The Bern Convention - the Council of Europe's convention for saving European wildlife and habitats – is marking its 30th anniversary in the Swiss capital.
Since its adoption, the convention has been signed by 48 countries, including four African countries because of the interest to protect common migratory species. Switzerland ratified the accord in 1981.
Switzerland invited the contracting parties to hold this year's meeting of the Standing Committee to the Convention in Bern as a way of celebrating the anniversary. The three-day gathering, which started on Monday, was opened by Swiss Environment Minister Moritz Leuenberger.
Last October Switzerland put forward 37 sites for inclusion into the Emerald Network.
Other key objectives of the convention are to protect forests and wetlands and to monitor and control endangered species.
Switzerland took over the six-month chairmanship of the Committee of Ministers, the Council's decision-making body, on November 18.
swissinfo.ch and agencies