Convention on Migratory Species

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The Convention on Migratory Species aims at strictly protecting endangered and vulnerable migratory species, 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 are important from a climate impact assessment perspective as they act as linkages between ecosystems, and are good indicators of ecosystem change.

The Convention on Migratory Species

The Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals (also known as CMS or Bonn Convention) 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 118 (as of 1 January 2013) Parties from Africa, Central and South America, Asia, Europe and Oceania.


The Conference of the Parties (COP) meets at three-yearly intervals and is the decision-making body of CMS. Its Standing Committee gives policy and administrative guidance between meetings. The Scientific Council meets between COP sessions to offer scientific advice and identify research and conservation priorities. The Secretariat develops and promotes agreements, services meetings, supports and supervises research and conservation projects and co-operates with governments and partner organizations. The Secretariat is provided by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and currently has a professional staff of 16 and is based in Bonn, Germany.

Several Agreements and Memoranda of Understanding have been concluded under the auspices of CMS on the conservation of particular species.

Parties to the convention submit national reports six months preceding each COP.

Relation with other conventions

CMS is the only global (and UN-based) intergovernmental organization which is established exclusively for the conservation and management of migratory species. Although migratory species in general are included in theConvention on Biological Diversity (CBD) and migratory fish species are covered by the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), these conventions do not provide for the special instruments for the conservation work to be done. Other global wildlife conventions, such as the Ramsar Convention for Wetlands, the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora and the World Heritage Convention, have their specific fields of application, with little overlap with CMS. It may, however, arise that regional agreements concluded under the auspices of CMS to a certain extent overlap some global or regional conventions. For this reason, the CMS Secretariat has developed instruments to communicate and co-operate effectively with the secretariats of other international conventions.


General Website - Convention on Migratory Species

The main author of this article is Magdalena Muir
Please note that others may also have edited the contents of this article.

Citation: Magdalena Muir (2019): Convention on Migratory Species. Available from [accessed on 14-06-2024]