On 15-18 November, the Contracting Parties to the Bern Convention gathered in Strasbourg for the 36th annual meeting of its Standing Committee. Experts and NGO representatives joined national delegates to discuss the outcomes of the Convention activities held in 2016. These dealt in particular with issues such as illegal killing of birds, the fight against invasive alien species, the relation between biodiversity and climate change and the management of protected areas.
One of the highlights of the meeting was the decision by Ukraine and Belarus to join Switzerland amongst the countries which hold officially adopted Emerald sites on their territories. The total number of adopted Emerald sites reached 2644. The meeting concluded with the adoption of seven recommendations and one Code of Conduct on Recreational Boating and Invasive Alien Species. The Committee further decided to propose amendments to the Regulations for the European Diploma for Protected Areas. These are now going to reach the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe for an eventual official adoption.
Eventually, the Committee assessed complaints submitted by citizens and NGOs for presumed breaches of the Convention by Contracting Parties. The main cases debated were the construction of a motorway through the Kresna gorge in Bulgaria and the management of the Mavrovo National Park in “the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia”.
You can consult all the adopted Recommendations here.