The Bern Convention celebrates its 40th anniversary

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Today, the Bern Convention turns 40 years old. To celebrate this remarkable date, a new campaign was launched to highlight the most inspiring results of 4 decades working for the preservation of nature.

Healthy nature for healthy Europeans

The Bern Convention, first signed on 19th September 1979, was the first international treaty to protect both species and habitats. Today, it celebrates its 40th anniversary with a slogan “Healthy nature for healthy Europeans” and a big awareness campaign.

The initiative reviews the achievements of the Convention through 40 inspiring stories which highlight the essential value this treaty brings for the conservation of our natural heritage.

40 inspiring stories of nature conservation

From helping save the few remaining leopards in the Caucasus to fighting invasive alien species or actively involving citizens in the protection of the environment, the actions of the convention have been turned into engaging stories that are available through the interactive website This initiative highlights the wide reach and long-term objectives of the convention, which has 51 Contracting Parties in 2019.

The campaign encompasses four main pillars of action:

  • Protecting biodiversity to maintain the delicate balance between the species in our ecosystems. This is exemplified by results such as the Plan for the Conservation and Recovery of the Osprey, which is helping to bring back this bird to the skies of Southern Europe.
  • Tackling environmental challenges such as climate change, invasive species and harmful human activities. The Convention contributes to this ambitious mission with initiatives like Not Alone, a campaign to raise awareness about the key role of biodiversity in counteracting climate change.
  • Raising public awareness and actively involving citizens in the protection of our natural heritage. An example of this is the complaint system of the Convention that allows every citizen to raise their voice and report harmful actions against the environment. Since the implementation of this system in 1984, nearly 200 signals and complaints have been processed.
  • Preserving our natural habitats and their vital role in hosting numerous species of animals and plants. As a remarkable example, the Emerald Network is an ecological network put forward by the Convention that includes over 3200 areas of special conservation interest in fifteen countries.