CONVENTION ON BIOLOGICAL DIVERSITY. Biodiversity policy at a global level is guided by the UN Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), the most important international convention in the field of environment conservation. In October 2010, FACE attended the 10th Conference of the Parties of the CBD in Nagoya, Japan where a new Strategic Plan for Biodiversity for 2011-2020 was adopted – namely, the Aichi Targets which address the underlying causes of biodiversity loss. The Parties agreed to translate this overarching international framework into national biodiversity strategy and action plans within two years. The EU adopted its 2020 Biodiversity Strategy and FACE aligned its Biodiversity Manifesto accordingly.The CBD has 3 main objectives, notably for hunters the conservation of biological diversity and the sustainable use of the components of biological diversity. It has 193 Parties including the EU and its Member States, as well as other European countries, and has a driving impact on European environmental policies.
The Alpine Convention is a framework for the basic principles and general measures for the sustainable development of the Alpine region. Despite all Member States (Germany, France, Italy, Switzerland, Liechtenstein, Austria, Slovenia) and the EU agreeing on the various protocols, not all have been ratified. Each Member State is bound to implement the protocols it ratifies. The Alpine Conference is the political decision-making body of the Alpine Convention and consists of the Ministers of the Alpine States. FACE has been an observer to the Alpine Conference and the Permanent Committee since 2010. FACE has in the past been represented by the FACE Member Delegate Srečko Zerjav of the Slovenian Hunters’ Association (Lovska Zveza Slovenije). The Permanent Committee established the Large Carnivores and Wild Ungulates Platform (WISO) to promote international coordination and collaboration for related management and conservation issues. Initiated and coordinated by FACE Switzerland Delegate Dr. Marco Giacometti and supported by FACE, the group FaunAlp was created in order to represent FACE Alpine Members in the WISO Platform. FACE was represented at several meetings of the WISO Platform to discuss the management of large predators at population level with a focus on options for the management of alpine wolf populations – and with the ultimate objective of providing Ministers with practical conservation and management recommendations in 2014 as a basis for political decisions. FACE has been linking work under the WISO platform with our focus on large carnivores. Since 2012, FACE is also part of the Ecological Network Platform which was set up by ministers at the IX. Alpine Conference in 2006 as an expert forum to develop common strategies designed to contribute to the preservation of biodiversity in the Alps, mainly through the design and support of measures ensuring the connectivity between natural habitats. Within the frame of the ECONNECT project, supported by the Alpine Convention, FACE and FaunAlp contributed in identifying the most urgent research questions concerning an ecological continuum in the Alps.
The Convention on Wetlands (Ramsar, Iran, 1971) – called the “Ramsar Convention” – is an intergovernmental treaty that embodies the commitments of its member countries to maintain the ecological character of their Wetlands of International Importance and to plan for the “wise use”, or sustainable use, of all of the wetlands in their territories. Unlike the other global environmental conventions, Ramsar is not affiliated with the United Nations system of Multilateral Environmental Agreements, but it works very closely with the other MEAs and is a full partner among the “biodiversity-related cluster” of treaties and agreements. At the centre of the Ramsar philosophy is the wise use concept. The wise use of wetlands is defined as “the maintenance of their ecological character, achieved through the implementation of ecosystem approaches, within the context of sustainable development”. Wise use therefore has at its heart the conservation and sustainable use of wetlands and their resources, for the benefit of humankind – a principle that hunters strive for every day. The FACE Biodiversity Manifesto reflects the rigourous and active commitment made by FACE, its Members and the 7 million European hunters they represent to ensure that hunting is sustainable and contributes positively to biodiversity conservation. The FACE Biodiversity Manifesto explicitly actions that FACE and its Members will continue efforts at the local level to maintain and restore wetlands, as well as collating and communicating best practice examples of wetlands conservation. Hunters work hard, invest time and money in their endeavours to conserve wetlands at the local level and are constantly finding ways to work together with national and international stakeholders to recognise their multi-functional nature.
Adopted in 1950 and entering into force in 1953, the European Convention on Human Rights is the first Council of Europe’s convention and its ratification is a prerequisite for joining the Council of Europe. This international treaty, whose objective is to protect human rights and fundamental freedoms in Europe, has had a direct influence on hunting-relevant policies in a number of countries, in particular the relationship between landownership and hunting rights. In a number of cases the European Court of Human Rights has accepted that small landowners under certain circumstances have to tolerate compulsory pooling of their hunting grounds into larger hunting units, whereby a collective hunting right be created throughout the common area. Landowners whose property forms part of the hunting ground automatically become members of a ‘hunting cooperative’ where decisions on hunting are taken jointly by its members. The Court has confirmed that such an interference with private individuals rights under the convention – such as the property right and the negative freedom of association – can be justified and even necessary, provided that the objectives sought by the national legislator are in the general interest. The Court has held that preventing the unregulated exercise of hunting and of promoting the rational use of game stocks are in the general interest.