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Bern Convention



Convention on the conservation of European wildlife and natural habitats

Decision 82/72/EEC — conclusion of the Convention on the conservation of European wildlife and natural habitats


  • The convention, adopted at Bern on 19 September 1979, aims to promote cooperation between the signatory countries in order to conserve wild flora and fauna and their natural habitats and to protect endangered migratory species.
  • The decision concludes the agreement on behalf of the European Economic Community (now the EU).


  • The EU is a contracting party to the convention on the conservation of European wildlife and natural habitats.
  • Wild flora and fauna constitute a natural heritage of great value that needs to be preserved and handed on to future generations. In addition to national protection programmes, the parties to the Convention consider that cooperation should be established at a European level.
  • The parties undertake to:
    • promote national policies for the conservation of wild flora, wild fauna and natural habitats;
    • integrate the conservation of wild flora and fauna into national planning, development and environmental policies;
    • promote education and disseminate information on the need to conserve species of wild flora and fauna and their habitats.
  • The parties agree to take appropriate legislative and administrative measures to protect the wild flora species specified in Appendix I (Strictly protected flora species). The convention prohibits the deliberate picking, collecting, cutting or uprooting of such plants.
  • Appropriate legislative and administrative measures must also be adopted to conserve the wild fauna species listed in Appendix II (Strictly protected fauna species). The following are prohibited:
    • all forms of deliberate capture and keeping, and deliberate killing;
    • the deliberate damage to or destruction of breeding or resting sites;
    • the deliberate disturbance of wild fauna, particularly during the period of breeding, rearing and hibernation;
    • the deliberate destruction or taking of eggs from the wild or keeping these eggs;
    • the possession of and internal trade in these animals, alive or dead, including stuffed animals, and any part or derivative of these animals.
  • Any exploitation of wild fauna specified in Appendix III (Protected fauna species) must be regulated in order to keep the populations out of danger (temporary or local prohibition of exploitation, regulation of transport or sale, etc.). The parties are prohibited from using indiscriminate means of capture and killing capable of causing the disappearance of, or serious disturbance to, the species.
  • The convention lists some exceptions to the above:
    • for the protection of flora and fauna;
    • to prevent serious damage to crops, livestock, forests, fisheries, water and other forms of property;
    • in the interests of public health and safety, air safety or other overriding public interests;
    • for the purposes of research and education, of repopulation, of reintroduction and for necessary breeding;
    • to permit, under strictly supervised conditions, the taking, keeping or other judicious exploitation of certain wild animals and plants in small numbers.
  • The contracting parties undertake to coordinate their efforts for the protection of the migratory species specified in Appendices II and III whose range extends into their territories.
  • A standing committee responsible for following the application of the convention is set up.


The Bern Convention entered into force on 6 June 1982.


For more information, see:


Convention on the conservation of European wildlife and natural habitats (OJ L 38, 10.2.1982, pp. 3-32)

Council Decision 82/72/EEC of 3 December 1981 concerning the conclusion of the Convention on the conservation of European wildlife and natural habitats (Bern Convention) (OJ L 38, 10.2.1982, pp. 1-2)


Council Decision 98/746/EC of 21 December 1998 concerning the approval, on behalf of the Community, of amendments to Appendices II and III to the Berne Convention on the conservation of European wildlife and natural habitats adopted at the 17th meeting of the Convention's Standing Committee (OJ L 358, 31.12.1998, p. 114)

last update 15.05.2020