The Emerald Network is part of the Bern Convention (officially known as Convention on the Conservation of European Wildlife and Natural Habitats) with the adoption of Recommendation No. 16 (1989) of the Standing Committee and implemented by the Council of Europe. It is an ecological network made up of Areas of Special Conservation Interest (ASCIs).
Setting up the Emerald Network at the national level is considered as one of the main tools for the Contracting Parties to comply with their obligations under the Bern Convention. Serbia has already set up the Emerald Network with the identification of 61 sites based on the lists of the strictly protected species of flora (Appendix I) and fauna (Appendix II) and the list of protected species of fauna (Appendix III) that are part of the Berne Convention and require legislative and administrative measures to ensure their conservation. In addition, the use of certain agents and methods of killing, capturing and other forms of exploitation of mammals, birds and freshwater fish is prohibited (Appendix IV).
The total area of the potential Emerald network in Serbia is 1,019,269.31 ha, i.e. 11.54% of the territory of Serbia.
Before being officially adopted as Emerald Network sites, all sites proposed to be included in the network are thoroughly assessed at the biogeographical level for their sufficiency to achieve the ultimate objective of the network. Once the areas proposed are officially adopted as Emerald Network sites, they have to be designated and managed at the national level. The national designation and management measures are decided and put in place to contribute to the main objective of the network and their efficiency will be regularly monitored.
The network is to be set up in each Contracting Party or observer State to the Convention. It thus involves all European Union Member States, some non-Community States, and a number of African States. The European Union, as such, is also a Contracting Party to the Bern Convention.
The Emerald Network are also within the ecologically important areas of the Serbian ecological network and Natura 2000 Network. To ensure maximum coherence between the two processes, the Emerald Network and the Natura 2000 Network, the lists of plant and animal species included in the Appendices of the Convention have been harmonized with the lists of species in the Annexes of the Habitats Directive and the Birds Directive, formally considering the Emerald Network as a preparatory stage in the implementation of the Habitats Directive and the contribution from the EU Member States to the Emerald Network.