CMS – the UN Convention protecting migratory wildlife

CMS (Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals) is an international agreement between governments that coordinates the conservation of migratory animals and their habitats. The objective of the Convention is to stimulate collaboration among States that are sharing the habitat of animal species which cross borders and live transboundary. This includes avian, terrestrial and marine species across the globe. Currently CMS is ratified by around 130 countries around the world.

Endangered species are listed in Appendix I of the Convention. This means that it is prohibited to take them from the wild. Furthermore, governments signatory to the Convention shall strive to protect these animals, conserving or restoring the places where they live, mitigating obstacles to migration and controlling other factors that might endanger them. Of utmost importance is the obligation that actions to protect endangered species shall be concerted among Range States.

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

Two key regional species agreements that OceanCare invests in are ACCOBAMS, dedicated to the protection of whales and dolphins in the Mediterranean and Black Seas, and ASCOBANS, dedicated to the conservation of small whale species in the North and Baltic Seas. But there are many more.

OceanCare has been active in the convention’s framework since 2004. In 2016 we have become an official partner of CMS. This partnership provides an opportunity to work together on issues such as ocean noise, marine debris and aquatic wildmeat in a joint effort to better protect aquatic and marine migratory animals.

Some of our key achievements and fields of engagement in previous years have been promoting the adoption and support for the development of several conservation management decisions, technical information addressing ocean noise and marine litter, as well as the promotion of improving the involvement of civil society organisations within the CMS.

CMS COP13 conference, Feb. 2020: our action plan