The Convention on the Conservation of European Wildlife and Natural Habitats (‘Bern Convention’) is the first international treaty to protect both species and habitats and to bring countries together to decide how to act on nature conservation. It is the key-stone treaty for protection of biodiversity within the Council of Europe (CoE) framework. The CoE is not to be confused with the 27-nation European Union (EU). Founded in 1949, it is a distinct international organisation whose stated aim is to uphold human rights, democracy and the rule of law in Europe.
The Bern Convention is signed by 50 countries and the EU, who committed to promoting national conservation policies, considering the impact of planning and development on the natural environment, promoting education and information on conservation, and coordinating research.
In order for the Convention to reach its objectives and to be implemented by its members, policy support is required. This entails the production of analytical reports, monitoring of case files and European Diploma sites (nature areas of outstanding beauty and management), advice in preparing strategies, recommendations on specific issues, or support for awareness raising and communication.
For this purpose the CoE works with Service providers on a temporary basis. Following a call for tenders in 2017, I was selected as one of ten such service providers across Europe to provide research-based advice to the Bern Convention.