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United Nations System-Wide
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UNEP/CMS Secretariat
United Nations Premises in Bonn
Martin-Luther-King-Str. 8
D-53175 Bonn, Germany
Tel: +49 228 815 2401/2
Fax: +49 228 815 2449 
E-mail: cms@unep.de 

Internet http://www.unep-wcmc.org/cms/ 


The Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals (CMS) aims to conserve terrestrial, marine and avian migratory species across their range. CMS provides a framework within which Parties may act to conserve migratory species and their habitats by:
- providing strict protection for the endangered migratory species listed in Appendix I of the Convention
- concluding multilateral Agreements (see below for examples) for the conservation and management of migratory species listed in Appendix II; and,
- undertaking co-operative research activities. 

A Secretariat, under the auspices of UNEP, provides administrative support to the Convention. The decision-making organ of the Convention is the Conference of the Parties (COP), which held its 6th Meeting in Cape Town in November 1999. A Standing Committee provides policy and administrative guidance between the regular meetings of the COP. A Scientific Council, consisting of experts appointed by individual member States and by the COP, gives advice on technical and scientific matters. 

Organization and Dynamics

The Scientific Council provides advice on scientific matters. It makes recommendations to the COP on such issues as research on migratory species, specific conservation and management measures and the inclusion of migratory species in CMS Appendices I and II.

Each Party may appoint a qualified expert as a member of the Scientific Council; 50 Parties have done so far. In addition, in April 1997 the COP appointed five Councillors with expertise in the following areas: marine turtles, birds, cetaceans, terrestrial mammals, and neotropical fauna.

COP-6 decided that a sixth expert (on Asiatic Fauna) should be appointed. Suitable candidates will be sought and the appointment confirmed by the Standing Committee. The observer status at meetings of the council of representatives from a number of NGOs and advisory bodies of other conventions was confirmed. 

Work and Outputs

Recent Meetings: The 9th Meeting of the Scientific Council was held 4-6 November 1999 in Cape Town. The following are actions to be taken by the Scientific Council as arising from resolutions of the Conference of the Parties and other recommendations:

Tasks to be taken by the Scientific Council:

1. Actions for selected Appendix I species/groups: (a) Mammals: Sahelo-Saharan ungulates, Mountain gorilla, Huemul, Franciscana dolphin, Monk seal; (b) Birds: Siberian crane, Andean flamingoes, Ruddy-headed goose, Lesser white-fronted goose, Houbara bustard, Great bustard, Slender-billed curlew, Lesser kestrel; and, (c) Reptiles: Marine turtles;

2. Cooperative actions for Appendix II species: (a) Corncrake; (b) Quail; and, (c) Black-necked swan;

3. Review of proposals for amendments to Appendices I and II of the Convention: (a) Discussion and evaluation of proposals; and, (b) Conclusions and recommendations to the Conference of the Parties.

Progress on other matters requiring Scientific Council advice:

4. the development of potential new Agreements: (a) Small cetaceans and other threatened marine mammals of southern South America, South-east Asia and Western Africa; (b) Albatross - southern hemisphere; and, (c) Sand grouse - southern Africa;

5. small-scale projects funded by CMS: (a) New project proposals; and, (b) Procedure for project selection and appraisal;

6. Guidelines on the use of satellite tracking devices;

7. Taxonomic nomenclature to be followed in the CMS Appendices.

8. Election of new chairman, recommendation to reappoint five conference-appointed experts and the creation of a sixth such post to cover Asiatic fauna. 

At the same time as COP-6, the first meeting of the African-Eurasian Waterbird Agreement took place. This is seen as a major new tool for the implementation of CMS, since it is a semi-global Agreement which includes 170 species of migratory waterbirds in 117 countries of Africa, Europe and Western Asia. The Agreement entered into force on 1 November 1999. Even before the Agreement enters into force formally, it has become a success story. To date, some 20 projects for research, monitoring and comprehensive work including larger trans-boundary measures have already been developed and will soon be implemented. The most important of these measures is a programme which coordinates trans-boundary research and monitoring projects as well as the development of conservation measures in 14 countries of West Africa (through Wetlands International with active support from the Netherlands). 

