal.

The Bern Convention was the first international instrument aiming to ensure conservation and protection of wild plant and animal species and their natural habitats, to increase cooperation between contracting parties and to regulate the exploitation of those species (including migratory species). Key provisions of the Convention include establishment of protected areas, protection of breeding and resting sites and regulation of disturbance, capture, killing and trade of wild species.

To implement the Convention in the European Union, the European Community adopted the Birds Directive in 1979, and the Habitats Directive in 1992. With the political support of the Council of Europe, the Bern Convention developed the Pan-European Ecological Network, represented by the European Union's Natura 2000 Network and the Emerald network of Areas of Special Conservation Interest (ASCIs) established in the countries that are not EU members.

The Bern Convention implementation is monitored by a number of tools including reports and the case-file systems, fully accessible to parties and observers like BirdLife. The Standing Committee monitors the implementation of the Convention at each meeting by reviewing reports, processing case-files and adopting recommendations, BirdLife provides input to that.

Protecting migratory species is a high priority and is managed by tackling issues like power lines, wind farms, poisoning and other types of illegal bird killing.

The Bern Convention has been crucial for the protection of the White-headed Duck by commissioning and promoting the action plan for eradication of the Ruddy Duck, which is invasive alien species threatening the reproduction of the White-headed Duck.

The Bern Convention is also important for BirdLife to adopt and promote International species action plans on European threatened or near threatened species.

The Emerald network is of great importance to the protection of Important Birds Areas by designating them as key biodiversity areas for protection and to follow up case files on projects or actions threatening biodiversity.

Stichting BirdLife Europe gratefully acknowledges financial support from the European Commission. All content and opinions expressed on these pages are solely those of Stichting BirdLife Europe.


Stichting BirdLife Europe gratefully acknowledges financial support from the European Commission. All content and opinions expressed on the ECA section of this website are solely those of Stichting BirdLife Europe.