The Convention on the Conservation of European Wildlife and Natural Habitats (the Bern Convention) was adopted in Bern, Switzerland in 1979, and came into force in 1982. It is a binding international legal instrument for nature conservation that covers the natural heritage of the European continent and some African states.
The principal aims of the Convention are to ensure conservation and protection of wild plant and animal species and their natural habitats (listed in Appendices I and II of the Convention), to increase co-operation between contracting parties, and to regulate the exploitation of migratory species listed in Appendix III. To this end the Convention imposes legal obligations on contracting parties, protecting over 500 wild plant species and more than 1,000 wild animal species.
Implementation in the UK
The UK Government ratified the Bern Convention in 1982. The obligations of the Convention are transposed into UK law by means of the Wildlife and Countryside Act (1981 as amended), Nature Conservation (Scotland) Act 2004 (as amended), Wildlife (Northern Ireland) Order 1985, and the Nature Conservation and Amenity Lands (Northern Ireland) Order 1985.
JNCC provides scientific and technical advice to the Government on the interpretation, application and implementation of the Convention.