Convention on Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals (CMS)

The 13th COP to Convention of Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals (CMS) concluded in Gandhinagar with listing of total 10 migratory species of the world on Appendix I & II of the convention along with adoption of several resolutions and decisions to address the needs and threats facing migratory species around the globe. Three of the species listed are from India – Great Indian bustard, mainland Asian elephant and Bengal florican.

About Conservation of Migratory Species

It is an environmental treaty of UN; CMS provides a global platform for the conservation and sustainable use of migratory animals and their habitats.

What is the main task of this convention?

  • CMS brings together the States through which migratory animals pass, the Range States, and lays the legal foundation for internationally coordinated conservation measures throughout a migratory range.
  • As the only global convention specializing in the conservation of migratory species, their habitats and migration routes, CMS complements and co-operates with several other international organizations, NGOs and partners in the media as well as in the corporate sector.
  • CMS acts as a framework Convention. The agreements may range from legally binding treaties (called Agreements) to fewer 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.

Various categories into which the species are divided by the convention?

  • Appendix I:
    • 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.
  • Appendix II:
    • Migratory species that need or would significantly benefit from international cooperation are listed in Appendix II of the Convention.
    • For this reason, the Convention encourages the Range of States to conclude global or regional agreements.

Main takeaways from COP-13

  • Host: India hosted the CMS COP for the first time.
  • Presidency:
    • India assumed the role of CMS Presidency for the next three years.
  • Theme:
    • The theme of the COP13 was, “Migratory species connect the planet and together we welcome them home!”
  • Listings:
    • Three of the species listed in the appendices are from India – Great Indian bustard, mainland Asian elephant and Bengal florican.
    • In the closing press conference of COP13, India expressed a strong resolve to recover the population of GIB which is on the brink of extinction with only around 150 birds left in the country.
  • Declarations:
    • CMS COP13 also adopted the Gandhinagar Declaration, which calls for migratory species and the concept of ‘ecological connectivity’ to be integrated and prioritized in the new Framework, which is expected to be adopted at the UN Biodiversity Conference in October.
  • Reports:
    • The first-ever report on the Status of Migratory Species, presented to CMS COP13, shows that despite some success stories, the populations of most migratory species covered by CMS are declining. COP13 agreed that a more comprehensive review should be undertaken to better understand the status of individual species and the main threats they face.
  • Among issues that divided countries at the COP13 was a proposal moved by the CMS secretariat to put additional restrictions on countries whose financial contributions are three or more years in arrears.
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