The Convention on the Conservation of European Wildlife and Natural Habitats, or Bern Convention, is an international agreement of the Council of Europe designed to protect European wild fauna and flora. It was adopted in 1979.
As of May 2013, 51 states, including the EU, had acceded to the Convention. Its signatories also include four African countries (Burkina Faso, Morocco, Senegal and Tunisia) as European bird species also spend winters in their territories. Germany has been Party to the Convention since 1985.
The Bern Convention imposes restrictions on taking protected fauna and flora from the wild and on exploitation. Under the Convention, the signatories also commit to protecting natural habitats.
The Convention has three Appendices listing different species:
- Appendix I contains approximately 700 strictly protected flora species that may not be harmed or removed from the wild.
- Appendix II covers approximately 710 strictly protected fauna species for which strict conservation provisions apply. It is prohibited to capture, kill, disturb or trade these species.
- Appendix III lists protected fauna species. These species require protection, but may, under certain circumstances, be hunted and exploited.