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The JNCC has a varied role in bird conservation here in the UK, and internationally within Europe and beyond. Ringed plover chicks © Helen Baker  


International Conventions and Agreements 

There are a number of international treaties whose objectives are to encourage the conservation of birds through national action and international co-operation.  JNCC provides advice and support to UK Government on implementing these international treaties.  The Conventions on Biodiversity (CBD), Migratory Species (CMS) (including daughter agreements on albatrosses & petrels (ACAP) and waterbirds (AEWA)), and Wetlands (Ramsar) are of particular importance for birds.  Information on the species affected is available under Conservation Listings  and the actions that the UK is taking to meet its obligations under these conventions is available elsewhere on this website. 
Up-to-date information on sites and species is available to download. 

European Law

One of the most important instruments for bird conservation in the UK is the EC Directive on the conservation of wild birds (Birds Directive), which lays out special measures to conserve wild birds, their eggs, nests and habitats. In particular, Article 4 of the Directive requires that Member States classify special protection areas (SPAs) for rare and vulnerable species (Annex I species) and for regularly occurring migratory species. JNCC provides advice and support to UK Government on implementing the Birds Directive, and on behalf of the Statutory Conservation Agencies sets common standards for implementation across the UK.  JNCC acts as Secretariat for the UK SPA & Ramsar (avian) Scientific Working Group, which has the role of advising UK Government on future development of the SPA network.
Up-to-date information on sites and species is available to download. 
JNCC undertook a network level assessment of SPA provision in the UK in the late 1990s and the results are available to download. 
Covered by Common Standards Monitoring; a 6-year cycle of condition assessments of features in protected sites.
Terms of Reference, Annual Reports, minutes of meetings and papers are available to download. 
The UK Government sends reports to the Commission every six years on implementation of the Birds Directive.  

Surveillance and Monitoring

The UK's international and European commitments to bird conservation, as well as its own national commitments, require a sound understanding of bird populations and the factors affecting them. There is a long history of bird surveillance and monitoring here in the UK, with an enviable network of many highly skilled amateur and professional ornithologists involved in collecting data. Many of the long-term national surveillance and monitoring schemes are run by partnerships between non-government conservation organisations and the JNCC (on behalf of Government).