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Convention on Migratory Species

As an environmental treaty under the aegis of the United Nations, the Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals (CMS) provides a global platform for the conservation and sustainable use of migratory animals and the places where they live.

Adopted in Bonn, Germany, on 23 June 1979, it entered into foce on 1 November 1983.

The Convention brings together the States through which migratory animals pass, the Range States, and lays the legal foundation for conservation measures throughout the migratory range. Measures are embedded in detailed conservation and management plans.

Conserving the most endangered animals

Migratory species threatened with extinction are listed on Appendix I of the Convention. States 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.

Offering tailored global and regional solutions

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 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 of CMS. All Agreements are based on concrete management and conservation plans.

Since 1990, more than a dozen international Agreements have been concluded under the CMS umbrella, for bats, birds, deer, dolphins and whales, marine turtles and seals.

Under CMS, two regional agreements focus on the conservation of cetaceans within the Baltic, North-East Atlantic, Black Sea and Mediterranean Regional Seas programmes. The Agreement on the Conservation of Small Cetaceans of the Baltic and North Seas (ASCOBANS), entered into force in 1994 and the Agreement on the Conservation of Cetaceans of the Black Sea, Mediterranean Sea and Contiguous Atlantic Area (ACCOBAMS), entered into force in 2001.