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The Important Birds Area (IBA) programme represents a global effort in identifying the most important areas for maintaining wild bird populations. It also strives to concentrate conservation activities for protecting these areas.

The programme as launched by BirdLife International (1989 the first european IBA inventory) and is a very efficient way of identifying conservation priorities in key areas. It has been accepted by the European Union as the most important tool for the conservation of wild birds and their habitats and it has been used for directioning management actions towards areas important for breeding, migration, feeding and wintering of wild birds.

IBAs usually meet one or more of the following requirements:
- hold one or more globally threatened species
- are part of a set of sites that together hold several restricted range species
have exceptionally large numbers of migratory or congregatory birds

IBAs have to meet criteria which are standardized and internationally accepted and they have to be amenable to conservation and management measures. By definition, an IBA is an agreed priority for conservation.

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