Summary report, 4–16 November 1999

6th Meeting of the CMS Conference of the Parties (COP-6) and 1st Meeting of the Parties to the African-Eurasian Waterbird Agreement (AEWA MOP-1)

The sixth Conference of the Parties (COP-6) to the Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals (CMS) convened from 10-16 November in Cape Town, South Africa. CMS COP-6 was preceded by the ninth session of the CMS Scientific Council, 4-5 November, the first Meeting of the Parties (MOP-1) of the African-Eurasian Waterbird Agreement (AEWA), 7-9 November, and the 20th session of the CMS Standing Committee, 9 November.

The CMS Scientific Council reviewed, inter alia: concerted actions for selected species listed in Appendix I and cooperative actions for Appendix II species; proposed amendments to Appendices I and II; and progress on the development of potential new Agreements. 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. CMS COP-6 adopted resolutions on: concerted actions for Appendix I species; institutional arrangements, including the Standing Committee and the Scientific Council; financial and administrative matters; by-catch; information management; and Southern hemisphere albatross conservation. It also approved recommendations on cooperative actions for Appendix II species, Sahelo-Saharan Antelopes, the African Elephant, Houbara and Great Bustards, and Marine Turtles.

In the year marking the 20th anniversary of the CMS, the majority of delegates characterized COP-6 as a significant success, ushering in a new stage in the Convention’s development. There was general agreement that the AEWA has contributed to the momentum of the CMS. The results of the Scientific Council were well received by COP-6 and delegates were pleased with the listing of an additional seven species in Appendix I and 30 species in Appendix II as well as with the many species-specific resolutions or recommendations. The resolution on by-catch was also identified as a significant stride forward, with many delegates hoping that advancing a common CMS position in other international fora will help to address the problem. Indeed, some felt COP-6 produced the most meaningful set of conservation measures yet to come from the CMS COP.


Migratory species are especially vulnerable to a wide range of threats, including habitat shrinkage in breeding areas, excessive hunting along migration routes and degradation of feeding grounds. In the early 1960s, organizations such as the World Conservation Union (IUCN) began to draw international attention to these problems and called for a convention on migratory species.

In 1972, the United Nations Conference on the Human Environment recognized the need for countries to cooperate in the conservation of animals that migrate across national boundaries or between areas of national jurisdiction and the sea. The West German Government took the lead and called for negotiation of a convention based on an IUCN draft, which resulted in the CMS. The CMS was negotiated with the intent of developing an agreement designed to allow expansion and revision of commitments, and it was envisioned that the CMS would provide a framework for the negotiation of species-specific sub-agreements that would address problems unique to particular migratory species. The CMS, also known as the Bonn Convention, was adopted in 1979 in Bonn, Germany, and entered into force on 1 November 1983. There are currently 65 Parties to the Convention.

The CMS recognizes that States must be the protectors of migratory species that live within or pass through their national jurisdictional boundaries and aims to conserve terrestrial, marine and avian migratory species throughout their range. The Convention constitutes a framework within 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 range (species listed in Appendix I); 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 70 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 Appendix I species are requested to: conserve and, where feasible and appropriate, restore those habitats of the species that are of importance to removing the species from danger of extinction; 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, with 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, five Agreements and three Memoranda of Understanding (MOU) have been concluded to this end and are detailed below. Such agreements 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 under the auspices of UNEP. The COP meets every two and a half to three years to review the lists of species and make any additions or deletions.

COP-5: The fifth session of the COP (COP-5) 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 and for review reports to be considered at COP-6. It also adopted resolutions: endorsing draft guidelines for the harmonization of future agreements; setting out a strategy for CMS development for the 1998-2000 triennium; supporting co-location of agreement Secretariats; and detailing financial and administrative manners. In addition, the COP adopted recommendations endorsing an Action Plan for selected migratory birds listed in Appendices 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.

CMS SCIENTIFIC COUNCIL: COP-1 of the CMS established the Scientific Council to, inter alia: provide advice on scientific matters; recommend and coordinate research on migratory species; recommend species to be included in Appendices I and II; and suggest specific conservation and management measures to be included in agreements. Council members are experts appointed by either the COP or individual Parties. At its eighth session held from 3-5 June 1998 in Wageningen, the Netherlands, the Council considered actions for selected Appendix I species, cooperative actions for Appendix II species and proposed allocation of US$600,000 set aside by COP-5 for projects to further implement the CMS. The Council also addressed a review of Appendix I listings conducted by the World Conservation Monitoring Center (WCMC), potential proposals to amend the CMS appendices and the development of new agreements on species, including the albatrosses of the Southern hemisphere, South African Sand Grouse and small cetaceans of Southern South America, Southeast Asia and Western Africa.


SEALS IN THE WADDEN SEA: The Agreement on the Conservation of Seals in the Wadden Sea was concluded in 1990 and entered into force on 1 October 1991. Developed in response to a dramatic decline in the Wadden Sea Seal population, the Agreement provides for a Conservation and Management Plan, the coordination of research and monitoring, prohibition of taking, habitat protection, reduction of pollution and public awareness efforts.

SMALL CETACEANS OF THE BALTIC AND NORTH SEAS (ASCOBANS): The Agreement on Small Cetaceans of the Baltic and North Seas (ASCOBANS) covers all small cetaceans, including species and sub-species of toothed whales, except for Sperm Whales. The Agreement, which was concluded in September 1991 and entered into force on 29 March 1994, encourages cooperation among Range States with respect to habitat conservation and management, pollution mitigation measures, surveys and research.

BATS IN EUROPE (EUROBATS): The Agreement on the Conservation of Bats in Europe (EUROBATS) was concluded in September 1991 and entered into force on 16 January 1994. EUROBATS’ signatories agree to: prohibit the deliberate capture, keeping or killing of bats; identify and protect important conservation sites; consider potential side effects of pesticides on bats; and promote research programmes on the conservation and management of bats.

AFRICAN-EURASIAN WATERBIRDS AGREEMENT (AEWA): The African-Eurasian Waterbirds Agreement (AEWA) is the largest agreement under the CMS, covering 172 species of birds ecologically dependent on wetlands in Africa and Eurasia, including the Middle East, Greenland and parts of Canada. The Action Plan set out in the AEWA details a wide range of conservation actions and addresses key issues such as species and habitat conservation, management of human activities, research and monitoring, education and information, and implementation. The AEWA was concluded in June 1995 and entered into force on 1 November 1999.

CETACEANS OF THE MEDITERRANEAN AND BLACK SEA (ACCOBAMS): The Agreement on Cetaceans of the Mediterranean and Black Sea (ACCOBAMS) requires signatories to, inter alia: protect dolphins, porpoises and whales; establish a network of protected areas important to their feeding, breeding and calving; enforce legislation to prevent the deliberate taking of cetaceans by vessels under their flag or within their jurisdiction; and carry out research and monitoring. ACCOBAMS was concluded in November 1996 and is expected to enter into force by the end of 1999.

SIBERIAN CRANE: The MOU concerning Conservation Measures for the Siberian Crane, concluded on 1 July 1993, was the first MOU under the Convention. The Range States have met three times since completion of the MOU and at their last meeting noted that recovery efforts are well coordinated and that these populations are remaining stable. The MOU was recently expanded to include China and now encompasses all populations of the Siberian Crane.

SLENDER-BILLED CURLEW: The MOU on Conservation Measures for the Slender-billed Curlew was concluded in 1994. The CMS Secretariat and BirdLife International established a Slender-billed Curlew Working Group to coordinate conservation activities toward the implementation of the MOU. BirdLife International recently completed a comprehensive long-term Action Plan for the species, as called for in the MOU.

MARINE TURTLES: The MOU on Conservation Measures for Marine Turtles is the result of the International Conference on the Conservation of Sea Turtles of the Atlantic Coast of Africa organized by the CMS Secretariat in collaboration with Côte d’Ivoire, which convened from 25-29 May 1999. The meeting also produced a draft Conservation Plan outlining measures to be undertaken in the short- and medium-term. Seven Range States signed the MOU at the meeting and five joined during COP-6.

AGREEMENTS UNDER DEVELOPMENT: Draft agreements are currently being developed or are envisaged for a wide range of migratory species, including Sahelo-Saharan Ungulates, albatrosses of the Southern hemisphere and bustards.


Pierre Devillers (European Community), Chair of the CMS Scientific Council, opened the ninth session of the Scientific Council on Thursday, 4 November. He welcomed participants and expressed great pleasure in convening the session in South Africa, a country that is an example of conservation success. Douglas Hykle, CMS Deputy Executive Secretary, welcomed participants and thanked the Governments of the Netherlands and South Africa for sponsoring and hosting the meeting. Reviewing the Secretariat’s intersessional activities, he remarked that the CMS is gaining momentum and noted ten new Parties to the Convention in the past year. Chair Devillers introduced, and the Council adopted, the meeting’s agenda (CMS/ScC.9/Doc.1).

Organizational Matters: The Scientific Council met in four sessions on Thursday and Friday, 4-5 November, to: hear reports on concerted action for selected Appendix I species; review proposed amendments to Appendices I and II; select species for concerted and cooperative actions; discuss new agreements; and address other matters. The outcomes of the Scientific Council were forwarded to CMS COP-6 for consideration.


Recalling the establishment of the concerted action process (Resolution 3.2) and emphasizing its importance for implementing the Convention, Chair Devillers invited updates on Appendix I species selected for concerted action. He also underscored the importance of collaboration with COP-appointed Councillors for developing species-specific Action Plans and of COP-allocated funds for implementation.

SAHELO-SAHARAN UNGULATES: Rosaline Beudels (Belgium), reporting on CMS action on Sahelo-Saharan Ungulates, highlighted the Seminar on the Conservation and Restoration of the Sahelo-Saharan Antelopes held in Djerba, Tunisia, in February 1998. The Seminar updated Sahelo-Saharan Ungulates status reports, amended and adopted an Action Plan and adopted the Djerba Declaration calling on countries to collaborate in implementing the Action Plan. She noted that 12 ungulate species are now listed in Appendix I.

MOUNTAIN GORILLAS: Reporting on concerted actions for Mountain Gorillas, Beudels noted that Mountain Gorilla populations are now restricted to the Virunga Mountains in Rwanda, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Uganda, as well as in Burundi. She estimated the Mountain Gorilla population at 600, but noted difficulties in assessment due to political issues. She identified deforestation and war as threats to Mountain Gorilla habitat and remarked that while the taking of Mountain Gorillas for trophies and recreational hunting has ceased, incidental taking continues. She highlighted the International Gorilla Conservation Programme, a coalition of the World Wide Fund for Nature-International, African Wildlife Foundation, and Fauna and Flora International. She said the Mountain Gorillas should remain on the list for concerted action (Appendix I) and suggested the CMS support the establishment of a peace park in the Virunga Mountains and encourage Uganda and Rwanda to become Parties to the CMS.

