The Convention on the Protection of European Wildlife and Natural Habitats


Jump to: navigation, search

Convention Name

The Convention on the Protection of European Wildlife and Natural Habitats (the Bern Convention)


The Convention was adopted in Bern, Switzerland in 1979, and came into force in 1982. The principal aims of the Convention are:
  1. To ensure conservation and protection of wild plant and animal species and their natural habitats, t
  2. To increase cooperation between contracting parties, and
  3. To regulate the exploitation of those species (including migratory species).

To this end the Convention imposes legal obligations on contracting parties, protecting over 500 wild plant species and more than 1000 wild animal species.

To implement the Bern Convention in Europe, the European Community adopted Council Directive 79/409/EEC on the Conservation of Wild Birds (the EC Birds Directive) in 1979, and Council Directive 92/43/EEC on the Conservation of Natural Habitats and of Wild Fauna and Flora (the EC Habitats Directive) in 1992. Among other things the Directives provide for the establishment of a European network of protected areas (Natura 2000), to tackle the continuing losses of European biodiversity on land, at the coast and in the sea to human activities.

The United Kingdom ratified the Bern Convention in 1982. The Convention was implemented in UK law by the Wildlife and Countryside Act (1981 and as amended). As the inspiration for the EC Birds and Habitats Directives, the Convention had an influence on the Conservation (Natural Habitats &c.) Regulations (1994), and the Conservation (Natural Habitats, etc.) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 1995, which were introduced to implement those parts of the Habitats Directive not already covered in national legislation.

Thus far, the Convention has been signed by 39 member states of the Council of Europe, together with the European Union, Monaco, Burkina Faso, Morocco, Tunisia and Senegal. Algeria, Belarus, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Cape Verde, the Holy See, San Marino and Russia are among non-signatories that have observer status at meetings of the committee.


See Also

Water-related Legislation and Conventions

Rhine Convention

Status and importance of water-relevant international legal instruments for the 5 Central Asian countries

External Resources

5218 Rating: 3.0/5 (23 votes cast)