Culture, Heritage and Diversity

Convention on the conservation of European wildlife and natural habitats

The Bern Convention is a binding international legal instrument in the field of nature conservation, which covers most of the natural heritage of the European continent and extends to some States of Africa. Its aims are to conserve wild flora and fauna and their natural habitats and to promote European co-operation in that field.

The Convention places a particular importance on the need to protect endangered natural habitats and endangered vulnerable species, including migratory species.

All countries that have signed the Bern Convention must take action to:

  • promote national policies for the conservation of wild flora and fauna, and their natural habitats;
  • have regard to the conservation of wild flora and fauna in their planning and development policies, and in their measures against pollution;
  • promote education and disseminate general information on the need to conserve species of wild flora and fauna and their habitats;
  • encourage and co-ordinate research related to the purposes of this Convention.
and also co-operate to enhance the effectiveness of these measures through:
  • co-ordination of efforts to protect migratory species;
  • and the exchange of information and the sharing of experience and expertise.

Monitoring the implementation of the Convention
The Bern Convention benefits from a number of tools that contribute to the regular monitoring of the implementation of the Convention. This monitoring system includes reports and the case-file system, fully accessible to Parties and observers alike. The Standing Committee monitors the implementation of the Convention at each meeting by reviewing reports, processing case-files and adopting recommendations.
List of decisions and texts adopted at the 34th meeting of the Standing Committee

Reporting system
The following types of reports under the Bern Convention contribute to monitor the implementation of the Convention and assess its effectiveness:
  • Compulsory biannual reports submitted by Parties on the use of the exceptions that are allowed under Article 9 of the Convention - Updated Model Form for Biennal Reports
  • Voluntary general reports submitted by Parties on the national implementation of the Convention (every four years)
  • Legal reports analysing the implementation of the Convention in one country (one country per year), commissioned by the Secretariat
  • National reports submitted to and discussed by the Groups of Experts regarding their target species or habitats
  • Reports submitted by Parties and observers on the follow-up of Recommendations (a selection of recommendations is monitored each year by the Standing Committee)

Groups of Experts
Groups of Experts also monitor the implementation of Standing Committee recommendations concerning the species or habitats they cover (e.g. Amphibian and reptiles, plants, birds, etc.). At their meetings, every two or three years, Groups of Experts set under the Convention address specific conservation problems and propose recommendations to the Standing Committee.

For more information on the Groups of experts, click here.

The case-files system
In its 25 years of existence, the case-file system of the Bern Convention has proven to be an excellent tool to achieve the aims of the Bern Convention through international co-operation. The purpose of the "files" is to find a satisfactory solution to problems encountered in implementing the Convention and to monitor as effectively as possible the means chosen to resolve them. The system is based in complaints for possible breaches of the Convention that are processed by the Secretariat, the Bureau and the Standing Committee according to their merits and on the basis of the information submitted. When the Standing Committee or its Bureau considers that further information is needed, they can arrange for on-the-spot visits by independent experts, who report to the Standing Committee.

Many case-files are at the origin of Recommendations adopted by the Standing Committee and addressed to a particular country or group of countries to redress a problem with the application of the Convention concerning the protection of a wild species or natural habitat under threat.

On-line complaint form

Admissibility of complaints related to species listed in Appendix III : the badger (meles meles) as a model - Guidance for complainants - T-PVS/Files(2014)38E

Register of Bern Convention Case-Files - T-PVS/Inf(2014)02E

Implementation of the Bern Convention - T-PVS(93)22E

Opening and closing of files

Opening and closing of files - T-PVS(95)12E

Follow-up to recommendations

Description of the «Specific sites» case-file system - T-PVS(2000)35E

Reminder on the processing of complaints - T-PVS(2008)07E

Rules of procedure: Standing Committee, on-the-spot enquiries, mediation - T-PVS/Inf(2013)06E

Calendar of meetings 2015

50th Anniversary of the European Diploma For Protected Areas - 13 March 2015 - Strasbourg (France)
34th meeting of the Standing Committee to the Bern Convention - Press release
The Desertas Nature Reserve (Portugal) was awarded the European Diploma of Protected Areas - Press release
Progress towards the achievement of Aichi target 12

Select Group on Illegal Killing of Birds - 24 - 25 February 2015 - Madrid (Spain)

Group of Specialists on the European Diploma - 13 March 2015, Strasbourg (France)

Joint EU/CoE Projects

Useful links
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