HUEMUL: Roberto Schlatter (COP-appointed Councillor) reported on activities related to the Huemul in South America. He clarified that there are two species of Huemul, one in the high Andes and the other in Southern forested regions, and that CMS activities focus on the latter. He described a joint project between Argentina and Chile with the goal of building observatories, to be managed by the Association of Wildlife of Argentina, for population assessment and monitoring.

FRANCISCAN DOLPHIN: Schlatter also reported on the Franciscan Dolphin project and a genetic analysis of the dolphin populations to be undertaken. He underscored the importance of regional technical meetings between Range States.

MONK SEAL: Luis Mariano Gonzalez (Spain) emphasized the Monk Seal’s critical status, with a total population of 350 in the Mediterranean Sea and 150 in the Atlantic Ocean. He drew attention to progress in implementing the Mediterranean Action Plan and the development of an Action Plan for the Atlantic Ocean region.

SIBERIAN CRANE: Hykle noted that the third meeting of Range States in Iran in December 1998 reviewed a previously-agreed Conservation Plan and revised the initial 1993 MOU to accommodate China’s participation, thereby extending the MOU to address the East Asian populations of the Siberian Crane. Hykle highlighted the GEF’s recent approval of up to US$350,000 for a Siberian Crane and other migratory waterbirds conservation project. He noted stabilization of, but concern with, the low number of birds in the West and Central Asian populations, and highlighted efforts to determine precise migration routes, protect breeding grounds and known wintering areas, and identify other potential wintering sites in Iran.

ANDEAN FLAMINGOS: Schlatter noted participation of Argentina, Chile, Peru and Bolivia in a project to conduct censuses of winter populations. He noted uncertainty surrounding breeding areas and linkages with water shortages. He highlighted work on a draft MOU and noted an upcoming workshop on the impact of industrial activities on Andean Flamingo habitat.

LESSER WHITE-FRONTED GOOSE: Jesper Madsen (Denmark) drew attention to the high mortality of the species while migrating in Russia and Kazakhstan due to hunting and highlighted an awareness campaign to inform inspectors and hunters of the need for protection. Madsen noted recent observations of large numbers of the geese in China but stressed that the West and East Asian groups did not appear to be mixing.

SLENDER-BILLED CURLEW: Gerard Boere, Chair of the Slender-billed Curlew Working Group, said the current population estimate for Slender-billed Curlew is between 50 and 270 and noted difficulties in identifying the species in the field. He highlighted a comprehensive long-term Action Plan and field activities undertaken in a number of countries. He noted the development of a database of observations and a bibliography of literature on the Slender-billed Curlew, as well as collaboration with the Russian Federation for information dissemination to fish and hunting inspectors. He noted upcoming activities including a survey expedition to the Iranian Gulf region to confirm observations as well as a meeting of the Range States.

GREAT BUSTARD: Attila Bankovics (Hungary) said Great Bustard populations in Hungary have stabilized in recent years thanks to conservation measures including, inter alia: public purchase of land where species are found; provision of extra food in winter; and protection of breeding areas. He noted that agricultural activities and predation also affect populations and called for protection in their natural habitat instead of collection and artificial incubation of eggs. Arnulf Müller-Helmbrecht, CMS Executive Secretary, said a majority of Range States are prepared to sign a MOU, although responses are still pending from the Czech Republic, Austria and Germany.

WHITE HEADED DUCK: Gonzales noted that immigration of hybrids from the UK continues to threaten populations in Spain and impedes a formal review process at each COP. He highlighted two cooperation programmes, one with France to achieve non-hybridized genetic pools and another with Morocco.

MARINE TURTLES: Hykle reported on the International Conference on the Conservation of Sea Turtles of the Atlantic Coast of Africa held in Côte d’Ivoire in May 1999, which resulted in a MOU between most West African Range States and a preliminary Conservation Plan. Addressing the status of Marine Turtle conservation at the global level, Colin Limpus (COP-appointed Councillor) traced conservation efforts since 1989, highlighting the 1989 South Pacific Regional Environment Programme on Sea Turtle Conservation, the 1996 Turtle Island Heritage Protected Area MOU, the 1997 Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) MOU, the 1999 CMS West African MOU, an Interamerican Treaty awaiting ratification and meetings in the Indian Ocean region on the topic. He said protection of nesting beaches is inadequate for conservation and drew attention to the special risk long-line fisheries poses to Loggerhead, Olive Ridley and Leatherback Turtles.

Chair Devillers proposed that the current specification of “Pacific” Marine Turtles in Appendix I be removed to reflect the need for concerted efforts on all Marine Turtles at the global level. Colin Galbraith (United Kingdom) circulated a UK draft resolution on by-catch which in part addresses the impact of by-catch by fisheries on Marine Turtle populations. The WCMC highlighted a Marine Turtle nesting database available on its Website.

CO-OPERATIVE ACTIONS FOR APPENDIX II SPECIES: Chair Devillers drew attention to a report on the status of the Corncrake prepared by BirdLife International. Schlatter reported on a Black-necked Swan project assessing habitat status and the impact of the El Niño phenomenon. Raul Vaz Ferreira (Uruguay) noted that the Black-necked Swan is suffering from food shortages in Uruguay.

PROPOSED AMENDMENTS TO APPENDICES I AND II: Chair Devillers introduced the proposals for amendments to Appendices I and II (UNEP/CMS/Conf.6.11 Annex) and reminded the Council that these proposals would be forwarded to COP-6.

Amendments of Appendix I: The Council considered and endorsed proposals to list seven new species in Appendix I: Manatee populations in Honduras and Panama; the Buff-breasted Sandpiper; the Strange-tailed Tyrant; the Saffron-cowled Blackbird; the Zelich’s Seedeater; the Chestnut Seedeater; and the Rufus-rumped Seedeater.

William Perrin (COP-appointed Councillor) presented a report regarding the possible inclusion of the Gangetic Dolphin and the Sei and Fin Whales in Appendix I (UNDP/CMS/ScC.9/Doc.7). He stated that the Gangetic Dolphin has an estimated population of 3500 to 5000 and is in serious decline. The Council agreed that the Gangetic Dolphin is a prime candidate for Appendix I inclusion, but emphasized that the proposal must be brought forward by a Range State, such as India. The Council did not agree to recommend inclusion of the Sei Whale and Fin Whale at this time, and postponed inclusion of the Manatee until a formal proposal is submitted.

Amendments of Appendix II: Chair Devillers introduced a proposal to list Manatee populations in Honduras and Panama. Wim Wolff (the Netherlands) suggested including all Manatee populations. The Council also considered and endorsed proposals to list the Arafura and Timor Sea populations of the Indian Ocean Bottlenose Dolphin and the Southeast Asian populations of the Pantropical Spotted Dolphin, Spinner Dolphin and Fraser’s Dolphin. Wolff expressed concern over the threats to petrel populations due to long-line fisheries by-catch and supported the listing of seven species: the Northern Giant Petrel; Southern Giant Petrel; White-chinned Petrel; Spectacled Petrel; Grey Petrel; Black Petrel; and Westland Petrel. Drawing attention to depletion of Whale Shark populations in Southeast Asia, Perrin proposed listing the species. Wolff suggested the Basking Shark should also be included.

Rainer Blanke (Germany) introduced a proposal to list 27 species of sturgeon and identified unsustainable catch for caviar as the species’ greatest threat. He pointed to the Caspian Sea and adjacent rivers as the primary harvesting areas and noted the destruction of spawning areas due to pollution and dams. Noting that some sturgeon species are addressed by the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species and Wild Flora and Fauna (CITES), he underscored the CMS’s role in regulating legal catch, addressing illegal catch and combating pollution, and called for a regional agreement. Pierre Pfeffer (COP-appointed Councillor) underscored the need for CMS to cooperate with CITES and suggested some sturgeon could qualify for Appendix I of the CMS. Chair Devillers cautioned that this could result in some caviar-exporting Range States losing interest in conserving sturgeon and addressing pollution in the Caspian Sea. An observer from Iran agreed that listing in Appendix I could result in a loss of interest and inadvertently encourage greater emphasis on oil excavation in the Caspian Sea. The Council endorsed all proposals.

SELECTION OF SPECIES FOR CONCERTED AND COOPERATIVE ACTION: COP-Appointed Councillors presented the Council with proposals for selecting Appendix I species for concerted action and formal review (CMS Resolution 3.2 and 4.2). They also suggested Appendix II species for cooperative action (CMS Recommendation 5.2). The Council agreed to include these species in a draft resolution to be forwarded to the COP.

Species Proposed for Concerted Action: Michael Moser (COP-appointed Councillor) highlighted elements to be considered before supplementing the list, inter alia: the existence of protection programmes; a sufficient number of Range States that are Parties to the Convention; and the possibility for realistic action. On this basis, he suggested the Fluff Tail, Blue Swallow and Aquatic Warbler be added. He noted existing local research programmes on these birds, which could facilitate development of action plans. Regarding a WCMC proposal to add ten new bird species, Moser said such action would be useless until Range States are willing to cooperate.

Beudels said the absence of collaboration of important Range States paralyzes protection of disappearing species and lamented the lack of immediately available data necessary to demonstrate the need for concerted action on the Snow Leopard. Schlatter, reporting on a variety of neo-tropical species, recommended inclusion of the Southern Marine Otter, Southern River Otter and Humboldt Penguin.

Species Proposed for Cooperative Action: Moser suggested adding the Jackass Penguin, albatrosses and the seven petrel species. Beudels suggested adding the African Elephant. Shlatter recommended adding dolphins of Southern South America.


SMALL CETACEANS AND OTHER THREATENED MAMMALS: Addressing small cetaceans and other threatened mammals in Southern South America, Schlatter highlighted the potential for implementing binding agreements for conservation and monitoring and stressed convening technical meetings to further progress. With regard to efforts in Southeast Asia, Perrin said economic and political turmoil in the region had obstructed progress. Stressing problems faced by small cetaceans, he called for international cooperation, increased awareness, transfer of expertise and more baseline information. He noted progress in Australia and the Philippines and identified Indonesia as a major area of concern with negligible work in progress. He highlighted a draft letter of agreement between Australia and Indonesia and a proposal for a joint initiative between the Philippines and Indonesia. With regard to the West African region, he noted a completed project in Senegal and the Gambia to collect basic information and build infrastructure.

ALBATROSSES OF THE SOUTHERN HEMISPHERE: Andrew McNee (Australia) noted the dearth of information on two-thirds of the 150 albatross populations in the world and emphasized that nearly half of the known populations are in decline and threatened by by-catch. He highlighted a recent Valdivia Group meeting hosted by Australia where consensus on the need for an agreement to cover all populations of the Southern hemisphere was reached. He supported: increasing action; enhancing dialogue with Range States; including countries with fishing activities on the high seas; and coordinating with other initiatives. McNee stressed a lack of confidence about the survival of many populations and some species, and called on the Council to support actions needed to conclude an agreement through the CMS. Martine Bigan (France) underscored France’s support for an agreement. Galbraith welcomed the initiative. John Cooper (BirdLife International) stressed the high mortality rate of the species and indicated support for an agreement. The Council agreed that the Range States with breeding areas should act to enable the initiative to progress.

SOUTH AFRICAN SAND GROUSEPieter Botha (South Africa) indicated that Botswana, Namibia and South Africa had collaborated on a MOU and elected a scientific adviser to begin drafting an Action Plan.

MARINE TURTLE: McNee called for a new regional instrument under CMS auspices to protect the species in the Indian Ocean and noted the report of the Consultation on Needs and Mechanisms for Regional Conservation and Management of Marine Turtles (UNEP/CMS/Conf.6/Inf.14).

AQUATIC WARBLER: Cooper called for protection of the species’ breeding habitat, mostly in Eastern Europe, and said additional data on migratory patterns should be compiled. He said Range States would convene to decide on the need for a MOU.


GUIDELINES ON THE USE OF SATELLITE TRACKING DEVICES: Chair Devillers reported on a workshop held at the Council’s eighth session, which concluded that the CMS is an appropriate forum to review the ethical and practical issues surrounding tracking devices. However, workshop participants stressed that the CMS should only intervene when either a Party requests the help of the CMS or the CMS is funding a project involving tracking devices. Devillers noted that the CMS has not taken any action on this issue.

REVIEW OF DRAFT RESOLUTIONS: On the UK draft resolution on by-catch, Limpus recommended that the resolution be broadened to identify the wide variety of fisheries responsible for killing Marine Turtles. He also suggested adding a paragraph mandating the CMS to present its position at international fisheries meetings and other relevant fora. The Council also reviewed draft resolutions to be forwarded to the COP on institutional arrangements for the Scientific Council and standardization of taxonomic nomenclature for the CMS Appendices, which would standardize taxonomy with CITES.

COUNCIL ELECTIONS: On the election of the Council Chair and Vice-Chair, Chair Devillers noted that no nomination had been submitted for the Vice-Chair and suggested a written election process via post with nominations to be submitted by 1 January 2000. The Council elected Galbraith to serve as its Chair.

MEETING CLOSURE: With regard to the date and location for the 10th session of the Scientific Council, Hykle proposed that the Council meet in the first half of 2001 with the location to be determined. Chair Devillers thanked delegates for their work and drew the 9th session of the Scientific Council to a close at 5:45 pm.


On Saturday, 6 November, Pieter Botha (South Africa) welcomed delegates and recalled that 1999 marked the 20th anniversary of the CMS. He estimated the AEWA MOP-1 would draw 150 delegates from 80 countries and COP-6 would bring together 250 delegates from over 100 countries. He noted that the presence of many non-Parties signaled growing interest in the CMS.

Mohammed Valli Moosa, Minister of Environmental Affairs and Tourism of South Africa, reviewed the South African State of the Environment Report and highlighted agreements with neighboring countries, including Mozambique and Zimbabwe, to create trans-frontier wildlife protection parks.

Geke Faber, State Secretary for Agriculture, Nature Management and Fisheries of the Netherlands, said AEWA implementation should help achieve sustainable development and serve as an example for species conservation. She called for close collaboration with UNEP, training and information programmes, joint implementation with the CMS and eventual expansion of the AEWA to include forestry and other fields.

Gila Altmann, Parliamentarian State Secretary, German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety, stressed the importance of sound research in formulating effective conservation strategies. She welcomed the AEWA Secretariat’s relocation to Bonn and extended an invitation to host CMS COP-7. She stressed that the CMS supplements, rather than duplicates, the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) and urged non-Parties to join the CMS. Kas Hamman, Director of Environment, West Cape Province of South Africa, welcomed participants to the West Cape area and described its unique ecological features.

Speaking on behalf of NGOs, David Pritchard (BirdLife International) lauded the openness of the CMS process to NGO participation and highlighted the NGO’s significant input to the CMS. He called for increased coordination between global conventions and for qualitative national reporting. He signaled NGOs’ intent to question the lack of progress on some initiatives, and called for timely, selective and appropriate resource allocation. The South African Post Office presented a series of CMS species stamps in recognition of the Convention.

Klaus Töpfer, UNEP Executive Director, identified the CMS as an aspect of biodiversity conservation and underscored the close linkages between cultural and biological diversity. He stressed the need for cultural solidarity to address global challenges and emphasized the need to link conservation of migratory species with overcoming poverty. Describing migratory species as travelers without passports, uninterested in ideological differences or borders, he stressed the need for transboundary cooperation for their conservation.


Arnulf Müller-Helmbrecht, CMS Executive Secretary, opened AEWA MOP-1 and invited delegates to consider the provisional agenda (AEWA/MOP 1.1). He asked that welcome addresses be submitted in writing to the Secretariat. Gerard Boere, Secretary- General of MOP-1, noting a full agenda and limited time, encouraged delegates to begin substantive work. Delegates adopted the agenda and the rules of procedure (AEWA/MOP 1.4). Mbareck Diop (Senegal) was elected MOP-1 Chair and F.H.J. von der Assen (the Netherlands) was elected Vice-Chair. Diop thanked delegates for his election, the Netherlands for hosting the Interim Secretariat, UNEP and the Bonn Convention.

The Plenary agreed to establish a Credentials Committee comprised of delegates from Germany, the Gambia, the Netherlands, Monaco and Tanzania. The Plenary adopted a resolution (AEWA/MOP 1.5) granting the following countries, which have met the requirements to become a Party but are awaiting finalization of the procedure, full participating status with the right to vote: Benin, Denmark, Finland, South Africa and the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia. FRANCE said it had signed but not ratified the Agreement. The Plenary took note of ratifications of the Agreement and the dates of entry into force for various Parties (AEWA/MOP 1.6). [Note: For a list of Parties to the AEWA, go to]

Bert Lenten (AEWA Interim Secretariat) highlighted the work of the Interim Secretariat, including promotion of the Agreement, preparations for MOP-1, funding of participation and gaining ratifications necessary to enable the Agreement to enter into force on 1 November 1999 (AEWA/MOP 1.5).

Organization of Work: Delegates met in five Plenary sessions from 7-9 November to address, inter alia, amendments to the Action Plan, institutional and financial arrangements, Conservation Guidelines, international implementation priorities, the establishment of an international register for AEWA projects and a draft management plan for the Brent Goose. The Plenary established two working groups: one on financial and administrative matters, chaired by F.H.J. von der Assen; and the other on technical and biological matters chaired by David Stroud (United Kingdom). The working groups met in the evening on Sunday, 7 November, and intermittently throughout the day on Monday, 8 November.


ACTION PLAN FOR THE DARK-BELLIED BRENT GOOSE: Jan Willem Sneep (the Netherlands) detailed the Action Plan for the Dark-bellied Brent Goose (AEWA/MOP 1.15). He said the species is not currently threatened, yet requires special protection since it is dependant on dwindling habitat and is increasingly hunted. He said the Action Plan aims for population equilibrium and identified those Range States most involved in implementation as Denmark, France, Germany, the UK, the Netherlands and Russia.

GEF PROPOSAL: Michael Moser (Wetlands International) presented a GEF proposal to support catalytic activities for the network of critical wetlands areas (AEWA/Inf.1.11) in developing countries. He called for project development funds of US$500,000 for the year 2000, noting that the GEF will provide US$350,000. The full GEF project, starting in April 2001, is expected to contain the following elements: flyway and national protected area planning; capacity building; and participatory demonstration site projects. RAMSAR, SWITZERLAND and UNEP expressed support for the project. SENEGAL asked for clarification on local government participation. GUINEA inquired about eligibility of countries. Moser clarified that governmental agencies are expected to implement the GEF project locally and that developing country status and ratification of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) determined eligibility.

AEWA LOGO: Lenten introduced the proposed AEWA logo, which is comprised of three symbolic components: blue to reflect water; a universal bird wing; and a slanted font, evoking a North to South migratory movement. Müller-Helmbrecht advised that the logo may be revised to reflect UNEP’s corporate identity.


The following is a summary of discussions and subsequent resolutions adopted by the MOP. The Parties also adopted resolutions: setting the date of MOP-2 for the end of 2002 or early 2003 and accepting Germany’s offer to host MOP-2 (AEWA/Res.1.11/Rev.1); and thanking the host Governments of South Africa and the Netherlands (AEWA/Res.1.12).

ESTABLISHMENT OF THE AEWA PERMANENT SECRETARIAT: On Sunday, 7 November, GERMANY offered to circulate a letter detailing its offer and conditions for hosting the Secretariat. Müller-Helmbrecht reviewed the revised Terms of Reference (TOR) for the Secretariat arrangement (AEWA/MOP 1.10) and stressed the importance of establishing administrative cohesion between CMS Agreement Secretariats. NIGER, on behalf of the African Group, requested that an Africa focal point be created within the Secretariat and that some form of representation be established in an African country. Chair Diop welcomed this proposal and suggested that the issue be addressed by MOP-2. On Tuesday, 9 November, the MOP adopted a resolution (AEWA/Res.1.1/Rev.1) accepting Germany’s offer to co-locate the AEWA Secretariat with the CMS Secretariat in Bonn.

FINANCIAL AND ADMINISTRATIVE MATTERS: On Sunday, 7 November, Lenten introduced the proposed 2000-2002 budget for the AEWA (AEWA/MOP 1.12). GERMANY remarked that the budget estimates overlooked the financial assistance offered by Germany, contingent on locating the Secretariat in Bonn, which includes DM50,000 per year and payments for office equipment and interpretation. SWITZERLAND noted the draft budget did not consider cost reduction arising from synergies with other Conventions. SENEGAL stressed the inclusion of assistance for developing country experts. NIGER called for including assistance for project implementation in the field and noted a potential need for more Secretariat staff. FINLAND, on behalf of the European Union (EU), suggested including voluntary contributions and work in the field in the small conservation grants fund. ZIMBABWE called for provision for some Secretariat representation in Africa. A working group, chaired by von der Assen, met in the evening to revise the proposed budget to accommodate the proposed German contributions and other amendments.

Reviewing a draft resolution on financial and administrative matters on Monday, 8 November, delegates noted the working group’s amendments to budget estimates and yearly contributions as well as separate notation of the German voluntary contribution of DM50,000 per year. On Tuesday, 9 November, the MOP adopted a revised resolution. The UK supported the resolution but asked the Secretariat to seek ways to minimize the third year costs. The final resolution (AEWA/Res.1.2/Rev.2) adopts a budget for 2000-2002 and requires Parties to contribute at an agreed scale in accordance with the UN scale of assessments. The resolution takes note of the International Implementation Priorities for 2000-2004, requests prompt payment of Party contributions, invites voluntary contributions from non-Parties and approves the TOR for budget administration.

NATIONAL REPORT FORMAT: On Tuesday, 9 November, the UK introduced a draft format for reports of the Parties (AEWA/Inf.1.10). The proposed format includes: a national overview; evaluation of progress and determination of future targets; and information and data appendices. In response, Boere introduced a draft resolution on the establishment of a triennial national report format (AEWA/Res.1.3/Rev.1), which was adopted by the MOP on Wednesday, 10 November. The resolution encourages Parties to prepare preliminary reports by 1 September 2000 for review at the first Technical Committee meeting and recommends Parties consult with relevant NGOs and related international conventions when preparing reports. An annex details the format for the national reports comprised of three sections: an implementation overview; questions related to all Action Plan headings; and appendices conveying relevant data.

INTERNATIONAL IMPLEMENTATION PRIORITIES FOR 2000-2004: On Tuesday, 9 November, Michael Moser (Wetlands International) introduced a draft on international implementation priorities for 2000-2004 (AEWA/MOP 1.9). The draft identified 30 practical projects and suggested a rolling list of priority projects. TOGO and SWITZERLAND supported development of a GEF proposal to support conservation measures for the network of critical wetland areas for migratory waterbirds (AEWA/Inf.1.11). FRANCE offered a financial contribution equal to the amount it would provide if it were a Party. On Wednesday, 10 November, the MOP adopted the resolution (AEWA/Res.1.4/Rev.1), as amended, which includes: an annex outlining additional priority projects; the original international implementation priorities for 2000-2004 as the medium-term priorities for AEWA implementation; and the proposal requesting GEF support. The resolution also notes the importance of identifying the key sites network and migration patterns of AEWA species, as well as how migratory waterbird conservation can contribute to sustainable development, and urges the development of new international cooperation projects based on the priorities and the creation of innovative mechanisms and partnerships.

ESTABLISHMENT OF AN INTERNATIONAL PROJECT REGISTER: On Tuesday, 9 November, Moser introduced a draft register of international projects (AEWA/MOP 1.17) and underscored the importance of data sharing among Parties. He highlighted the value of the extensive research carried out by local groups and described the criteria for the inclusion of projects, including: significant and direct contribution to the AEWA principles; involvement of at least two countries in information exchange, cooperative research, exchange of expertise or financial assistance; and involvement of at least one Party. Moser noted the establishment of the registry as a rolling document to be reviewed by the Technical Committee for submission to each MOP and the involvement of the CBD Clearing-House Mechanism (CHM) for dissemination of project information. On Wednesday, 10 November, the MOP adopted a resolution accepting the proposed amendments (AEWA/Res.1.5/Rev.1).

The resolution establishes an international project register to facilitate training and technical and financial cooperation among Parties and to coordinate measures to maintain a favorable conservation status for migratory waterbird species. It also requires the Technical Committee to approve new projects for inclusion and the AEWA Secretariat to act as the depositary. The resolution gives a short description of each project and lists key partners.

CONTRIBUTIONS IN CASH AND IN KIND: On Monday, 8 November, Boere introduced the guidelines on financial contributions, including contributions in cash and in kind (AEWA/MOP 1.13). He proposed that voluntary contributions and contributions in kind be administered according to CMS financial guidelines. He feared that the acceptance of contributions in kind, in lieu of cash payment of obligatory contributions, might set a dangerous precedent as such payment would be difficult to implement. The MOP adopted the resolution (AEWA/Res.1.6/Rev.2) on Wednesday, 10 November. The resolution recognizes that conditions must be created to allow all Range States to contribute to the AEWA. In this regard, the Secretariat, in collaboration with the Technical Committee and the COP, is requested to assess the feasibility of Parties making in kind instead of cash contributions.

ESTABLISHMENT OF A SMALL CONSERVATION GRANTS FUND: On Monday, 8 November, Boere introduced a small grants fund project. GERMANY said the AEWA Secretariat was too small to organize such a fund and supported administration by a separate entity. Delegates amended the text to request the Technical Committee to assist the Secretariat in consulting with Parties and potential sponsors on funding, rather than conduct such consultations independently (AEWA/Res.1.7/Rev.1). On Wednesday, 10 November, Lenten noted amendments referring to the CMS guidelines for acceptance of financial contributions. The MOP adopted the amended resolution (AEWA/Res.1.7/Rev.2) establishing a Small Conservation Grants Fund to operate from the time of MOP-2. The resolution instructs the Secretariat to establish an interim mechanism to enable voluntary contributions for the purpose of providing small grants between MOP-1 and MOP-2, and urges Parties and donors to make contributions. An annex contains the CMS guidelines for acceptance of financial contributions.

ESTABLISHMENT OF THE TECHNICAL COMMITTEE: On Sunday, 7 November, Lenten outlined the proposed geographical division of the Agreement area and rules of procedure for the AEWA Technical Committee (AEWA/MOP 1.11). He said five African and four European regions had been defined and noted that the Committee would be comprised of one expert from each of the nine regions as well as three independent and three NGO experts. GERMANY, supported by MONACO and SWITZERLAND, suggested that an observer from each contracting Party receive a de facto invitation to all Committee meetings.

On Tuesday, 9 November, the MOP adopted the resolution (AEWA/Res.1.8/Rev.2) stating that the Technical Committee will be comprised of representatives from: each of the nine geographical regions; international organizations, IUCN, Wetlands International and the International Council for Game and Wildlife Conservation (CIC); and three experts from different fields. The nine geographical regions are: North- and Southwestern Europe; Eastern Europe; Central Europe; Southwestern Asia; Northern Asia; Central Africa; Southern Africa; Western Africa; and Eastern Africa. It invites each Party to nominate, before April 2000, a qualified technical expert to act as a focal point to serve as a liaison with the Technical Committee and to disseminate the work of the Committee in their country. The rules of procedure for meetings of the Technical Committee are annexed to the resolution (annex 1) as are the nine regions and nominated representatives, alternates and experts (annex 2).

AMENDMENTS TO THE ACTION PLAN: On Sunday, 7 November, Derek Scott (Wetlands International) introduced proposed amendments to the Action Plan (AEWA/MOP1.7), which would expand it to include all species under the AEWA and update the status of those species already covered. He noted more details on the status of the species could be found in the Report on the Conservation Status of Migratory Waterbirds (AEWA/Inf.1.1). The EU supported the amendments, but noted the need to provide more detail on certain species and to identify which species would be subject to hunting. The Federation of Fieldsports Association of the EU (FACE) noted the Action Plan sets the phase-out date for lead shot as the year 2000 and questioned the feasibility of this goal for many Range States. Delegates agreed to further discuss these issues in the working group on technical and biological matters, which subsequently established a contact group to address lead shot.

On Tuesday, 9 November, the MOP adopted a resolution (AEWA/Res.1.9/Rev.2) integrating the proposed amendments. The resolution, inter alia: asks the Technical Committee to consider species for addition to the Action Plan; notes the high degree of uncertainty related to current population estimates of the Jack Snipe; requests the Secretariat to monitor implementation of the amendments and to stimulate preparation of single-species action plans for species with an unfavorable conservation status; and calls on Parties to provide resources for undertaking priority actions at the international level.

PHASE-OUT OF LEAD SHOT: On Tuesday, 9 November, a contact group, chaired by J.W. Clorley (United Kingdom), was established to discuss the phase-out date for lead shot. Clorley noted the group’s support for retaining the year 2000 phase-out date, as it appears in the AEWA Action Plan, with the addition of text indicating that the Parties will exchange information on how phase-out measures could be expedited. Delegates agreed to address this issue in a stand-alone resolution and concurred that the resolution would include reference to some Range States’ difficulty in complying with the year 2000 phase-out goal. The FRENCH NATIONAL WATERGAME ASSOCIATION called for reference to the role of lead shot manufacturers. Delegates adopted a resolution (AEWA/Res.1.14), which also requests that the Technical Committee review best practices and hold consultations with hunting associations and gun and ammunition manufacturers.

CONSERVATION GUIDELINES: On Sunday, 7 November, Janine van Vessem (Wetlands International) introduced draft Conservation Guidelines developed by Wetlands International (AEWA/MOP 1.8). She summarized guidelines for: developing single-species action plans; identifying and tackling emergency situations; preparing site inventories; sustainably harvesting migratory species; regulating trade in migratory species; developing eco-tourism in wetlands; addressing conflicts between waterbirds and human activities; and developing a waterbird monitoring protocol. She said the proposed guidelines were applicable to all species and Range States, and should be updated regularly by the Technical Committee. The EU welcomed the guidelines but emphasized that Parties are not obligated to strictly abide by them. With regard to the guidelines on trade, he noted possible overlap and synergy with CITES.

On Tuesday, 9 November, Lenten introduced the draft resolution (AEWA/Res.1.10/Rev.2) and noted the addition of an annex on the outcomes of the working group on technical and biological matters, which had deliberated on the guidelines. The EU, stressing the non-legal and evolving nature of the guidelines, requested qualifying that they provide “initial” guidance. He opposed annexing the outcomes of the working group and called for inclusion of a paragraph requesting the Technical Committee to revise the initial guidelines as a matter of urgency. The adopted resolution accepts the Conservation Guidelines and includes provisions for initial guidance for Parties in implementing the AEWA and its Action Plan. The resolution also: calls on Parties to use the guidelines in a practical way with minimum bureaucracy; urges the bilateral and multilateral donor agencies to take priority actions at the national and international level, as identified in the annex to the resolution; and instructs the Secretariat and Technical Committee to review the guidelines on a regular basis.


Müller-Helmbrecht commended MOP-1 on its productive and consensual decisions and emphasized that the CMS Secretariat would collaborate effectively with the AEWA Secretariat in Bonn. EUROBATS congratulated the Parties and looked forward to cooperative work with the AEWA Secretariat. Boere expressed satisfaction with the outcomes of MOP-1 and thanked NGOs for contributing to meeting documents. He thanked Müller-Helmbrecht, the South African Government and Chair Diop for making the meeting a success. Diop thanked delegates, working group Chairs, South Africa, the Netherlands, the Interim Secretariat and Boere for their work and closed the meeting at 1:30 pm.


