Bern Convention Standing Committee 2012

The 32nd annual meeting of the Standing Committee to the Convention on the Conservation of European Wildlife and Natural Habitats (Bern Convention) took place 27-30 November in Strasbourg, France.

Participants were environment officials representing Contracting Parties as well as delegates from some twenty stakeholders’ organisations, including FACE. The very busy agenda contained a number of hunting-relevant issues:


The Group of Experts on Large Carnivores, where FACE is represented, had prepared two recommendations which were adopted by the Standing Committee with some amendments. The first, Recommendation No. 162 (2012) requests that certain specifically listed conservation actions be undertaken by range States.

The second, Recommendation No. 163 (2012), requests Parties to prepare themselves properly for the return and expansion of the wolf and other large carnivores, in particular in view of human socio-cultural, and economic needs. An amendment from the EU was inserted into the text, recognising that “game resources” constitute an area of conflict associated with large carnivores.


Following a failed attempt to obtain downlisting for its wolf population, the Swiss Government had requested an amendment to article 22 of the Convention so as to enable any State to enter reservations at any time, after having signed or ratified the Convention regarding certain species specified in Appendices I to III, provided that

the circumstances have radically changed in its territory since the entry into force of [the] Convention”. Currently reservations can only be made at the time of signing / ratification of the Convention – not afterwards. A majority of Parties rejected the Swiss request, holding that it would open up for any Party to make reservations at any time.


As part of the initiative against the illegal taking and trading of birds in Europe, in which FACE has been actively involved through the Larnaca Conference, Parties were encouraged to give good feedback to two questionnaires on illegal killing of birds and bird protection and power lines. A second European Conference on Illegal Killing of Birds will be organised at the end of May 2013 to which FACE has been invited to participate.


A number of reports, from Albania, Azerbaijan, the European Commission, France, Georgia and Monaco indicate that hunting is regulated by law almost everywhere and, in general terms, practiced in respect of the principles of the European Charter on Hunting and Biodiversity. In relation to the report from Albania, FACE raised some concerns over unsustainable hunting tourism practices, and urged the Minister to consider amongst other aspects applying a proposal for a 4-year moratorium on hunting tourism, in order to use these four years to create adequate structures to regulate hunting tourism in Albania and render it sustainable.


The Bern Convention continues its complementary work to that of the EU on invasive alien species and focuses on the voluntary approach, for example working closely with FACE to develop codes of conduct in relation to hunting.

Reports were given by States on their contributions to the eradication of the ruddy duck (Oxyura jamaicensis) in the Western Palaearctic. The Secretariat concluded that the multinational eradication programme under the Bern Convention is unprecedented and has so far been successful. The same success could not be reported for the eradication of the American grey squirrel (Sciurus carolinensis) in Italy. The Italian Ministry described how “animal welfare organisations” have deliberately obstructed the eradication process in Italy and thereby ignoring the nature benefits of those measures.

All lists of decisions and adopted texts can be found via the following link:

The next meeting of the Standing Committee is scheduled for 26-29 November 2013, in Strasbourg.

For more details on any of the points on the agenda, please contact Johan,