Comparing European Instruments for Marine Nature Conservation: The OSPAR Convention, the Bern Convention, the Birds and Habitats Directives, and the Added Value of the Marine Strategy Framework Directive
20(4) European Energy and Environmental Law Review 129-149
24 Pages Posted: 24 Jan 2015
Date Written: 2011
This article performs a comparative analysis of five major legal instruments for (marine) nature conservation in Europe, namely the 1979 Bern Convention on the Conservation of European Wildlife and Natural Habitats, the 1979 EU Wild Birds Directive, the 1992 EU Habitats Directive, the 1992 OSPAR Convention for the Protection of the Marine Environment of the North-East Atlantic, and the 2008 EU Marine Strategy Framework Directive (MSFD). Through this analysis, an answer is provided to the question what the recently added MSFD contributes to the pre-existing legal framework in the field of marine nature conservation. To provide the necessary focus, the analysis is carried out from the perspective of one marine subregion, the North Sea, although many elements of it are ostensibly of wider relevance. The article systematically explores the potential added value of the MSFD with regard to marine protected areas (MPAs) and other types of nature conservation measures. It concludes that the MSFD apparently contributes both substance and legal teeth to the legal framework for the protection, management and restoration of marine species, habitats and ecosystems in Europe.
Keywords: Marine Strategy Framework Directive, Bern Convention, Habitats Directive, Birds Directive, OSPAR
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