On Wednesday, 10 November, Gerard Boere, Acting Chair of the Standing Committee, opened CMS COP-6. He introduced delegates to the provisional agenda (UNEP/CMS/Conf.6.1/Rev.1). With regard to the COP rules of procedure (UNEP/CMS/Conf.6.4), he noted a Standing Committee proposal to bracket the rule stipulating that Parties three or more years in arrears are not eligible to vote (Rule 14.2). Delegates agreed.

Müller-Helmbrecht presented the report of the Secretariat (UNEP/CMS/Conf.6.5.1) and said this past year, marking the 20th anniversary of the CMS, represents the CMS’s most significant annual growth with the addition of ten new Parties. [Note: For a list of CMS Parties, go to] He underscored that expanding CMS membership remains an essential task. Highlighting the establishment of more agreements and MOUs, he noted the importance of effective coordination, information exchange and cooperation within the CMS framework. He noted efforts to stimulate coordination with other conventions, as well as to demonstrate that CMS instruments are tailored to compliment the CBD.

Reporting on the Standing Committee, Boere noted it had met four times since COP-5, and stressed the Committee’s attention to the draft Strategic Plan for the CMS (UNEP/CMS/Conf.6.12). He also noted efforts to synchronize the terms of office for Standing Committee members and the need to promote attendance of NGOs as observers.

Devillers highlighted progress in the Scientific Council’s work. On concerted actions for Appendix I species, he noted their primacy for active conservation and implementing the CMS in the field. Reporting on Annex II agreements in progress, Devillers highlighted forthcoming agreements on the Sand Grouse and albatrosses of the Southern Hemisphere. On the more recently developed cooperative action tool, Devillers noted support for identifying the African Elephant for cooperative action and proposals to add the Whale Shark and sturgeon to Appendix II.

Moser, noting the lack of Parties in Asia, proposed the appointment of a Councillor on fauna in Asia and possibly Oceania in order to raise the CMS profile in those regions. PAKISTAN identified the White-headed Duck as an important species for concerted action.

Presenting the report of the Depositary (UNEP/CMS/Conf.6.5.4), GERMANY noted actions to produce a new Headquarters Agreement; events in celebration of the 20th anniversary of the Convention, including a film on the Convention; and annual allocation to the Trust fund of a voluntary contribution of DM100,000 from Germany.

Responding to a request for updates on accession to the Convention, CÔTE D’IVOIRE assured it would attend COP-7 as a member. ZIMBABWE noted its imminent signing of the CMS and the AEWA. BULGARIA expressed gratitude for financial support enabling it to become a member.

The Plenary elected Tanya Abrahamse (South Africa) as COP-6 Chair, Robert Hepworth (United Kingdom) as COP-6 Vice-Chair and Chair of the COW, and Jorge Cravino (Uruguay) as COW Vice-Chair. Chair Abrahamse thanked delegates for her election and welcomed them to her country.

Organization of the meeting: During the COP, delegates met in daily Plenary sessions to address organizational work. The COW convened in eight sessions from Wednesday through Tuesday, 10-16 November, to consider, inter alia: agreements on Appendix II species (Article IV agreements), institutional arrangements, amendments to Appendices I and II, financial and administrative arrangements and species-specific draft resolutions. Working groups were established and met intermittently throughout the COP to discuss the following topics: budgetary matters, information management, the Strategic Plan, and various species. On Friday, 12 November, delegates attended a special ceremony for signing the MOU on Marine Turtles of the African Atlantic coast.


REVIEW OF AGREEMENTS: Müller-Helmbrecht introduced the review of Article IV Agreements concluded or under development (UNEP/CMS/Conf.6.9) and invited Agreement Secretariats or representatives to provide reports. He highlighted the Agreement on the Conservation of Seals in the Wadden Sea as the first Agreement to enter into force and noted that while the seal populations have recovered, the environmental conditions remain unsatisfactory.

Gerhard Adams (Germany) reported on the Agreement on the Conservation of Small Cetaceans of the Baltic and North Sea (ASCOBANS), noting its Secretariat has moved to Bonn. He identified by-catch as the biggest threat to cetaceans and estimated it kills 4,400 Harbor Porpoise annually.

Bernard Fautrier (Monaco) hoped the Agreement on the Conservation of Cetaceans of the Black Sea, Mediterranean Sea and Contiguous Atlantic Area (ACCOBAMS) would enter into force within a year. Noting Monaco hosts the interim Secretariat, he offered to host MOP-1 and the permanent Secretariat.

Highlighting the Agreement on the Conservation of Bats in Europe (EUROBATS), Andreas Streit (EUROBATS Secretariat) remarked that populations have suffered from, inter alia, increased agriculture, forest exploitation, degradation of the countryside and ill-founded public prejudices against the species. GHANA, NIGERIA and PARAGUAY endorsed extension of the EUROBATS agreement. BULGARIA commended EUROBATS on its success in raising public awareness of the importance of bats.

Reporting on the AEWA, Boere remarked that the AEWA encompasses the largest geographical area and the most species of all CMS Agreements. He highlighted the results of AEWA MOP-1, including: establishment of the permanent Secretariat; adoption of the budget; expansion of the Action Plan to include all AEWA species; and establishment of the Technical Committee.

Hykle updated delegates on the third meeting of the Range States of the Siberian Crane MOU held in Iran, which drew the participation of all ten Range States. He reported on a recently approved US$350,000 GEF project encompassing Russia, Kazakhstan, Iran and China.

Regarding the Slender-billed Curlew MOU, Boere highlighted the establishment of an expert network, a database and recent research activities. He noted a strong belief among experts that nesting sites must be located in the Middle East and the consideration of a MOU between Iran and the Netherlands to facilitate research.

Hykle reported on the MOU on Marine Turtles of the African Atlantic coast and noted that Range States would be able to sign the MOU at COP-6. NIGERIA, GHANA and TOGO stated their intent to sign.

Müller-Helmbrecht provided updates on the agreements under development for the Houbara Bustard and the Great Bustard. He noted that only a few unsolved issues, some of a legal nature, impede progress on the agreements. BIRDLIFE INTERNATIONAL lamented the lack of progress on these agreements and underscored the CMS’s duty to solve legal problems in a timely manner.

AUSTRALIA reported on a workshop held in Australia that resulted in a commitment to new regional conservation instruments for Indian Ocean turtles. On albatrosses of the Southern hemisphere, URUGUAY highlighted mortality due to fishing activities and noted the recent Australian-hosted Valdivia Group meeting on albatross conservation as well as a draft resolution on Southern hemisphere albatross conservation.

Müller-Helmbrecht noted other species initiatives in progress on ungulates in the Arabian peninsula, Sand Grouse, Sahelo-Saharan Antelopes and the Aquatic Warbler. He also identified African Elephants and sturgeon as priorities.

GUIDELINES FOR HARMONIZATION OF AGREEMENTS: Müller-Helmbrecht introduced draft guidelines for the harmonization of future agreements (UNEP/CMS/Conf.6.10). He said delays in producing the guidelines had prevented consultation in an open working group, as requested by COP-5, and noted the Secretariat’s recommendation that the COP proceed with the consultation and request the Standing Committee to supervise finalization of the guidelines. He underscored that the guidelines are not legally or politically binding. EUROBATS proposed that agreements, as amended, apply to new Parties. The UK and EGYPT supported further consultation and the COW concurred.

INFORMATION MANAGEMENT AND NATIONAL REPORTS: On Wednesday, 10 November, Chair Hepworth invited the Secretariat to review Party reports on CMS implementation. Hykle noted variation in length and format of the reports and said less than half of the Parties had submitted reports thereby preventing meaningful synthesis. Introducing a WCMC project proposal to harmonize CMS national reports (UNEP/CMS/Conf.6.6), Tim Johnson (WCMC) highlighted the objectives of the proposal, including: an evaluation of the benefits of synthesizing reports; recommendations to improve reporting; and determination of linkages and synergies with other biodiversity conventions.

GUINEA stressed that the large number of biodiversity-related international conventions, combined with limited time and technical resources, make it difficult for countries to report on CMS implementation and called for format standardization with other conventions in a timely manner. The UK recommended including best practices in the WCMC project. AUSTRALIA suggested that Parties who have submitted reports should provide guidance to others and said minimum standards of reporting should be included.

Hykle recalled that COP-5 had commissioned a WCMC study to harmonize the CMS national reporting requirements and Johnson introduced the study (UNEP/CMS/Conf.6.7). He explained that it endeavors to: analyze the CMS text; review information needs, sources and dissemination requirements; and assess stakeholders’ needs. A working group on information management and national reports, chaired by Svein Aage Mehli (Norway), was established to review and distill the content of the large WCMC study.

On Monday, 15 November, Chair Mehli presented the draft resolution on information management and national reporting to the COW (UNEP/CMS/Res.6.11). He drew attention to the annex that lists 19 suggested actions related to the Strategic Plan, their priority levels, resource needs, degree of difficulty, capacity and partners. He also highlighted the proposed implementation costs through 2005. The Plenary adopted the resolution (UNEP/CMS/Res.6.11/Rev.1) on Tuesday, 16 November.

The resolution notes the importance of harmonizing reporting procedures between CMS Agreements, MOUs and other conventions, and recognizes difficulties with reporting faced by some countries. The resolution recommends that the national reporting format include, inter alia: a minimum information requirement; a voluntary format for COP-7 reporting; identification of Focal Points at the national level; and assistance for developing countries. The annex establishes as a high-priority action the review of Party reports to develop an overview of national and global CMS implementation in order to design revised guidelines and/or formats. Other high priority actions include: finalizing the CMS information management plan; establishing databases for listed species, agreements, MOUs and projects; and developing methodologies for sharing information within the CMS, such as posting information on the Internet, sharing species data, and web forums. A timeframe and implementation cost guide estimates costs through 2005 totaling US$255,000.

CONCERTED ACTION FOR APPENDIX I SPECIES: On Thursday, 11 November, Devillers introduced measures to improve the conservation status of Appendix I species (UNEP/CMS/Conf.6.8) and the related draft resolution (UNEP/CMS/Res.6.1/Rev.1). He explained that the procedure for assigning a species concerted action is two tiered; the species is first listed in Appendix I and then chosen for concerted action by the Scientific Council. He identified three criteria for concerted action: adequate Range State participation; identification of definable concerted action; and identification of able implementing agents in the Range States. The resolution was adopted by the COW on Monday, 15 November.

