The Bern Convention held its 43rd Standing Committee Meeting from 27 November – 1 December 2023, with Parties, observers, NGO representatives and experts gathering in Strasbourg to discuss the activities of the Convention that took place in 2022, as well as those planned for the coming year.
CIC Policy Coordinator, Alexandra Kalandarishvili, was present in Strasbourg to take part in the proceedings.
Past areas of collaboration between the CIC and the Bern Convention include work on the European Charter on Hunting and Biodiversity, with the CIC contributing to a Working Group that drafted the Charter prior to its adoption in 2007.
Particular topics explored during the Standing Committee Meeting were: the illegal killing of birds, conservation of amphibians, reptiles and lynx, as well as progress and business related to the Emerald Network of Areas of Special Conservation Interest and the European Diploma for Protected Areas.
Among the major decisions at the meeting was the adoption of the Bern Convention’s Strategic Plan to guide its progress towards 2030.
In adopting this plan, the Bern Convention has outlined its goals, indicators and targets up until the end of this decade, mirroring similar actions from the CBD through the Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework and the CIC with its 2030 Strategic Programme.
Built on the Vision for the Bern Convention (for the period to 2030), the Strategic Plan is made up of four major goals:
GOAL 1: The area, connectivity, integrity and resilience of natural and semi-natural ecosystems is increased, including through protected areas and other effective area based conservation measures covering at least 30% of the land and of the sea areas.
GOAL 2: The conservation status of threatened species is improved, the abundance of native species has increased, and human-induced extinctions have been halted.
GOAL 3: The contributions of wild flora and fauna and their natural habitats to a safe, clean, healthy and sustainable environment are valued, maintained and enhanced.
GOAL 4: Sufficient resources are available and are used efficiently to achieve all goals and targets in the Plan.
In addition, a Recommendation was adopted alongside the Strategic Plan to guide its implementation and a Working Group will be created next year to oversee its execution.
These goals – particularly their focus on sustainability and their recognition of the link between human, wildlife and wider ecosystem health – show parallels to the CIC 2030 Strategic Programme which is currently under development.
The details of the full Programme are due to be released next year, following its adoption at the 70th General Assembly in Cascais (18-21 April 2024).