Aims and operating principles

Mission: the conservation of butterflies, moths and their habitats throughout Europe

Status and aims

BCE aims to reverse the rapid decline of butterflies, moths and their habitats across Europe BCE aims to reverse the rapid decline of butterflies, moths and their habitats across Europe

BCE was formed in 2004 as an umbrella body with the aim of stemming and reversing the rapid decline of butterflies, moths and their habitats across Europe. It also aims to promote all activities and initiatives to conserve butterflies, moths and their habitats, including increasing the resilience of ecosystems across Europe through adaptation of land uses to sustain biodiversity in the face of climate change.

A clear focus of the organisation is to work with a wide range of partners in Europe, both governmental and non-governmental, to implement the Conservation on Biological Diversity with respect to butterflies and moths and their habitats, and to contribute to achieving the EU Biodiversity Strategy 2030 targets and its longer-term vision of ecosystem recovery.

Geographical scope

The geographical scope of BC Europe comprises all countries that are members of the Council of Europe and includes the Azores, Madeira, the Canary Islands, Russia to the Ural Mountains and the whole of Turkey.

BC Europe is a non-profit making organisation registered in the Netherlands and comprises a non-incorporated consortium (Network) of institutions and organisations working to achieve the mission of Butterfly Conservation Europe.

Network Partners and associates

Any organisation for which the mission is a key objective is eligible to join the BC Europe Network and help deliver its objectives. The Network is open to non-governmental and governmental organisations working in Europe. Conservation NGOs, entomological societies, independent conservation agencies, museums and other relevant non-profit organisations are eligible to be BC Europe ‘Network Partners’. Government departments are eligible to be part of BCE as ‘Network Associates’.


See all Network Partners


 The Board of BCE will approve organisations that apply to become Network Partners or Associates and any projects that are developed on its behalf. Partners and Associates are appointed initially for a provisional period of 3 years to allow a good working relationship to be developed before being confirmed by the Board. Each Network Partner/Associate will designate a contact person to be responsible for liaising with the Board and BC Europe Secretariat, and for contributing to Network decisions. Network Partners/Associates agree to having their details posted on the BC Europe website and to respond to inquiries concerning the work of BC Europe within their own countries.

Individual contributors
BCE greatly welcomes the involvement of individuals, both professional and amateur, to contribute to its projects and help achieve its goals. Individuals cannot join in their own right but will be expected to co-operate with the relevant Network Partners/Associates in their country or region or, where appropriate, work directly with the Board and Secretariat of BC Europe.

New Lepidoptera conservation organisations
BCE encourages the formation of new Lepidoptera conservation organisations at both the national and regional scale where they do not exist.

The Board, secretariat and staff

The BCE Board in 2019 The BCE Board in 2019

Board membership

The Board will comprise three to nine people, two of whom will be senior members of the founding organisations: Butterfly Conservation (UK) and De Vlinderstichting (Dutch BC). The Board may co-opt additional members to broaden its representation. The Operating Principles as stated here will also be observed.

Secretariat and staff

BCE will operate a Secretariat and such staff as are necessary to support the organisation and take forward the aims and objectives of the Network. Secretariat work plans will be agreed by the Board of BCE, taking advice as necessary from members of the Network. The Secretariat will maintain a website that lists current projects and functions as an interactive means of maintaining and supporting the Network.

Functions of Board

The Board will oversee the proper conduct of the Network’s business, the implementation of BCE projects and resolutions, and the maintenance of an effective pan-European network. It will work closely with the Secretariat and have overall responsibility for agreeing priorities in consultation with the network of members. It will fix the levels and structure of any contributions from Network Partners.

Meetings of the Board

Observers and advisers to the Board may attend at the invitation of the Chair. Those working for the Secretariat will also attend as requested by the Chair. The Board will normally meet twice a year.


Network Operating Principles

BCE meeting 2022 BCE meeting 2022

The Network should

  • Wherever possible be built on what already exists, especially existing organisations and networks.
  • Encourage the formation of new national or regional organisations where no existing organisation is available to help implement the aims of BC Europe
  • Be task oriented with minimum bureaucracy.
  • Form a genuine and mutually supportive partnership, including the sharing of expertise for the common good.
  • Include a fair geographical representation wherever possible.
  • Work together to promote butterfly and moth conservation, and the aims and objectives of BC Europe at a European level.
  • Collaborate and co-operate with other conservation groups, research projects, individuals concerned with other taxa and with habitats and ecosystem conservation to ensure a holistic approach to nature conservation.

Specific tasks to be implemented by the Network will be determined by the Board of BC Europe, wherever possible following consultation with the Network (e.g. at conferences and workshops).


Financial aspects

In the spirit of partnership as set out above, the following financial considerations will apply:

  • Initially, there will be no subscription for Network Partners/Associates but BCE may wish to introduce a subscription, after due consultation, towards the functioning of the network.
  • Any lead organisation designated by the Board of BCE may raise resources in the name of BCE, provided they have provided the Secretariat with a copy of the proposal and its target audiences, and have received prior approval from by the Board to proceed.
  • Wherever possible, the lead organisation should include any reasonable costs of BCE in supporting the project.
  • The Secretariat will maintain a register of all such proposals to enable co-ordination.
  • The Secretariat and Board of BCE will endeavour to raise support for the tasks conducted by the Network and the maintenance of the Network.

Declarations of interest

Members of organising committees of Network Partners/Associates should declare any interest, financial or otherwise, in the affairs of BCE, both to their own organisation and BCE Board.

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