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The Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals

The Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals (also known as CMS or the Bonn Convention) aims to conserve terrestrial, aquatic and avian migratory species throughout their range. It is an intergovernmental treaty, concluded under the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP). CMS entered into force in 1983, and now includes 119 countries, considered as Parties to the Convention (as of April 2013).

As the only global convention specializing in the conservation of migratory species, their habitats and migration routes, CMS complements and co-operates with a number of other international organizations, and non-governmental organizations (NGOs), including partners in the media as well as in the corporate sector.

CMS Parties strive towards strictly protecting 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.  In this respect, CMS acts as a framework Convention. For this reason, the Convention encourages the Range States to conclude global or regional Agreements. 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, North-East Atlantic, Irish and North Seas
  • Seals in the Wadden Sea
  • African-Eurasian Migratory Waterbirds
  • Albatrosses and Petrels
  • Gorillas and their Habitats

In addition, many 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 and their Habitats 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 and their Habitats of the Pacific Island Region
  • Dugongs and their Habitats
  • Eastern Atlantic Populations of the Mediterranean Monk Seal
  • Ruddy-headed Goose (Argentina and Chile)
  • Grassland Birds of Southern South America
  • Birds of Prey (Raptors) of Africa and Eurasia
  • Small Cetaceans and Manatees of West Africa
  • High Andean Flamingoes and their Habitats
  • Sharks
  • Huemuls (Andean Deer)


For more information on the CMS Convention and its Agreements and MoU’s see: