Curtain raiser

7th Meeting of the CMS Conference of the Parties (COP-7) and 2nd Session of the Meeting of the Parties to the Agreement on the Conservation of African-Eurasian Migratory Waterbirds (AEWA MOP-2)

The seventh Conference of the Parties (COP-7) to the Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals (CMS) convenes from 18-24 September 2002, in Bonn, Germany. CMS COP-7 was preceded by the 11th meeting of the CMS Scientific Council, held from 14-17 September, and the 24th meeting of the CMS Standing Committee, which took place on 17 September. It will be followed by the second Meeting of the Parties (MOP-2) of the African-Eurasian Waterbird Agreement (AEWA), which convenes from 25-27 September. The Global Register of Migratory Species’ (GROMS) Geographic Information System (GIS) and database training workshop is scheduled to take place from 20-21 September.

The agenda for COP-7 includes consideration of: implementation of the CMS Information Management Plan; the proposed format for national reports; measures to improve the conservation status of Appendix I species; development and guidelines on the harmonization of future agreements; review of implementation of the Strategic Plan for 2000-2005; proposals for amendments to Appendices I and II; and financial and administrative arrangements.

The agenda for AEWA MOP-2 includes amendments to the Agreement and Action Plan; a report on the Global Environment Facility’s (GEF) African-Eurasian Flyway project; AEWA’s international implementation priorities for 2000-2004; phasing-out lead shot for waterbird hunting; adoption of the conservation guidelines; and institutional and financial arrangements. Participants will also discuss international single species Action Plans for the Sociable Plover, Great Snipe, Dark-bellied Brent Goose, and Black-winged Pratincole.


Migratory species are vulnerable to a wide range of threats, including habitat shrinkage in breeding areas, excessive hunting along migration routes, and degradation of their feeding grounds. In the early 1960s, organizations such as the World Conservation Union (IUCN) began to highlight the problems associated with migratory species.

In 1972, the United Nations Conference on the Human Environment recognized the need for countries to cooperate on the conservation of animals that migrate across national boundaries or between areas of national jurisdiction. The West German government called for negotiation of a convention based on an IUCN draft, which resulted in the CMS. The Convention was designed to allow for expansion and revision of commitments and to provide a framework for the future negotiation of species-specific sub-agreements that would address the problems unique to particular migratory species. The CMS, also known as the Bonn Convention, was adopted in 1979 and entered into force on 1 November 1983. With the recent accession of Libya to the Convention in June 2002, the CMS now has 80 Parties.

The CMS recognizes that States must be the protectors of migratory species that live within or pass through their national jurisdictions, and aims to conserve terrestrial, marine and avian migratory species throughout their ranges. The Convention constitutes a framework through which Parties may act to conserve migratory species and their habitat by: adopting strict protection measures for migratory species that have been characterized as being in danger of extinction throughout all or a significant portion of their ranges (species listed in Appendix I of the Convention); concluding agreements for the conservation and management of migratory species that have an unfavorable conservation status or would benefit significantly from international cooperation (species listed in Appendix II); and joint research and monitoring activities.

At present, more than 85 endangered migratory species are listed in Appendix I of the Convention, including the Siberian Crane, White-tailed Eagle, Hawksbill Turtle, Mediterranean Monk Seal and Dama Gazelle. Parties that are Range States of such species must endeavor to conserve and, where feasible and appropriate, restore those habitats that are necessary to remove the threat of extinction. These States must endeavor to prevent, remove, compensate for or minimize the adverse effects of activities or obstacles that impede or prevent migration, and prevent, reduce and control factors that are endangering or are likely to further endanger the species. The CMS prohibits the taking of species listed in Appendix I, although it provides exemptions for scientific purposes, improvement of propagation or survival of the species, traditional subsistence use, and extraordinary circumstances.

The CMS provides for the development of specialized regional agreements for species listed in Appendix II. To date, six agreements and six memorandums of understanding (MOUs) have been concluded. The six agreements are the: African-Eurasian Migratory Waterbirds Agreement (AEWA); Agreement on the Conservation of Seals in the Wadden Sea; Agreement on Small Cetaceans of the Baltic and North Seas (ASCOBANS); Agreement on the Conservation of Bats in Europe (EUROBATS); Agreement on Cetaceans of the Mediterranean and Black Sea (ACCOBAMS); and Agreement on the Conservation of Albatrosses and Petrels. The six MOUs are: Conservation Measures for the Siberian Crane; Conservation Measures for the Slender-billed Curlew; Conservation and Management of Marine Turtles and their Habitats of the Indian Ocean and South-East Asia; Conservation Measures for Marine Turtles of the Atlantic Coast of Africa; Conservation and Management of the Middle-European Population of the Great Bustard; and the Conservation and Restoration of the Bukhara Deer. These agreements and MOUs are open to all Range States of the species, regardless of whether they are Parties to the Convention.

The operational bodies of the CMS include the COP, the Standing Committee, the Scientific Council and a Secretariat provided by UNEP. The COP meets every two-and-a-half to three years to review and amend Appendices I and II. To date, the COP has met six times.

