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Environmental Treaties and Resource Indicators (ENTRI) -- Full Text


Summary of the "Convention on Nature Protection and Wild Life Preservation in the Western Hemisphere" is available from the UNEP Register of International Treaties and Other Agreements in the Field of the Environment.

See the ENTRI query system for information about the status of this treaty.


See the ENTRI thematic guide for more information about the relationships between environmental treaties, national resource indicators, and remotely sensed data.
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                 CONVENTION ON NATURE PROTECTION 
     AND WILD LIFE PRESERVATION IN THE WESTERN HEMISPHERE (1940)

ENTERED INTO FORCE: 1 May 1942


                              Preamble

The Governments of the American Republics, wishing to protect and
preserve in their natural habitat representatives of all species and
genera of their native flora and fauna, including migratory birds, in
sufficient numbers and over areas extensive enough to assure them from
becoming extinct through any agency within man's control; and

Wishing to protect and preserve scenery of extraordinary beauty, unusual
and striking geologic formations, regions and natural objects of
aesthetic, historic or scientific value, and areas characterized by
primitive conditions in those cases covered by this Convention; and

Wishing to conclude a convention on the protection of nature and the
preservation of flora and fauna to effectuate the foregoing purposes have
agreed upon the following Articles:

                              Article I

                   DESCRIPTION OF TERMS USED IN THE
                      WORDING OF THIS CONVENTION

1. The expression national parks shall denote: 

     Areas established for the protection and preservation of
superlative scenery, flora and fauna of national significance which the
general public may enjoy and from which it may benefit when placed under
public control.

2. The expression national reserves shall denote: 

     Regions established for conservation and utilization of natural
resources under government control, on which protection of animal and
plant life will be afforded in so far as this may be consistent with the
primary purpose of such reserves.

3. The expression nature monuments shall denote:

     Regions, objects, or living species of flora and fauna of
aesthetic, historic or scientific interest to which strict protection is
given. The purpose of nature monuments is the protection of a specific
object, or a species of flora or fauna, by setting aside an area, an
object, or a single species, as an inviolate nature monument, except for
duly authorized scientific investigations or government Inspection.

4. The expression strict wilderness reserves shall denote:

     A region under public control characterized by primitive conditions
of flora, fauna, transportation and habitation wherein there is no
provision for the passage of motorized transportation and all commercial
developments are excluded.

5. The expression migratory birds shall denote:

     Birds of those species, all or some of whose individual members,
may at any season cross any of the boundaries between the American
countries. Some of the species of the following families are examples of
birds characterized as migratory: Charadriidae, Scolopacidae,
Caprimulgidae, Hirundinidae.

                              Article II

1. The Contracting Governments will explore at once the possibility of
establishing in their territories national parks, national reserves,
nature monuments, and strict wilderness reserves as defined in the
preceding article. In all cases where such establishment is feasible, the
creation thereof shall be begun as soon as possible after the effective
date of the present Convention.

2. If in any country the establishment of national parks, national
reserves, nature monuments, or strict wilderness reserves is found to be
impractical at present, suitable areas, objects or living species of
fauna or flora, as the case may be, shall be selected as early as
possible to be transformed into national parks, national reserves, nature
monuments or strict wilderness reserves as soon as, in the opinion of the
authorities concerned, circumstances will permit.

3. The Contracting Governments shall notify the Pan American Union of the
establishment of any national parks, national reserves, nature monuments,
or strict wilderness reserves, and of the legislation, including the
methods of administrative control, adopted in connection therewith.

                              Article III

The Contracting Governments agree that the boundaries of national parks
shall not be altered, or any portion thereof be capable of alienation
except by the competent legislative authority. The resources of these
reserves shall not be subject to exploitation for commercial profit.

The Contracting Governments agree to prohibit hunting, killing and
capturing of members of the fauna and destruction or collection of
representatives of the flora in national parks except by or under the
direction or,control of the park authorities, or for duly authorized
scientific investigations.

The Contracting Governments further agree to provide facilities for
public recreation and education in national parks consistent with the
purposes of this Convention.

                              Article IV

The Contracting Governments agree to maintain the strict wilderness
reserves inviolate, as far as practicable, except for duly authorized
scientific investigations or government inspection, or such uses as are
consistent with the purposes for which the area was established.

