The Agreement on the Conservation of Populations of European Bats (EUROBATS)

The Agreement on the Conservation of Populations of European Bats, which came into force in 1994, presently numbers thirty-two European states among its Parties, from North, South, East and West. This Agreement was set up under the Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals, which recognises that endangered migratory-species can be properly protected only if activities are carried out over the entire migratory range of the species.

Objectives and approach

The Agreement’s main aim is to provide a framework for the member countries and those that have not yet joined for co-operation towards a common goal: the conservation of bats throughout Europe.

The member states (Parties) prohibit the deliberate capture, keeping or killing of bats except for research purposes for which a permit is required. The strategic goals of the agreement are the identification of important sites for bat conservation, surveys of the status and trends of bat populations and studies of their migratory patterns. Based on the results of these monitoring activities, the Agreement aims to develop and review recommendations and guidelines on diverse topics that shall be implemented by the Parties on a national level.

Institutional structure

The EUROBATS Secretariat was established by the First Session of the Meeting of Parties in 1995. It started working in Bonn, Germany in 1996, and has been co-located with the Secretariat of the Bonn Convention and other environment and development-related United Nations institutions in Bonn, Germany.

Its particular functions are to:

  • be a point for exchanging information, and co-ordinate international research and monitoring initiatives;
  • arrange Meetings of the Parties and the Advisory Committee;
  • stimulate proposals for improving the effectiveness of the Agreement, and attract more countries to participate in and join the Agreement;
  • stimulate public awareness, by all media open to it, of the threats to bat populations in Europe and what can be done at all levels to prevent their numbers dwindling further.
Work areas

The Bat Agreement aims to protect all 45 species of bats identified in Europe, through legislation, education, conservation measures and international co-operation with Agreement members and with those who have not yet joined.

In 1995, the First Session of the Meeting of Parties to the Agreement formed an Action Plan, which was to be translated into international action. They established an Advisory Committee to carry forward this Plan between the Meetings of Parties.

The most significant items for the Advisory Committee are monitoring and international activities. A pan-European observation study is to identify population trends and then to facilitate the timely introduction of measures to address any problems which the study's results might throw up. The study is based upon representative species, and consistent methods for observing them are to be used.

International-protection measures for bats have to concentrate on those species which migrate the furthest across Europe, in order to identify and address possible dangers caused by bottle-neck situations in their migratory routes. Therefore, the Advisory Committee examines also the available data about the migratory behaviour of representative bat-species.