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Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Emerald network

The Emerald network is an ecological network to conserve wild flora and fauna and their natural habitats of Europe, which was launched in 1998 by the Council of Europe as part of its work under the Convention on the Conservation of European Wildlife and Natural Habitats or Bern Convention that came into force on June 1, 1982. It is to be set up in each Contracting Party or observer state to the Convention.

The Bern Convention is signed by the 46 member states of the Council of Europe, together with the European Union, Monaco, Burkina Faso, Morocco, Tunisia and Senegal. Algeria, Belarus, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Cape Verde, Vatican City, San Marino and Russia are among non-signatories that have observer status at meetings of the committee.

The European Union, as such, is also a Contracting Party to the Bern Convention. In order to fulfil its obligations arising from the Convention, particularly in respect of habitat protection, it produced the Habitats Directive in 1992, and subsequently set up the Natura 2000 network. The Emerald Network is based on the same principles as Natura 2000, and represents its de facto extension to non-EU countries.

The Emerald Network in Africa

In those African countries that are, or have been invited to become, Contracting Parties, the Bern Convention aims to curb the falling numbers and shrinking distributions of migratory species of European importance, and to press for concerted action to protect the genetic diversity of these species and their habitats and combat illegal hunting and trade. In this way, the Bern Convention aims to preserve species of great importance for the biological diversity of both Europe and the countries in question.

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