Berne Convention on the Conservation of European Wildlife and Natural Habitats
|Signed||19 September 1979|
|Effective||1 June 1982|
|Depositary||Council of Europe|
|Language||English, French, Italian, Russian and German|
The Bern Convention on the Conservation of European Wildlife and Natural Habitats, also known as the Bern Convention (or Berne Convention), is a binding international legal instrument in the field of Nature Conservation, it covers the natural heritage in Europe, as well as in some African countries. The Convention was open for signature on 19 September 1979 and came into force on 1 June 1982. It is particularly concerned about protecting natural habitats and endangered species, including migratory species.
Aims and objectives
The convention has three main aims, which are stated in Article 1:
- to conserve wild flora and fauna and their natural habitats
- to promote cooperation between states
- to give particular attention to endangered and vulnerable species including endangered and vulnerable migratory species
The convention is divided into:
- Because this convention has a special nature, which is to include the maximum number of signatures possible, it included the eventual signing by non-members of the Council of Europe: "the member States of the Council of Europe and the other signatories hereto, Considering that the aim of the Council of Europe is to achieve a greater unity between its members,...”
- Chapter I – General provisions
- This chapter contains three articles, where it is stated the three aims of the Convention and general obligations of the Contracting Parties.
- Chapter II – Protection of habitats
- Here are set out the obligations of the Contracting Parties concerning the conservation of the habitats.
- Chapter III – Protection of species
- This chapter contains the obligations of the Contracting Parties regarding the Appendices I, II, III and IV and the exceptions of these obligations.
- Chapter IV – Special provisions for migratory species
- This chapter contains the obligations of the Contracting Parties regarding migratory species.
- Chapter V – Supplementary provisions
- This chapter contains supplementary obligations of the Contracting Parties, concerning co-operation, research, reintroduction and introduction of species.
- Chapter VI – Standing Committee
- This chapter settles the functioning procedure of the Standing Committee and their tasks.
- Chapter VII – Amendments
- This chapter contains the procedure of amendments regarding articles and Appendices of the Convention.
- Chapter VIII – Settlement of disputes
- This chapter contains the procedure of the arbitration of any disputes that could arise between Contracting Parties.
- Chapter IX – Final provisions
- This chapter contains the final arrangements of the Convention.
- Four appendices set out particular species for protection. They are regularly updated by the Standing Committee, who are advised by a number of Expert Groups:
- Appendix I – Strictly protected flora species
- Appendix II – Strictly protected fauna species
- Appendix III – Protected fauna species
- Appendix IV – Prohibited means and methods of killing, capture and other exploitation
Member States of the Council of Europe, status as of April 28, 2018
|State||Signature||Ratification||Entry into force|
|Albania||31 October 1995||13 January 1999||1 May 1999|
|Andorra||11 May 2000||13 October 2000||1 February 2001|
|Armenia||13 March 2006||14 April 2008||1 August 2008|
|Austria||19 September 1979||2 May 1983||1 September 1983|
|Azerbaijan||28 March 2000 a||1 July 2000|
|Belgium||19 September 1979||24 August 1990||1 December 1990|
|Bosnia and Herzegovina||17 November 2008||17 November 2008||1 March 2009|
|Bulgaria||31 January 1991 a||1 May 1991|
|Croatia||3 November 1999||3 July 2000||1 November 2000|
|Cyprus||21 October 1981||16 May 1988||1 September 1988|
|Czech Republic||8 October 1997||25 February 1998||1 June 1998|
|Denmark||19 September 1979||8 September 1982||1 January 1983|
|Estonia||3 August 1992 a||1 December 1992|
|Finland||19 September 1979||9 December 1985||1 April 1986|
|France||19 September 1979||26 April 1990||1 August 1990|
|Georgia||18 May 2009||19 November 2009||1 March 2010|
|Germany||19 September 1979||13 December 1984||1 April 1985|
|Greece||19 September 1979||13 June 1983||1 October 1983|
