Emerald Ecological network

Council of Europe Convention on the Conservation of European Wild Flora and Fauna and Natural Habitats, known as the Berne Convention https://www.coe.int/en/web/bern-convention is a binding international legal instrument in the field of nature conservation. It pertains to the entire natural heritage of the European continent and extends even to some African states such as Burkina Faso, Morocco, Tunisia and Senegal. In addition to the conservation of wild plant and animal species and their natural habitats, the Berne Convention also aims to enhance European cooperation in this field. The Convention was adopted in Berne (Switzerland) in 1979, entered into force in 1982, and was ratified by Serbia in 2007. - Law on Ratification of the Convention on the Conservation of European Wild Flora and Fauna and Natural Habitats .

Lists of the strictly protected species of flora (Appendix I) and fauna (Appendix II) and the List of protected species of fauna (Appendix III), which require legislative and administrative measures to ensure the conservation of these species habitats, are an integral part of the Berne Convention. In addition, the use of certain agents and methods of killing, capturing and other forms of exploitation of mammals, birds and freshwater fish is prohibited (Appendix IV).

The idea of the Council of Europe on the establishment of a European ecological network for the conservation of the species listed in the Annexes of the Convention was adopted in 1989 and launched in 1996 through the Emerald Program and the establishment of an Emerald Ecological Network in the territory of all signatories and states observing the Convention. This network consists of Areas of Special Conservation Interest (ASCIs).

The Emerald Network is based on the same principles as the Natura 2000 Network and is formally seen as a preparation stage in the implementation of the Council Directive 92/43/EEC on the conservation of natural habitats and of wild fauna and flora, the Habitats Directive, within the process of European integrations. In order to ensure maximum consistency between the two processes, lists of species of plants and animals listed in the Appendices of the Convention have been harmonized with the lists of species in the Annexes to the Habitats Directive and the Birds Directive, i.e. Directive 2009/147/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council on the conservation of wild birds, first adopted in 1979 - Council Directive 79/409/EEC.

The results of the harmonization and the basis for the implementation of the Emerald Program are Resolution no. 4 (1996, 2010) and Resolution no. 6 (1998, 2011) of the Standing Committee of the Berne Convention. The first resolution lists the endangered natural habitat types that are in accordance with Annex I to the Habitats Directive, whereas the second resolution lists the plant and animal species requiring special conservation measures for their habitats. These species are also found in Annex II to the Habitats Directive and Annex I to the Birds Directive.

For the Emerald Network in Serbia it has been designated 61 areas as particularly important for the protection and conservation of wild plant and animal species and their habitats according to the defined criteria for nomination. The total area of potential Emerald network in Serbia is 1 019 269.31 ha, or 11.54% of the territory of Serbia. These areas are also within the ecologically important areas of Serbia's ecological network.

The potential Emerald areas in Serbia

Karta EMERALD podrucja
Sekulić, N. & Šinžar-Sekulić, J. (2010): Emerald Ecological Network in Serbia. Ministry of Environment and Spatial Planning and Institute for Nature Conservation of Serbia.

At the end of 2018, the Standing Committee of the Berne Convention formally adopted the new Emerald areas proposed by Belarus, Georgia, Moldova, Norway, Switzerland and Ukraine. The nominations for new Emerald areas have also been accepted.

The following countries have so far designated or proposed specific Emerald areas: Albania, Andorra, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Burkina Faso, Georgia, Vatican, Ireland, Liechtenstein, Monaco, Montenegro, Morocco, Northern Macedonia, Norway, Moldova, Russia, San Marino, Senegal, Serbia, Switzerland, Tunisia, Turkey, Ukraine and all EU member states.
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