In general, an NCS seeks to answer four basic questions: (1) What is the stock of resources available to the country on which its development must rely ? (2) What is the condition of these resources and what trends can be identified ? (3) What pressures on the resources cause them to be used unsustainably ? and (4) What actions would eliminate the obstacles that have been identified and bring resource use onto a sustainable footing ? On the basis of review, analysis and assignment of priorities an NCS seeks to define the best possible allocation of human and financial resources to achieve the goals of sustainable development -- development with conservation. As conceived, the NCS process is not merely to prepare a strategy document, but also to ensure the resources and commitment to implement the strategy. An NCS brings together clear statements of the activities required to achieve conservation, estimates of the resources needed to implement those activities and implementation schedules. It also should include a proposal for monitoring the implementation of the strategy and for updating it regularly.
Article 3(1) of the [Convention on the Conservation of European Wildlife and Natural Habitats] (Bern 1979) requires contracting party to take steps to promote national policies for the conservation of wild flora, wild fauna and natural habitats, with particular attention to endangered and vulnerable species, especially endemic ones, and endangered habitats, in accordance with the provisions of the Convention.
The [European Conservation Strategy, 1990] is based on the principles of the reports [Our Common Future] (1987), the [World Conservation Strategy] (1980), the UN Economic Commission for Europe's [Strategy for Environmental Protection and Rational Use of Natural Resources in ECE Member Countries] (1988) and UNEP's [Environmental Perspective to the Year 2000 and Beyond] (1988). It was adopted at the Sixth European Ministerial Conference on the Environment, Brussels, 11-12 October 1990. The objectives of the Strategy are the promotion of a culture that respects nature for what it is, to base economic, social and cultural development on a rational and sustainable use of natural resources, making Europeans aware of and involve them in environmental and conservation issues, and achieving sustainable development and conservation. Four principles to meet these objectives are specified: (1) safeguarding of species, ecosystems and essential natural processes should be an obligation for all people; (2) the acceptance by all European states of the principle of sustainable development; (3) economic and social development within a healthy environment; and (4) the shared responsibility of all sections of society, institutions and authorities for the conservation of the environment. The member states of the Council of Europe should apply the objectives and principles of the Strategy as appended to the Recommendations in all their policies. Specifically, national conservation strategies should be drawn up. The Strategy also included recommendations for developing sustainable policies in different sectors (air, inland waters, lakes and rivers, seas, soil, wildlife and biotopes, landscape conservation and agriculture).