|Hungary||16 November 1989 a||1 March 1990|
|Iceland||17 June 1993||17 June 1993||1 October 1993|
|Ireland||19 September 1979||23 April 1982||1 August 1982|
|Italy||19 September 1979||11 February 1982||1 June 1982|
|Latvia||23 January 1997||23 January 1997||1 May 1997|
|Liechtenstein||19 September 1979||30 October 1980||1 June 1982|
|Lithuania||28 September 1994||5 September 1996||1 January 1997|
|Luxembourg||19 September 1979||23 March 1982||1 July 1982|
|Malta||26 November 1993||26 November 1993||1 March 1994|
|Moldova||24 May 1994 a||1 September 1994|
|Monaco||7 February 1994 a||1 June 1994|
|Montenegro||3 March 2009||1 October 2009||1 February 2010|
|Netherlands||19 September 1979||28 October 1980||1 June 1982|
|Norway||19 September 1979||27 May 1986||1 September 1986|
|Poland||24 March 1995||13 September 1995||1 January 1996|
|Portugal||19 September 1979||3 February 1982||1 June 1982|
|Romania||18 May 1993 a||1 September 1993|
|Serbia||9 January 2008||9 January 2008||1 May 2008|
|Slovakia||28 April 1994||23 September 1996||1 January 1997|
|Slovenia||20 October 1998||29 September 1999||1 January 2000|
|Spain||19 September 1979||27 May 1986||1 September 1986|
|Sweden||19 September 1979||14 June 1983||1 October 1983|
|Switzerland||19 September 1979||12 March 1981||1 June 1982|
|Republic of Macedonia||17 December 1998||17 December 1998||1 April 1999|
|Turkey||19 September 1979||2 May 1984||1 September 1984|
|Ukraine||17 August 1998||5 January 1999||1 May 1999|
|United Kingdom||19 September 1979||28 May 1982||1 September 1982|
States not members of the Council of Europe
|State||Signature||Ratification||Entry into force|
|Belarus||19 February 2013 a||1 June 2013|
|Burkina Faso||14 June 1990 a||1 October 1990|
|Morocco||25 April 2001 a||1 August 2001|
|Senegal||13 April 1987 a||1 August 1987|
|Tunisia||12 January 1996 a||1 May 1996|
|Organisations||Signature||Ratification||Entry into force|
|European Union||19 September 1979||7 May 1982||1 September 1982|
The convention led to the creation in 1998 of the Emerald network of Areas of Special Conservation Interest (ASCIs) throughout the territory of the parties to the convention, which operates alongside the European Union's Natura 2000 programme.
Duties of contracting parties
All countries that have signed the convention must:
- promote national conservation policies
- promote measures against pollution
- promote educational and informative measures
- co-ordinate efforts to protect migratory species
- establish legislative and administrative measures
Monitoring the implementation of the convention
To achieve successfully the aims of this Convention, a number of monitoring devices were implemented.
- Compulsory biannual reports
- Voluntary general reports (every four years)
- Legal reports (one country per year)
- National reports
- Follow-up of recommendations
Groups of experts
The chosen experts are in charge of monitoring the implementation of the Standing Committee recommendation regarding species and habitats, as well as doing their own recommendations about specific conservation problems.
The system is based in complaints for possible non-compliance or other problems related with the provisions of the Convention. These complaints are processed by the Secretariat, the Bureau and the Standing Committee and when they feel there is the need for further information, on-the-spot visits by independent experts can be arranged.
- Biogeographic regions of Europe
- Environmental agreements
- International Union for Conservation of Nature
- Red Data Book of the Russian Federation
- List of Council of Europe treaties
- Council of Europe, 1979. Convention on the Conservation of European Wildlife and Natural Heritage. Bern, Switzerland. Available at: http://conventions.coe.int/Treaty/EN/Treaties/Html/104.htm
- Treaty Office (Reference ETS number 104), permalink on https://www.coe.int/en/web/conventions/full-list/-/conventions/treaty/104/signatures/
- "Bern". jncc.defra.gov.uk.
- Council of Europe. Nature Convention on the conservation of European wildlife and natural habitats. Available at: http://www.coe.int/t/dg4/cultureheritage/nature/bern/default_en.asp
- Council of Europe. Nature Convention on the conservation of European wildlife and natural habitats. Available at:http://www.coe.int/t/dg4/cultureheritage/nature/bern/default_en.asp