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About CMS

The Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals (also known as CMS or Bonn Convention) conserves terrestrial, marine and avian migratory species throughout their range. It is an intergovernmental treaty, concluded under the aegis of the United Nations Environment Programme, concerned with the conservation of wildlife and habitats on a global scale. Since the Convention's entry into force, its membership has grown steadily to include more than 110 Parties from Africa, Central and South America, Asia, Europe and Oceania.

Migratory species threatened with extinction are listed on Appendix I of the Convention. CMS Parties strive towards strictly protecting these animals, conserving or restoring the places where they live, mitigating obstacles to migration and controlling other factors that might endanger them. Besides establishing obligations for each State joining the Convention, CMS promotes concerted action among the Range States of many of these species.

Migratory species that need or would significantly benefit from international co-operation are listed in Appendix II of the Convention. For this reason, the Convention encourages the Range States to conclude global or regional Agreements.

In this respect, CMS acts as a framework Convention. The Agreements may range from legally binding treaties (called Agreements) to less formal instruments, such as Memoranda of Understanding, and can be adapted to the requirements of particular regions. There is little in-practice difference between the legally binding and less formal instruments in CMS. All work to a similar conservation agenda. The development of models tailored according to the conservation needs throughout the migratory range is a unique capacity to CMS.

There are 7 separate CMS Agreements concluded so far are for:

There are a further 19 separate CMS Memoranda of Understanding:

The CMS Secretariat provides administrative support to the Convention, as operates as the Secretariat for some of the Memoranda of Understanding as well. The decision-making organ is the CMS Conference of the Parties (CMS CoP), which takes place every three years. An annual Standing Committee provides policy and administrative guidance between the regular meetings of the CMS CoP. A Scientific Council that meets on average every 18 months consists of experts appointed by individual member States and by the CMS CoP, and gives advice on technical and scientific matters. Most of the Agreements have similar structures themselves.

In 2008 the Conference of the Parties to CMS agreed to develop a further 12 of agreements for:

  • Central Asian Flyway for Migratory Waterbirds and their Habitats
  • East Asian-Australasian Flyway
  • American Flyway
  • Pacific Flyway
  • Asian Houbara Bustard
  • Sturgeons
  • Pacific [ Islands ] Marine Turtles
  • [Small] Cetaceans in the Indian Ocean and South-East Asia
  • Sahelo-Saharan Antelopes
  • Central Eurasian Aridland Mammals
  • Central African Elephants
  • Subsaharan and African Bats

The Migratory Wildlife Network's speciality is providing regular information about the progress of each of these instruments and their relationships to the biodiversity cluster of Multilateral Environment Agreements.

In addition to the public access information available through the CMS website Migratory Wildlife Network members also have access to searchable database of listed species, CMS, CMS agreement and other MEA resolutions, a rolling calendar of upcoming events and deadlines and regular news about each of the agreements and the progress, all maintained for Network Members by the Network team. The most current copy of the CMS CoP Rules of Procedure are available as a PDF.

Contact us for details about Network Membership.

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