The resolution complements the list of species for concerted action, as provided for in the recommendation of the ninth meeting of the Scientific Council. Additions to the list of species include the Ferriginous Duck, Whitewinged Flufftail, Blue Swallow, Aquatic Warbler, Southern Marine Otter, Southern River Otter, and Humboldt Penguin. The resolution provides that concerted action for all species listed will be provided until 2002 (UNEP/CMS/Res.6.1/Rev.2).

COOPERATIVE ACTIONS FOR APPENDIX II SPECIES: On Friday, 12 November, Chair Hepworth introduced the draft recommendation on cooperative action for Appendix II species (UNEP/CMS/Rec.6.2/Rev.1). The recommendation calls for cooperative action for: new species, subject to their inclusion in Appendix II, including seven species of petrels, the Whale Shark and 18 species of sturgeon; and for species already listed in Appendix II, including the African Elephant, the African Penguin, all albatrosses and dolphins of South America. Additionally, it extends cooperative action to those species selected for cooperative action at COP-5 (Recommendation 5.2) for the biennium 2001-2002. The recommendation also provides for a review process ensuring that regular update of species status is provided by the relevant focal point Councillor.

STRATEGIC PLAN FOR CMS DEVELOPMENT: On Thursday, 11 November, Hykle introduced the Strategic Plan for the future development of CMS (UNEP/CMS/Conf.6.12), highlighting two parts: a review of progress in implementing COP-identified priority actions; and objectives and priority actions for the period 2000-2005. He identified the Plan’s objective to, inter alia: promote the use of the different tools available under the CMS; facilitate and improve implementation of the CMS through review of national legislation, streamlining of feedback and capacity-building; enhance global membership; mobilize financial resources; and strengthen institutional linkages with NGOs. The EU expressed concern on possible overlap with other conventions and called for prioritization of field actions. A working group chaired by Anne-Marie Delahunt (Australia) was established to discuss the Strategic Plan.

On Friday, 12 November, the working group reviewed and prioritized the objectives and actions, as outlined in the Strategic Plan. The group determined that the Strategic Plan was too dense and long for adoption by the COP, and supported attaching an addendum to the draft resolution on the Strategic Plan summarizing the main elements.

On Monday, 15 November, Chair Delahunt, presenting the CMS Strategic Plan resolution (UNEP/CMS/Res.6.3/Rev.1) to the COW, detailed the resolution addendum which distills the main aspects of the original Strategic Plan document (UNEP/CMS/Conf.6.12).

The resolution recognizes the value of the comprehensive Strategic Plan and requests the UNEP Executive Director to consider the Strategic Plan priorities and Parties and CMS institutions to report to COP-7 on progress made. In order to facilitate implementation, the resolution establishes a small intersessional working group on strategy to consider performance indicators and ways to measure inputs and outputs to CMS bodies.

The distilled Strategic Plan 2000-2005 contained in the addendum, sets out four main objectives: promotion of conservation of CMS species through, inter alia, promoting further Agreements and MOUs and supporting field projects; prioritization of conservation actions through engaging and monitoring economic sectors, national plans and scientific research that impact migratory species; enhancement of global membership to at least 85 Parties by the end of 2002; and improvement of CMS implementation by, inter alia, increasing awareness of the CMS in the context of the CBD, mobilizing increased funding, rationalizing institutional arrangements, and strengthening linkages with partner organizations.

FINANCIAL AND ADMINISTRATIVE ARRANGEMENTS: A closed working group on budgetary matters chaired by Véronique Herrenschmidt (France) considered financial and administrative matters (UNEP/CMS/Conf.6.13) and a draft resolution (UNEP/CMS/Res.6.7). On Tuesday, 16 November, Herrenschmidt introduced the revised draft resolution (UNEP/CMS/Res.6.7/Rev.1) to the COW, stressing the reserve fund and German voluntary contributions should only be used for concrete actions. She highlighted the proposed establishment of three posts for the Secretariat. She also highlighted: consolidation of estimates for project implementation funds to be withdrawn from the trust fund reserve; a total of US$793,800 for projects; an overall increase of approximately 26% as opposed to the initial proposal of 30%; possible secondment by Parties of technical experts to the Secretariat and funding within the budget to cover the difference in costs and UNEP overhead charges for such staff; proposed write-off of unpaid pledges four years or older; and withholding of voting rights at COP-7 for Parties in arrears. Noting their critical view of proliferation of Convention Secretariats and preference for resources being used in the field, the NETHERLANDS supported the new staff posts as they focus directly on and lend extra support to development of agreements. MONACO stressed limiting the action of a budget increase to the current biennium and called for inclusion of voluntary contributions. The COW agreed to annex the voluntary contributions to the budget. MONACO further proposed, and the COW accepted, specifying that Party contributions should be paid by the end of June in the year they relate to. He also amended text urging voluntary contributions to assist developing country participation within the CMS to also include countries with economies in transition.

The UK, stressing accountability and transparency, questioned why the 13% of overhead cost levied on all voluntary contributions was not itemized. UNEP explained that the overhead is set by the General Assembly and noted difficulty of costing every trust fund serviced. Stressing the exceptional and unique circumstances of new staff requirements due to the recent UN decision affecting voluntary staff, GERMANY endorsed the budget, underscored the efficiency of the Secretariat in comparison with other conventions and noted the need for a stricter budgetary approach at COP-7.

Vice-Chair Cravino queried whether the annual estimate of US$30,000 for regional meetings is sufficient. In this regard, the COW noted a need for matching funds.

Highlighting exclusion from participation at COP-6 due to deficiencies in Spanish language translation, PARAGUAY, with URUGUAY, said the budget figure of US$1000 for language training is insufficient and, supported by TOGO and SENEGAL, called for interpretation services in working groups. Hykle clarified that the language training figure is for a modest amount of Secretariat training and stressed the benefits of improving the linguistic balance within the Secretariat. UNON stressed that interpretation is expensive, detailed costs involved and noted that the UN encourages working groups to work in one language. Stressing its concern over full participation in working groups, AUSTRALIA supported timetabling working groups outside COW sessions to allow interpretation availability. GERMANY stated that if its offer to host COP-7 is accepted, it will endeavor to provide complimentary French and Spanish interpretation for working groups. Chair Hepworth proposed agreeing to the amended budget on this basis and suggested increasing the language training total for the biennium from US$1000 to US$4000 through a decrease of the miscellaneous total from US$5000 to US$2000. The COW adopted the resolution with these changes. The UK noted a reservation with regard to the UN 13% charge on voluntary contributions.

The final resolution adopts the annexed budget for 2001-2002, agrees to the scale of contributions of Parties, to be applied pro rata to new Parties and confirms that all Parties shall contribute. The resolution states the budget to be shared by the Parties is US$3,255,025. It requests prompt payment of contributions by the end of June in the year they relate to, takes note of an annexed medium-term plan for 2001-2005 and the priorities in the Strategic Plan, instructs prioritization of the list of all project proposals to be funded from the Trust Fund 2001-2002, and invites Parties to consider providing technical experts to the Secretariat and to agree on providing modest funding within the budget to cover the difference in cost and applicable UNEP overhead charges for such staff. The resolution also: urges Parties to make voluntary contributions to the trust fund to support requests for CMS participation from developing countries and countries with economies in transition; invites non-Parties to consider making contributions; takes note of the document on the administration of the trust fund beyond 31 December 2000, contributions and expenditures, and programme support charges (UNEP/CMS/Conf.6.13.1); approves writing off of unpaid pledges four years and older; and serves notice on withholding of voting rights at COP-7. Regarding posts, the resolution approves two new UN-classified posts, an upgrade of one, and notes reclassification of two posts. The resolution also agrees to establish a reserve of US$700,000 to cover shortfalls and to meet the final expenditures under the trust fund, requests the UNEP Executive Director to extend the trust fund to 31 December 2002 and approves annexed TOR for its administration for 2001-2002.  

INSTITUTIONAL ARRANGEMENTS: The COW considered institutional arrangements for the Scientific Council and Standing Committee, as well as the Juridical Personality, Privileges and Immunities of the Convention Secretariat.

Scientific Council: On Friday, 12 November, the COW reviewed the institutional arrangements for the Scientific Council (UNEP/CMS.Conf.6.14.4). The UK, with the PHILIPPINES, supported the addition of an expert for Asiatic Fauna. On Monday, 15 November, GUINEA noted the African Group’s nomination of Nigeria for Vice-Chair of the Scientific Council. Chair Hepworth confirmed the nomination would be included in a postal ballot with any other nominations. The COW added text specifying that the Councillor for Asiatic Fauna’s selection shall be confirmed by the Standing Committee following the Secretariat’s invitation to Parties to nominate appropriate candidates (UNEP/CMS/Rec.6.6/Rev.2).

The resolution states that the Scientific Council should establish close links with the experts of the CBD and the Ramsar Convention and invites several bodies and organizations to participate as observers, including: Wetlands International; BirdLife International; the International Whaling Commission (IWC); CITES; WCMC; and WWF. The resolution names the six experts for the 2001-2002 biennium to provide expertise in six specific areas, including marine turtles, large mammals and Asiatic fauna.

Standing Committee: On Friday, 12 November, Hykle introduced the institutional arrangements for the Standing Committee (UNEP/CMS/Conf.6.14.3) and summarized the evolution of the Committee’s membership. The NETHERLANDS, noting the growing number of Parties in some regions, suggested the Standing Committee and Secretariat re-evaluate the representation, especially for regions such as Africa and Europe. TOGO, supported by the DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO, underscored the need for equal representation based on the number of Parties within regions. The PHILIPPINES called for two representatives for the Asia region. Chair Hepworth noted that granting Asia two representatives would require more signatories in the region. URUGUAY called for mention of the importance of an equitable balance between the geographical coverage and diversity of migratory species within each region.

The resolution (UNEP/CMS/Res.6.5/Rev.2) establishes a regional representation of: two representatives each for Africa and Europe; one representative each for Asia, Central and South America, Oceania and North America and the Caribbean; the Depositary Government; and eight alternates for each member elected by the COP. Additionally, the resolution notes that the term of office for all representatives expires at the close of the next COP and that members cannot serve more than two consecutive terms of office.

The resolution also requests the Secretariat to make provisions in the budget for the payment of travel expenses incurred by representatives from developing countries and countries with economies in transition.

The COW noted the following representation for regional groups (substantive member/alternate): Africa: Congo/Morocco and South Africa/Kenya; Europe: Poland/Ukraine and Belgium/Monaco; Oceania: Philippines/Australia; Asia: Pakistan/Sri Lanka; Central and South America: Uruguay/Argentina.

