12 February 2019 – Ahead of crucial debates on the financing of the Bern Convention, European NGOs have addressed a letter to the Secretary General of the Council of Europe urging it to ensure the financing and proper functioning of the Bern Convention – the Convention on the Conservation of European Wildlife and Natural Habitats.
Facing difficult financial times, the Council of Europe is considering budgetary cuts that inevitably would reduce the Bern Convention’s operations.In their letter, the NGOs reiterate that the Treaty directly benefits Europe’s nature and protected species and are asking decision makers to continue to financially support the Convention.
The Bern Convention aims to ensure conservation of wild flora and fauna and their habitats, affording urgently needed protection to Europe’s’ most threatened species and habitats. Encompassing all countries in the European continent, extending to the Mediterranean region, and including both members and non-members of the European Union, theBern Convention forms the foremost binding international legal instrument in the field of Nature Conservation in the European region.
On the occasion of the 40th anniversary of the adoption of the Bern Convention, the NGOs call on the Council of Europe and the member countries not to cut down on environment spending and to maintain the Convention’s budget, and especially its compliance system.
The environmental organisations especially emphasise the value of the Convention’s “Case File system”, an open and democratic compliance mechanism that is unparalleled among international treaties. Through this valuable instrument, thepublic and civil society can raise attention topossible breaches of the Convention, and bring environmental problems in their countries to the international level for discussion. The Convention’s member states can then decide to monitor the issue and adopt Recommendations tourge governments to accelerate conservation efforts. In their letter, the NGOs showcase examples where the system has achieved to substantial and tangible improvements.
At a time when numerous achievements have been accomplished, but countless environmental problems still remain, the Bern Convention is an essential tool to preserve Europe’s wildlife and natural heritage for the next generations.It is therefore paramount that the necessary financial means remain at the Convention’s disposal.