An introduction to the Convention on Migratory Species.


The Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals (also known as CMS or Bonn Convention) aims to conserve 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 109 (as of 1 August 2008) Parties from Africa, Central and South America, Asia, Europe and Oceania. Click for Map of Parties.

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. The development of models tailored according to the conservation needs throughout the migratory range is a unique capacity to CMS.

Several Agreements have been concluded to date under the auspices of CMS. They aim to conserve:

  • Populations of European Bats
  • Cetaceans of the Mediterranean Sea, Black Sea and Contiguous Atlantic Area
  • Small Cetaceans of the Baltic and North Seas
  • Seals in the Wadden Sea
  • African-Eurasian Migratory Waterbirds
  • Albatrosses and Petrels
  • Gorillas and their Habitats

In addition, several Memoranda of Understanding (MoU) have been concluded to date under the auspices of CMS. They aim to conserve :

  • Siberian Crane
  • Slender-billed Curlew
  • Marine Turtles of the Atlantic Coast of Africa
  • Marine Turtles of the Indian Ocean and South-East Asia
  • Middle-European Population of the Great Bustard
  • Bukhara Deer
  • Aquatic Warbler
  • West-African Populations of the African Elephant
  • Saiga Antelope
  • Cetaceans of Pacific Island States
  • Dugongs
  • Mediterranean Monk Seal
  • Ruddy-headed Goose
  • Grassland Birds

A Secretariat under the auspices of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) provides administrative support to the Convention. The decision-making organ of the Convention is the Conference of the Parties (COP). A Standing Committee provides policy and administrative guidance between the regular meetings of the COP. A Scientific Council  consisting of experts appointed by individual member States and by the COP, gives advice on technical and scientific matters.

See more at the website for the Convention on Migratory Species.

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3 Responses to An introduction to the Convention on Migratory Species.

  1. earthpal says:

    Well it’s a good set-up Matt. Mutual co-operation is needed to fully protect these species and thus reduce the loss of biodiversity.

    Gorgeous picture up there Matty. And welcome back. Glad you had a relaxing cottage holiday in the countryside.

  2. the Grit says:

    Hi y’all,

    Cool. We have several species of birds that are endangered, or almost so, stop by the farm every year, or so my agricultural extension agent and some local environmentalists say. I never see most of them, but I have learned to spot one variety of duck from the list, and it’s really fun to watch them. We also have one endangered plant, which is a flower native to this area that has been mostly displaced by a more popular imported variety of the same plant. Now, if I could only move the poison ivy onto the endangered list.

    the Grit

  3. matt says:

    I’ve been reading the Scientific American Earth 3.0 this week, as I picked up the magazine. Of course it’s all online too; Earth 3.0.

    It’s quite informative although The Coffee House has covered a number of their topics already. It’s worth reading the article Focusing on Hotspots.

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