Juridical Personality, Privileges and Immunities of the Convention Secretariat: On Friday, 12 November, Müller-Helmbrecht presented a draft resolution (UNEP/CMS/Res.6.8) outlining the juridical personality, privileges and immunities of the CMS Secretariat and on the conclusion of the headquarters agreement. GERMANY requested minor amendments to the resolution and a revision group with representatives from the Secretariat, UNEP, Germany and the Netherlands was established.

On Tuesday, 16 November, Müller-Helmbrecht provided an overview of the revised resolution (UNEP/CMS/Res.6.8/Rev.1). It states that, in the host country, the Convention Secretariat has legal capacity and that the staff, including the officials of the Secretariat, enjoys privileges and immunities. The resolution further recognizes that the Secretariat and the Executive Director of UNEP are empowered to negotiate and sign the headquarters agreement and that the Standing Committee can act on behalf of the COP to bring additional input.

BY-CATCH: On Friday, 12 November, the UK introduced the draft resolution on by-catch (UNEP/CMS/Rec.6.10), stressing that by-catch poses a grave threat to petrels, albatrosses, turtles and cetaceans. On Monday, 15 November, he introduced a revised version of the resolution (UNEP/CMS/Rec.6.10/Rev.1) and highlighted minor textual changes. Underscoring the need to address by-catch with urgency and vigor, he encouraged the use of best practices for mitigating technology. He withdrew an explanatory memorandum on the resolution (UNEP/CMS/Conf.6.16), noting controversy surrounding the legal content of the document. MONACO, AUSTRALIA, URUGUAY, SENEGAL and BIRDLIFE INTERNATIONAL supported the resolution. MONACO suggested forwarding the resolution to the UNEP regional seas programmes. The COW adopted the resolution that reaffirms Parties’ obligation to protect migratory species against by-catch and requests Parties to, inter alia: strengthen measures to protect migratory species against by-catch by fisheries within their territorial waters and Exclusive Economic Zones and vessels under their flags; strengthen measures to minimize incidental mortality of migratory species listed in Appendices I and II; and highlight the by-catch problem in regional fisheries organizations. It also: invites the Scientific Council to recommend concerted measures to be taken; calls on donor countries to consider helping developing countries acquire and use relevant technology; invites consultation with regional fisheries organizations; and encourages Range State Parties to cooperate with other countries to reduce the incidental taking of migratory species.

STANDARD NOMENCLATURE: On Friday, 12 November, Devillers introduced the draft recommendation on standardizing appendices nomenclature (UNEP/CMS/Rec.6.1/Rev.1) and stressed that the nomenclature divisions were purely technical and would not affect conservation measures. The COW adopted the resolution which recommends standard references to be recognized for mammals, birds, turtles and fish.

SPECIES-SPECIFIC RECOMMENDATIONS: On Wednesday, 10 November, Chair Hepworth proposed nominating focal points to produce recommendations on agreements under development and the COW identified Belgium (antelopes), Australia (albatrosses), the EU (bustards), the Philippines (turtles in the Indian Ocean) and Nigeria (turtles in Africa). The focal points reported back to the COW on Monday, 15 November.

Sahelo-Saharan Antelopes: Belgium introduced the draft recommendation on Sahelo-Saharan Antelopes (UNEP/CMS/Rec.6.3/Rev.1) to the COW and highlighted broad support for conservation efforts and an MOU. NIGERIA, TUNISIA and SENEGAL supported including the February 1998 Djerba Declaration on the Conservation and Restoration of Sahelo-Saharan Antelopes. Delegates agreed that the language of the recommendation should be as strong as that of the Declaration but not restrict actions to a single MOU. The COW agreed on the recommendation, which recognizes that the Sahelo-Saharan Antelopes are among the most threatened migratory mammals and the increasing danger of desertification to their habitats. It recalls that six species are currently listed in Appendix I and are subject to concerted action. It urges the Scientific Council, the Range States and all stakeholders to pursue conservation efforts within the framework of concerted action, and calls upon Range States to implement the Action Plan in the spirit of the Djerba Declaration and to seek bilateral and international cooperation to this end. The Djerba Declaration is annexed to the resolution.

Albatrosses of the Southern Hemisphere: AUSTRALIA noted general agreement on the urgent need for actions and introduced the resolution on Southern hemisphere albatross conservation (UNEP/CMS/Res.6.4/Rev.1). The resolution recognizes the threats to albatrosses of the Southern Ocean and relevant conservation initiatives currently in place. It calls for Range State identification of the status of, and threats to, populations and also requests cooperation by Parties with breeding sites and active participation by Parties to develop a conservation agreement. The resolution also accepts Australia’s offer to facilitate further discussions on an agreement with Range State Parties in early 2000; requests all States with vessels fishing in Convention for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR) waters to implement CCAMLR’s conservation measures; encourages relevant States to implement the FAO International Plan of Action for Reducing Incidental Catch of Seabirds in Long-line Fisheries; and invites the Standing Committee and Scientific Council to review progress and propose appropriate urgent action to COP-7.   

Houbara and Great Bustards: The EU, presenting the draft recommendation on Houbara and Great Bustards (UNEP/CMS/Rec.6.4), noted agreement on the urgent situation of the species. ZIMBABWE underscored the need to address conservation threats posed by foreign hunters. The recommendation adopted by the COW highlights the ongoing unfavorable conservation status of both species and notes the willingness of: Hungary and Spain to chair and vice-chair a Great Bustard working group; the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia to form a working group for the Houbara Bustard; and BirdLife International and the IUCN Species Survival Commission to assist such groups. The recommendation urges the Scientific Council and Range States to expedite concerted actions on both species before COP-7 and form working groups to report to the Scientific Council. It requests the Great Bustard working group to: draft proposals for an action plan compatible with existing plans; prepare projects for concrete field actions amenable to funding; and prepare a MOU, if appropriate, within the framework of concerted action. The recommendation also requests: the Scientific Council to mandate the Houbara Bustard working group to complete and initiate an action plan on Eastern populations; the working group to consider extending the action plan to other populations of the species; Saudi Arabia to continue efforts toward an Agreement; and the Scientific Council to report progress to COP-7.

African Elephant in Western and Central Africa: BELGIUM, supported by TOGO and SENEGAL, noted agreement on the need for immediate action and cooperation to conserve elephant populations in West and Central Africa. On the draft recommendation on cooperative action for the African Elephant (UNEP/CMS/Rec.6.5), ZIMBABWE called for specific action for West and Central African elephant populations, which are most vulnerable, and suggested the geographical scope should be reflected in the recommendation’s title, as the current title could lead to confusion with the more general list of species selected for cooperative action.

The resolution also urges the Scientific Council and Range States to form a working group with, at the UK’s request, the IUCN African Elephant Specialist Group, and to initiate cooperative action. It further mandates the working group to complete an action plan and initiate its implementation. The resolution suggests that Range States envisage future agreements. The text, including all proposals for amendments (UNEP/CMS 6.5/Rev.1), was adopted.

Marine Turtles of the Indian Ocean and Southeast Asia: The PHILIPPINES introduced the draft recommendation on Asian regional cooperation for Marine Turtles of the Indian Ocean and Southeast Asia (UNEP/CMS/Rec.6.6), which was adopted by the COW.

The resolution acknowledges the meeting held in Perth, Australia, in October 1999 addressing the need for regional conservation and management of Marine Turtles and the MOU on ASEAN Sea Turtle Conservation and Protection. It lists threats to Marine Turtles, including the harvest of eggs, destruction of habitat and tourism, and recognizes the need for shared responsibility for the sustainable conservation of the species. The resolution calls for cooperation with stakeholders, including government agencies and relevant NGOs and encourages sharing management and technical skills and promoting conservation activities, in particular, mitigation measures to reduce incidental mortality of Marine Turtles arising from fishing.

Marine Turtles of the Atlantic Coast of Africa, including Macaronesia: On Friday, 12 November, Range States and signatories to the MOU on Conservation of Marine Turtles convened for an informal meeting and discussed ways to coordinate implementation of the MOU. To ensure a comprehensive future action plan, NIGERIA suggested that each Range State forward data on the national conservation status of the species and on any technical, legislative or financial obstacles to the implementation of the MOU.

On Tuesday, 16 November, the COW adopted the resolution on the conservation of Marine Turtles in the Atlantic Coast of Africa, including Macaronesia (UNEP/CMS/Res.6.7). The resolution acknowledges Nigeria’s acceptance of the offer to coordinate activities and act as focal point and suggests the creation of a regional meeting/workshop of Range States to gather data on the conservation status in each Range State, and compile national data on the needs and obstacles, towards the implementation of the MOU. The resolution notes national issues must be considered prior to the drafting of a regional action plan. The text also welcomes the collaboration of Colin Limpus, COP-appointed Councillor to the Scientific Council.

DATE, VENUE AND FUNDING OF COP-7: On Tuesday, 16 November, Chair Hepworth introduced the resolution on the date, venue and funding of COP-7 (UNEP/CMS/Res.6.9/Rev.1), which was adopted by the COW. The resolution notes that South Africa is the first Party to host a COP since 1985 and accepts the offer of Germany to host the next COP in conjunction with the AEWA MOP-2. GERMANY thanked delegates for accepting the offer and said it would do its best to meet all requirements, especially with regard to interpretation services. He said COP-7 and the next AEWA MOP would be held simultaneously, possibly in October 2002.


In a special signing ceremony, the DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO, the GAMBIA, GHANA, NIGERIA and TOGO signed the MOU on Conservation of Marine Turtles, which resulted from the International Conference on the Conservation of Sea Turtles of the Atlantic Cost of Africa held in May 1999 in Côte d’Ivoire. Imeh Okopido, Minister of the Environment of Nigeria, noted the recent creation of the Nigerian Ministry of the Environment and expressed his hope that the MOU would address beach erosion, which increases the mortality rate of Marine Turtles.


Chair Hepworth noted COP-6 had been a constructive and smooth meeting and commended the consensus in the COW and thanked the Chairs of the working groups.

Chair Abrahamse invited a report from the Credentials Committee. Carlo Custodio (the Philippines), Chair of the Credentials Committee, reported that 48 of the 52 Parties had submitted proper credentials. He suggested that the invitation for COP-7 should emphasize that original copies of credentials must be provided. The Secretariat said three new observers had been admitted: Globe South Africa; the International Council of Environmental Law; and the Global Nature Fund.

