Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals

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"Bonn Convention" redirects here. For for other agreements with similar names, see Bonn Agreement.

The Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals (also known as CMS or the 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 over 100 Parties from Africa, Central and South America, Asia, Europe and Oceania. The Convention was signed in 1979 in Bonn (hence the name) and entered into force in 1983. The depositary is the government of the Federal Republic of Germany.

CMS Bonn Convention logo.png

Parties to the Convention[edit]

At April 2013, there were 119 Parties to the Convention.

Countries participating in CMS Agreements/MoU that are not yet Parties to CMS[edit]

As at September 2011 there were 34 nations participating in CMS Agreements or MoU that are not yet Parties to the Convention. This list includes Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, Bahrain, Brazil, Cambodia, Central African Republic, China (incl. Hong Kong), Comoros, Federated States of Micronesia, Fiji, Indonesia, Lebanon, Malaysia, Maldives, Myanmar, Namibia, Nauru, Nepal, Niue, Oman, Papua New Guinea, Russian Federation, San Marino, Sierra Leone, Solomon Islands, Sudan, Thailand, Tonga, Tuvalu, Turkmenistan, United Arab Emirates, United States of America, Vanuatu, Viet Nam.

Fundamental principles[edit]

Fundamental Principles of the Convention are set out in Article 2. The Parties acknowledge the importance of migratory species being conserved and of Range States agreeing to take action to this end "whenever possible and appropriate", "paying special attention to migratory species the conservation status of which is unfavourable and taking individually or in cooperation appropriate and necessary steps to conserve such species and their habitat." Further in Article 2(2) The Parties "acknowledge" [but do not commit in stronger language, cf Art 2(3) "shall"] "the need to take action to avoid any migratory species becoming endangered".

In Article 2(3) the Convention states that "the Parties: (a) should promote, cooperate in and support research relating to migratory species; (b) shall endeavour to provide immediate protection for migratory species included in Appendix I; and (c) shall endeavour to conclude AGREEMENTS covering the conservation and management of migratory species included in Appendix II."

Appendix I – Threatened Migratory Species[edit]

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. As of January 2011 there are 176 species in Appendix I.

Appendix II – Migratory Species requiring international cooperation[edit]

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 (EUROBATS)
  • Cetaceans of the Mediterranean Sea, Black Sea and Contiguous Atlantic Area (ACCOBAMS)
  • Small Cetaceans of the Baltic, North East Atlantic, Irish and North Seas (ASCOBANS)
  • African-Eurasian Migratory Waterbirds (AEWA)

Memoranda of Understanding (MoU)[edit]

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

  • Birds of Prey MoU



A Secretariat under the auspices of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) provides administrative support to the Convention. It is based in the UN Campus in Bonn, Germany. From 2013 the Executive Secretary of the Convention is Bradnee Chambers.

Conference of the parties[edit]

The Conference of the parties is the CMS' principal decision-making body. It meets every three years. Its functions are enumerated in Article VII of the Convention. For example, it reviews the Convention's implementation, adopts budgets, resolutions and recommendations, amends Appendix I and II and decides on priorities for future CMS activities.


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.



Article 6(3) requires Parties which are Range States for migratory species listed in Appendix I or II to inform the CoP through the Secretariat, at least six months prior to each ordinary meeting of the Conference, on measures that they are taking to implement the Convention for these species.

Domestic legislation[edit]

To varying degrees the Bonn Convention has been incorporated into domestic law by the Parties.

See also[edit]


External links[edit]