COP-5: The fifth meeting of the COP convened in Geneva, Switzerland, from 10-16 April 1997. COP-5 added 21 species to Appendix I and 22 species to Appendix II, and adopted a resolution identifying the Lesser Kestrel, Andean Flamingo, Puna Flamingo, Lesser White-fronted Goose and Mountain Gorilla as species for concerted actions. It also adopted resolutions endorsing draft guidelines for the harmonization of future agreements, and detailing financial and administrative manners. The COP endorsed an Action Plan for selected migratory birds listed in Appendix I and II, cooperative actions for Appendix II species, development of an Action Plan for the Great Cormorant in the African-Eurasian region and progress on the Agreement on the Conservation and Management of the Houbara Bustard.

COP-6: The sixth meeting of the COP was held in Cape Town, South Africa, from 4-16 November 1999. COP-6 adopted resolutions on: institutional arrangements; financial and administrative matters; by-catch; information management; Southern Hemisphere Albatross conservation; and concerted actions for Appendix I species. Seven species were added to Appendix I, including six rare birds, as well as manatees of the marine areas of Panama and Honduras. Thirty-one species were added under Appendix II, including dolphins of South-East Asia, seven species of petrel, a number of sturgeon and paddlefish species, and the Whale Shark. Recommendations were approved on cooperative actions for various Appendix II species, including Sahelo-Saharan Antelopes, the African Elephant, Houbara and Great Bustards, and Marine Turtles. Five additional Range States signed the MOU on the Conservation of Marine Turtles of the Atlantic Coast of Africa.

AEWA MOP-1: The first Meeting of the Parties (MOP) of the African-Eurasian Waterbird Agreement (AEWA) met in Cape Town, South Africa, from 7-9 November 1999. AEWA MOP-1 established the permanent AEWA Secretariat and Technical Committee, adopted a budget for 2000-2002, expanded its Action Plan to include all AEWA species and adopted Conservation Guidelines.


AGREEMENTS AND MEMORANDUMS OF UNDERSTANDING: Since COP-6, one agreement and three MOUs have been concluded under the CMS. The MOU on the Conservation and Management of the Middle-European Population of the Great Bustard was opened for signature on 5 October 2000. To date, it has been signed by Hungary, FYR Macedonia, Romania, Moldova, Bulgaria, Greece, Austria, Slovakia, Ukraine, Albania and Croatia.

The Agreement on the Conservation of Albatrosses and Petrels was opened for signature in Canberra, Australia, on 19 June 2001. The Agreement has been signed by Australia, Brazil, Chile, France, New Zealand, Peru, the United Kingdom and Spain. It is expected to enter into force in 2003.

The MOU on the Conservation and Management of Marine Turtles and their Habitats of the Indian Ocean and South-East Asia was concluded in Manila, the Philippines, at a meeting held from 19-23 June 2001. To date, 11 States have signed the MOU: Australia, Comoros, Iran, Kenya, Myanmar, the Philippines, Sri Lanka, Tanzania, the United Kingdom, the United States, and Vietnam. The MOU entered into effect on 1 September 2001.

On 16 May 2002 in Dushanbe, Tajikistan, the Environment Ministers of Kazakhstan, Tajikistan and Turkmenistan signed the MOU for the Conservation and Restoration of the Bukhara Deer.

AEWA TECHNICAL COMMITTEES: The AEWA Technical Committee has met three times since the Agreement entered into force: in Bonn, Germany, from 23-24 October 2000; Le Sambuc, France, from 5-7 November 2001; and Arusha, Tanzania, from 27-28 May 2002. The Committee has considered, inter alia: the GEF Flyway project; Implementation of the International Implementation Priorities for 2000-2004; a proposal for a resolution on phasing-out lead shot for hunting in wetlands; amendments to the Action Plan; a review of the Conservation Guidelines; and a joint work programme between the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands, the CMS and the AEWA.

CMS SCIENTIFIC COUNCIL: The Scientific Council has met twice since COP-6, in Edinburgh, Scotland, from 2-4 May 2001, and in Bonn from 14-17 September 2002. The Council was briefed on activities undertaken by the Secretariat and relevant work of other Conventions. They also considered proposals for listing various species in Appendices I and II. These were mostly non-contentious, although information gaps and technical questions were raised regarding a number of proposals relating to whale species. The Council arrived at a majority view that it could not advise the COP to support these specific proposals at this time. It also reviewed its modus operandi. The Council is expected to reconvene in 2004.

STANDING COMMITTEE: The 24th meeting of the CMS Standing Committee took place on Tuesday afternoon, 17 September 2002 to discuss administrative issues.


OPENING CEREMONY: CMS COP-7 will open at 9:00 am with the signing of the CMS Headquarters Agreement between the CMS Secretariat and the Federal Republic of Germany in the Plenary Hall of the Bundeshaus International Congress Centre. Keynote speakers will include the German Environment Minister J�rgen Trittin. The CMS-AEWA joint opening ceremony will then commence at 9:30 am.

PLENARY: The CMS COP-7 Plenary will convene at 11:30 am and 2:30 pm to discuss administrative matters, including rules of procedures, elections, agenda, establishment of committees, and admission of observers. There will also be reports from the Secretariat, the Standing Committee, the Scientific Council, and the Depositary.

MOU SIGNING CEREMONY: A number of MOUs between the CMS Secretariat and other institutions will be signed during an official ceremony starting at 6:00 pm in the Plenary Hall.

Further information


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