Convention on Migratory
Species (CMS)

The Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals (CMS or Bonn Convention) entered into force in 1983. It has its focus on the conservation of wildlife and habitats on a global scale.

Some species migrate across or outside national boundaries, crossing several countries. Therefore, the conservation and effective management of such migratory species requires the concerted action of all States where they pass or stay. 

More information

Aims and Objectives

The CMS aims to:

  • conserve terrestrial, aquatic and avian migratory species throughout their range;
  • ensure the biological diversity of migratory species for future generations;
  • restore migratory species so that they have a favourable conservation status;
  • maintain long-term viable populations of migratory species;
  • conserve the range and habitats of migratory species. 

How it works

The CMS is an intergovernmental treaty containing currently 118 Parties. It acts as a framework convention and agreements range from legally binding treaties to less formal instruments (e.g. Memoranda of Understanding). The CMS is the only global convention specializing on migratory species conservation and co-operates with other international organizations, NGOs and partners. Decisions are taken by a two-thirds majority. Parties of CMS acknowledge the importance of migratory species being conserved and to avoid any migratory species becoming endangered. Range states of migratory species are encourage  to conclude global or regional agreements for conservation and management of individual species or groups.

The CMS consists of two Appendices I and II. Parties shall endeavour or provide immediate protection for migratory species included in Appendix I. Species can be removed from Appendix I if they are not longer endangered and not likely to become endangered again.

The range states themselves decide on a tailored and structured action plan and parties shall endeavour to conclude agreements covering the conservation and management of migratory species included in Appendix II.


The institutional frameworks consists of a Conference of Parties (CoP), a Standing Committee, a Scientific Council, the Secretariat and working groups.


Conference of Parties:

The CoP is the decision making organ and meets all three years. It is responsible for:

  • reviewing the convention's implementation;
  • adopting budgets;
  • approving resolutions;
  • making recommendations and 
  • ammending species lists of Appendix I and II.


Standing Committee:

The Standing Committee consists of representatives of the Parties and meets at least annually. Its responsibilites are to:

  • provide policy and administrative guidance;
  • guide on operational and financial issues.


Scientific Council:

The Scientifc Council consists of experts appointed by individual member States and by the CoP. It meets twice a year and makes recommendations to the CoP on issues such as the research, conservation and management of migratory species. Its tasks are to:

  • advice in technical and scientific matters;
  • identify research and conservation prioritites.



The Secretariat is provided by the United Nation Environment Project (UNEP)  is based in Bonn (Germany) and provides administrative support. It cooperates with governments and partner organizations and is responsible for:

  • developping and promoting agreements;
  • disseminating information to Parties and the public;
  • supporting and supervising research and conservation projects;
  • organising meetings.


The CMS contains two appendices:

Appendix I:

This appendix includes migratory species which are threatened with extinction throughout all or a significant proportion of their range. These species should be strictly protected and their habitats conserved or restored. Obstacles hindering the migration and factors that might endanger them should be mitigated.

Appendix II:

Contains all migratory species with unfavourable conservation status and which would benefit siginficantly from international cooperation organised by tailored agreements.

Cats in CMS

Appendix I

Appendix II

Panthera uncia

Acinonyx jubatus (except populations in Botswana, Namibia & Zimbabwe)