The Plenary proceeded to adopt all the resolutions and recommendations that had been approved by the COW. Because the Draft Report of CMS COP-6 (UNEP/CMS/Conf.6/L.1) was only available in English, the Plenary adopted a procedure for adopting the report through written submission of comments on the French or Spanish versions to be incorporated by the Secretariat for final approval by the COP-6 Chair and Vice-Chair.

On other business, EUROBATS lauded the voluntary contribution from Belgium for the production of bat conservation information. Hykle made note of changes to the appendices based on the Scientific Council’s advice: seven amendments were made to Appendix I and 30 to Appendix II.  He noted the COW had agreed to forward the entire package of amendments (UNEP/CMS/Conf.6.11) to the Plenary to be adopted in full and for reflection in the report of the meeting. The Plenary adopted the appendices’ amendments.

During the closing remarks, COW Vice-Chair Cravino thanked the South African Government and commended participants for their spirit of collaboration. EGYPT highlighted the great importance his country attaches to wildlife and its growing network of protected areas. Müller-Helmbrecht thanked the South African Government for their investment of time and energy and for their financial support. He also thanked UNON and the interpreters for their hard work, the German Government for its offer to host COP-7, and his staff for their essential support. Chair Abrahamse said she hoped participants enjoyed the COP-6 venue, a place where delegates could actually see many migratory species.  She graveled the meeting to a close at 4:15 pm.



In a year that marks the 20th anniversary of the Convention on Migratory Species, the majority of delegates characterized COP-6 as a significant success. In their totality, the outcomes of the COP mark a sea change in the Convention’s development and intimate that it is starting to spread its wings in preparation for take off. In the past year, the CMS has experienced a remarkable spurt of growth and welcomed ten new members into its flock. This enlargement is attributable to renewed efforts in recent years to increase the range of formal and informal agreements possible under the CMS, which in turn generates incentives and conditions necessary to attract new Parties. It is clear that the leap forward has been galvanized by the completion of the African-Eurasian Waterbird Agreement (AEWA), the largest agreement under the CMS to date. The MOU on the Siberian Crane is also increasing interest as it was recently extended to include China, thus incorporating East Asian populations. The recent CMS trend of “going to the birds” is, by all accounts, catalyzing the CMS and adding to its overall momentum. Consolidating this impetus is the emergence of new funding initiatives such as a recently approved GEF-funded conservation project for Siberian Cranes and other migratory waterbirds, which sets an important funding precedent.


Despite growing momentum, many recognize that the CMS could benefit significantly from greater membership and a higher international profile which, importantly, can facilitate enhanced awareness, political support and critical funding. Synergies with other conventions, such as the Ramsar Convention, the Convention on Biological Diversity and CITES, were highlighted throughout COP-6 as various delegates urged the CMS to re-position itself in the flyway of biodiversity-related related treaties. Many are keen to exploit synergies as a way to further progress and increase efficiencies. As an example, national reporting discussions revealed that many countries feel overburdened in meeting reporting commitments of international agreements. Most acknowledge that this leads to neglect of lower profile agreements such as the CMS. In this regard, there was chorusing in the COP for standardizing reporting with other biodiversity agreements and general support for the WCMC proposal on ideas for minimizing overlaps in reporting and sharing reporting information to guide the way forward.

Characterizing the CMS as an instrument that focuses on the scientific rather than the political, others considered the CMS to be a bird of a slightly different feather and warned against over-emphasis on collaboration. A few experienced delegates hinted that a higher profile could attract a level of participation that could over-politicize issues and, as a consequence, impede progress. In any event, with the majority of its 65 Parties located in Africa and Europe, there is broad consensus on the need for the CMS to attract Parties from Asia and the Americas if it is to achieve its ranging and laudable goal of conserving migratory species.


Overall, the results of the Scientific Council dovetailed nicely into CMS COP-6, demonstrating that the CMS is beginning to get all of its ducks in a row. The Scientific Council arrived well-prepared with its homework done and information on hand to support proposals to include species in the CMS Appendices. The Council meetings proceeded with negligible controversy and were not plagued by politics such as predatory North vs. South divisions. The COP itself generated a formation of high-flying and forward-looking outcomes, such as the inclusion of seven species in Appendix I and 30 species in Appendix II. Many felt that the resolution on by-catch marked a significant stride forward and hoped that advancing a common CMS position in other international fora will help to combat this pressing problem that threatens so many species, including Marine Turtles, dolphins, small cetaceans and seabirds. Indeed, some felt COP-6 produced the most meaningful set of conservation measures yet to come from a CMS COP.

The first MOP of the AEWA also avoided turbulence, addressing mainly organizational matters such as the establishment of the permanent Secretariat and Technical Committee. Most welcomed the decision to establish the AEWA Secretariat’s roost in Bonn, pointing to the benefits of co-location and keeping the CMS and CMS Agreement Secretariats in the same coop. However, some African delegates clamored for local representation in Africa and lamented merely having a focal point for Africa in the Secretariat.

A significant hurdle still to be cleared in the flight ahead is funding. The most recent budget increase of approximately 26% will strengthen the Secretariat, but may present a challenging hurdle for fledgling Parties. In spite of this, the current spirit of shared purpose and collaboration suggests this will not be insurmountable.


The gaggle of agreements underway on species such as albatrosses, Marine Turtles and the Houbara and Great Bustards, as well as efforts to broaden existing agreements to include additional Range States, are generating a rising wind under the unfolding wings of the CMS. The Convention is now reaching new heights and seems poised to welcome more Parties into its growing brood. To facilitate this, the approved Strategic Plan includes providing support for new members as an essential objective and if all goes according to plan, CMS membership will grow to 85 by the year 2002.

Delegates voiced their support for new agreements as well as for tailoring existing agreements, such as EUROBATS, to meet regional needs. This capacity of the CMS to provide impetus for regional action, within the context of the global agreement, may well be one of its greatest assets. If the success of the AEWA is an indicator of what can be achieved by other agreements, the signs in the sky bode well for progress.

In spite of such promise, the CMS will inevitably migrate into more challenging terrain, as controversial species such as the African Elephant trumpet their way into discussions. While the exchange on African Elephants was relatively contained, the familiar prints of debates held in CITES were detected. Also, the ambitions of some to include large cetaceans may herald a political wind bringing with it debates that are familiar to the International Whaling Commission. As the CMS flock charts a course into its third decade, it will face new challenges concerning direction, coordination and coherence. However, if the CMS succeeds in confronting these issues, it is destined to continue gliding onwards and upwards on science and action-oriented winds.


RAMSAR CONVENTION STANDING COMMITTEE: The 24th Meeting of the Standing Committee to the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands will be held from 29 November-3 December 1999 in Gland, Switzerland. For more information, contact: Ramsar Convention Bureau; tel: +41 (22) 999 0170; fax: +41 (22) 999 0169; e-mail:; Internet:

EXPERT MEETING IN PREPARATION FOR CBD SBSTTA-5: This meeting will be held from 2-4 December 1999 on the Isle of Vilm, Germany. For more information, contact: J. Stadler, International Academy for Nature Conservation, Isle of Vilm; tel: +49 (38) 301-86050; fax: +49 (38) 301-86150; e-mail:

RESUMED SESSION OF THE FIRST EXTRAORDINARY MEETING OF THE CBD COP: This meeting will be held from 24-28 January 2000 in Montreal, Canada, to finalize and adopt a protocol to the CBD on biosafety. It will be preceded by an informal consultation on the protocol from 20-22 January 2000. For more information, contact: CBD Secretariat, World Trade Center, Montreal; tel: +1 (514) 288-2220; fax: +1 (514) 288-6588; e-mail:; Internet:

FIFTH MEETING OF THE CBD SBSTTA: SBSTTA-5 will be held from 31 January - 4 February 2000 in Montreal, Canada. For more information, contact the CBD Secretariat (see above).

FOURTH AND FINAL SESSION OF THE INTERGOVERNMENTAL FORUM ON FORESTS: This meeting is scheduled from 31 January-11 February 2000 in New York. For more information, contact: IFF Secretariat; tel: +1 (212) 963-3401; fax: +1 (212) 963-3463; Internet:

AD HOC WORKING GROUP ON ARTICLE 8(J): The Convention on Biological Diversity�s Ad Hoc Working Group on Article 8(j) will meet from 21-25 February 2000 in Sevilla, Spain. For more information, contact the CBD Secretariat (see above).

5TH MEETING OF THE EUROBATS ADVISORY COMMITTEE: The Advisory Committee to the Agreement on the Conservation of Bats in Europe will meet from 21-23 February 2000 in Zagreb, Croatia, and will produce draft resolutions and an implementation programme for the Meeting of the Parties. For more information, contact: Andreas Streit, EUROBATS; tel: +49 (228) 815 2420; fax: +49 (228) 815 2445; e-mail:; Internet:

CONVENTION ON INTERNATIONAL TRADE IN ENDANGERED SPECIES COP-11: The Eleventh Conference of the Parties to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) will be held from 10-20 April 2000 in Nairobi, Kenya. For more information, contact: CITES Secretariat, International Environment House, Geneva; tel: +41 (22) 917 8139/40; fax: +41 (22) 797 3417; e-mail:; Internet:

EIGHTH SESSION OF THE UN COMMISSION ON SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT: CSD-8 will meet from 24 April-5 May 2000 to consider integrated planning and management of land resources, agriculture, and financial resources/trade and investment/economic growth. The CSD Ad Hoc Intersessional Working Groups will meet in New York from 22 February-3 March 2000. For more information, contact: Andrey Vasilyev, Division for Sustainable Development, United Nations, New York; tel: +1 (212) 963-5949; fax: +1 (212) 963-4260; e-mail:; Internet:

CONVENTION ON BIOLOGICAL DIVERSITY COP-5: The Fifth Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD COP-5) will be held from 15-26 May 2000 in Nairobi, Kenya. For more information, contact: the CBD Secretariat (see above).

EUROBATS MOP-3: The Third Meeting of the Parties to EUROBATS will convene from 24-26 July 2000 in Bristol, England. For more information, contact: Andreas Streit, EUROBATS; tel: +49 (228) 815 2420; fax: +49 (228) 815 2445; e-mail:; Internet:

WORLD CONSERVATION CONGRESS (IUCN): This meeting will be held from 4-11 October 2000 in Amman, Jordan. For more conservation, contact: Usila Hult Bunner, IUCN, Geneva; tel: +41 (22) 999 0001; fax: +41 (22) 999 0002; Internet:

CALENDAR OF BIODIVERSITY-RELATED EVENTS: For a detailed calendar of other biodiversity-related events, see the Global Biodiversity Calendar of Events, which is part of the CBD Clearing-House Mechanism, and can be found on-line at          

Further information