With the threat of climate change and an ever-growing awareness of the link between human beings and nature, this 1979 Bern Convention on the Conservation of European Wildlife and Natural Habitats continues to play an essential role as the European contribution to the sustainable development of life on our planet.
Signed by over fifty countries, its aim is to champion bio-diversity and fight the destruction of nature and the extinction of species. It creates easier links between education and research facilities in different countries and has helped to streamline laws to make them efficient throughout the continent. The Convention adapts to a changing world, with regular updates of which animals need special attention, focusing on key problems such as invasive species, the second biggest cause of extinction after the loss of habitat. It has stopped cruel practices such as the hunting and killing of millions of songbirds. Its Emerald Network brings together sites of natural beauty in sixteen countries, covering a total of 600,000 sq. km, an area the size of France.