LIFE and birds: 40 years of the EU Birds Directive


LIFE and birds: 40 years of the EU Birds Directive

11 April 2019
The EU Birds Directive marks its 40th year in 2019. Projects under the LIFE programme have been working to implement the directive and save species since LIFE’s inception in 1992.

The EU Birds Directive is the oldest piece of EU legislation on the environment, and is the basis for much of the EU’s environmental policy. It was adopted in April 1979, and amended in 2009.

The directive emerged from EU countries wanting to work together to address a fundamental fact of birdlife: birds migrate and know no borders. The only way to properly protect species and their habitats is by working across borders – and often beyond the borders of the EU.

It responded to the most serious threats to the conservation of wild birds: illegal persecution, habitat loss and degradation. The law called for co-financing to manage Special Protection Areas dedicated to birdlife protection and conservation.