                              Article V

1. The Contracting Governments agree to adopt, or to propose such
adoption to their respective appropriate law-making bodies, suitable laws
and regulations for the protection and preservation of flora and fauna
within their national boundaries but not included in the national parks,
national reserves, nature monuments, or strict wilderness reserves
referred to in Article II hereof. Such regulations shall contain proper
provisions for the taking of the specimens of flora and fauna for
scientific study and investigation by properly accredited individuals and
agencies.

2. The Contracting Governments agree to adopt or to recommend that their
respective legislatures adopt, laws which will assure the protection and
preservation of the natural scenery, striking geological formations, and
regions and natural objects of aesthetic interest or historic or
scientific value.

                              Article VI

The Contracting Governments agree to cooperate among themselves in
promoting the objectives of the present Convention. To this end they will
lend proper assistance, consistent with national laws, to scientists of
the American Republics engaged in research and field study; they may,
when circumstances warrant, enter into agreements with one another or
with scientific institutions of the Americas in order to increase the
effectiveness of this collaboration; and they shall make available to all
the American Republics equally through publication or otherwise the
scientific knowledge resulting from such cooperative effort.

                              Article VII

The Contracting Governments shall adopt appropriate measures for the
protection of migratory birds of economic or aesthetic value or to
prevent the threatened extinction of any given species. Adequate measures
shall be adopted which will permit, in so far as the respective
governments may see fit, a rational utilization of migratory birds for
the purpose of sports as well as for food, commerce, and industry, and
for scientific study and investigation.

                              Article VIII

The protection of the species mentioned in the Annex to the present
Convention is declared to be of special urgency and importance. Species
included therein shall be protected as completely as possible, and their
hunting, killing, capturing, or taking, shall be allowed only with the
permission of the appropriate government authorities in the country. Such
permission shall be granted only under special circumstances, in order to
further scientific purposes, or when essential for the administration of
the area in which the animal or plant is found.

                              Article IX

Each Contracting Government shall take the necessary measures to control
and regulate the importation, exportation and transit of protected fauna
and flora or any part thereof by the following means:

1. The issuing of certificates authorizing the exportation or transit of
protected species of flora or fauna, or parts thereof.

2. The prohibition of the importation of any species of fauna or flora or
any part thereof protected by the country of origin unless accompanied by
a certificate of lawful exportation as provided for in Paragraph 1 of
this Article.

                              Article X

1. The terms of this convention shall in no way be interpreted as
replacing international agreements previously entered into by one or more
of the High Contracting Powers.

2. The Pan American Union shall notify the Contracting Parties of any
information relevant to the purposes of the present Convention
communicated to it by any national museums or by any organizations,
national or international established within their jurisdiction and
interested in the purposes of the Convention.

                              Article XI

1. The original of the present Convention in Spanish, English, Portuguese
and French shall be deposited with the Pan American Union and opened for
signature by the American Governments on 12 October 1940.

2. The present Convention shall remain open for signature by the American
Governments. The instruments of ratification shall be deposited with the
Pan American Union, which shall notify their receipt and the dates
thereof, and the terms of any accompanying declarations or reservations,
to all participating Governments.

3. The present Convention shall come into force three months after the
deposit of not less than five ratifications with the Pan American Union.

4. Any ratification received after the date of the entry into force of
the Convention, shall take effect three months after the date of its
deposit with the Pan American Union.

                              Article XII

1. Any Contracting Government may at any time denounce the present
Convention by a notification in writing addressed to the Pan American
Union. Such denunciation shall take effect one year after the date of the
receipt of the notification by the Pan American Union, provided, however,
that no denunciation shall take effect until the expiration of five years
from the date of the entry into force of this Convention.

2. If, as the result of simultaneous or successive denunciations, the
number of Contracting Governments is reduced to less than three, the
Convention shall cease to be in force from the date on which the last of
such denunciations takes effect in accordance with the provisions of the
preceding Paragraph.

3. The Pan American Union shall notify all of the American Governments of
any denunciations and the date on which they take effect. 

4. Should the Convention cease to be in force under the provisions of
Paragraph 2 of this article, the Pan American Union shall notify all of
the American Governments, indicating the date on which this will become
effective.

In witness whereof, the undersigned Plenipotentiaries, having deposited
their full powers found to be in due and proper form, sign this
Convention at the Pan American Union, Washington, D.C., on behalf of
their respective Governments and affix thereto their seals on the dates
appearing opposite their signatures.