Monitoring set up under the Bern Convention
The strength of the Convention resides in the commitment of the Parties towards its implementation, as well as in the possibility for NGOs and the scientific community to contribute to its monitoring.
The monitoring mechanism set up under the Convention is composed of a wide range of tools fully accessible to Parties, observers, and private citizens. Among these tools, the most important are the Reports from parties, and the case file system.
The case-file system, dating back to 1984, is a unique monitoring tool based on complaints for possible breaches of the Convention that can be submitted by NGOs or even private citizens. The complaints so received are processed by the Secretariat, the Bureau and, when particularly relevant, also by 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.
The case-file system is also unusual as it is not based on any provisions within the Convention, but stems from a decision taken by the Standing Committee itself and has proven to be a very successful problem solving instrument.
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(2020)02E
Rules of procedure: Standing Committee, on-the-spot enquiries, mediation - T-PVS/Inf(2013)06E
Reminder on the processing of complaints - T-PVS(2008)07E
There are different types of reporting under the Bern Convention, even though only one of them is compulsory under the terms of the convention. This is the system of the “biennial reports”, which all Parties making exceptions to the provisions of the Convention, in compliance with the strict terms and conditions spelt out in Article 9 must submit to the Secretariat every two years. These reports must contain a scientific assessment of the impact of such exceptions to the general obligation to protect the species and habitats covered by the Convention. The biennial reports are presented each year to the Standing Committee for examination.
In addition, parties are invited to submit “general reports” on the national implementation of the Convention every four years, on a voluntary basis.
Besides, the Groups of Experts set under the Convention also monitor the implementation of both the Treaty and the Recommendations adopted by the Standing Committee. These concern the conservation status of species or habitats, or specific conservation challenges.
Finally, the Standing Committee may review the implementation of the Convention in a contracting party by analysing legal and policy reports prepared by independent experts.