German Federal Agency for Nature Conservation (BfN)


Convention on the Conservation of European Wildlife and Natural Habitats (Bern Convention) (1979)

Logo Bern Convention

Convention on the Conservation of European Wildlife and Natural Habitats


Contracting parties:

50, among them 45 of the 47 members of the Council of Europe, 4 African states as well as Belarus (as of January 2012); Germany has been a party since 1985.


This first European nature conservation convention aims to conserve wild flora and fauna and their natural habitats, and to promote cooperation between European states in the field of nature conservation. Particular emphasis is to be given to endangered and vulnerable species and habitats, and to the Europe-wide linking of such habitats in a network - the Emerald Network - to which the EU member states contribute through the Natura 2000 network.


The convention regulates species protection by imposing restrictions on taking and use, and by establishing a commitment to conserve habitats. Endangered species are listed in Appendices. Appendix I concerns strictly protected flora species, which must not be damaged or taken in the wild. Appendix II concerns strictly protected fauna species, which must not be disturbed, caught, killed or traded. Appendix III concerns protected fauna species, which can, however, be caught or exploited with restrictions. Finally, Appendix IV concerns prohibited means and methods of capture, killing and other forms of exploitation of Appendix III species (e.g. limes, killing by poison or explosives). Some prohibitions relate to certain hunting methods and facilities.

In addition to the Standing Committee, which is the decision-making body, a range of expert groups is involved in shaping the convention. Representatives from the state parties, the EU and several countries with observer status attend the annual meetings of the Standing Committee. The Council of Europe hosts the convention's secretariat.


Council of Europe
Avenue de l'Europe
67075 Strasbourg Cedex
Tel. +33 3 88 41 20 00

BfN activities:

Provision of support and advice to the German Environment Ministry (BMU), especially in support of compliance with the commitments arising from the convention.

Further Information

Website of the Bern Convention

BMU: Bern Convention

Council of Europe: 
Bern Convention

European Commission:
Bern Convention

Council of Europe:
Text of the Bern Convention

Last Change: 09/04/2018