The International Convention for the Protection of Birds (1902): A missed opportunity for wildlife conservation?


Authors: Juan José FERRERO-GARCÍA


Published: Volume 60(2), December 2013. Pages 385-396.

Language: English

Keywords: agriculture, environmental legislation, Europe, history of conservation, international agreements, protected species and useful fauna


The draft International Convention for the Protection of Birds Useful to Agriculture has been analysed. This text was drafted at an international conference organised by France in 1895, with the participation and agreement of politicians, technicians and prestigious ornithologists and naturalists. The exact content of the draft has been confirmed from different documentary sources, and it has been found that it differed, in part, from the convention to which a dozen European States definitively subscribed in 1902. Also, some of the changes made to the draft were very significant, since they harmed many species and significantly lowered the conservationist pretensions of the convention. The present account suggests that such changes might have been due to pressures exerted in the interests of certain countries, which demurred from the broad consensus reached at the 1895 conference. It is emphasized here that the draft agreed that year was fully consistent with the knowledge and views of much of the scientific community of the time, following the path indicated by some of the bird protection laws that were adopted during the 19th century by several European nations.

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