The meeting in Cape Town established the Agreement's decision-making structures, which will guarantee the active implementation by the Parties and the effective coordination of all the activities of scientists, conservation experts within and between the Range States of the bird species. The Agreement is also important for two reasons:
- It aims to develop a new branch of mutual assistance - technical as well as financial - the industrialised countries of Europe on the one hand and Africa, the Middle East and Central and Eastern Europe on the other, all of which share the migratory waterbirds as their common natural heritage.
- Migratory waterbirds represent the largest group of animals which are used for subsistence and recreational hunting. The AEWA provides the instruments to protect the common interest of all users and conservationists in improving the conservation status of those species which need to increase their numbers in their entire migration range. 

CMS Technical Series: The Technical Series is prepared by the Secretariat. All publications so far are composite works, drawing on contributions from a number of authors and often containing the proceedings of conferences or symposiums. The target audience for each publication varies depending on the subject matter (e.g. No.1 in the series focuses on a specific species, while No.2 covers migration in general)
1. Conservation Measures for the Siberian Crane (proceedings of Third Meeting of the Range States of the Siberian Crane MoU, Ramsar, Iran, December 1998 - various authors)
2. CMS Symposium on Animal Migration (proceedings from Gland, Switzerland, April 1997 - various authors)
3. Conservation Measures for Sahelo-Saharan Antelopes (Action Plan and Status Reports) - not yet issued
4. Marine Turtles of the Atlantic Coast of Africa - not yet issued

Data Collection: Not all scientific related work is engaged in by the Scientific Council. Also national scientific institutions, specialized governments agencies, NGOs provide the relevant data for the Secretariat. Precise and comprehensive data on species, their distribution, reasons for their depletion, etc. are to be collected by the Parties in the framework of their national nature conservation work. 

The Global Register of Migratory Species (GROMS) was and will continue to be developed by Germany for the benefit of species conservation and as a working tool for CMS. Further discussion and support for the Register is now being sought. The database provides fully referenced information on species, populations, bibliography, addresses of monitoring organizations and experts. Distribution maps, migratory routes and point data have been geo-referenced in ARCVIEW and can be exported to other GIS projects. Data entry started in June 1998, after an initial phase of database design (for background information, see http://www.groms.de). 

The species table contains scientific names with authority, synonyms, vernacular names (English, French, German, Spanish), protection status, habitat and threats. Up to now, 1512 species have been entered. 873 migratory fish species were imported directly from FISHBASE, which maintains a list of all described fish species in cooperation with Species2000 (see http://www.species2000.org, including links to taxonomic database organisations). In contrast, compilations of scientific bird names show major inconsistencies. Specifically, GROMS follows Sibley-Monroe, which is widely accepted by conservationists, but which differs from other lists, and from such standard handbooks as Handbook of the Birds of the World (del Hoyo et al. 1992). This requires management of parallel taxonomies and complicates data entry and, in particular, data exchange between different database project. It has therefore been recommended that a validated bird list be produced as part of the Species2000 project. GROMS keeps contact with these major taxonomic initiatives, to guarantee future compatibility. 

Principal Means of Conveying Information to Policymakers

Scientific Council meets inter-sessionally and immediately prior to COP, when among things the Council considers proposals to amend the appendices. Council deliberations are reported to the plenary by the Chairman and a discussions of the Council recommendations follows.

Where the Scientific Council has been charged with preparing a report on a particular issue, the report is submitted to the Secretariat for duplication and distribution to national representatives. Such reports are presented orally to the COP providing delegates with the opportunity of raising further questions. 

Information Technology

The website is hosted by WCMC and has been updated to include documents and information to most meetings. 

There is a joint website of the biodiversity-related conventions (CBD, CITES, CMS, Ramsar and the World Heritage Convention). The programme approved by the 20th Special Session of the UN General Assembly (June 1997) for the further implementation of Agenda 21 gives special priority to collaboration among the Conventions and to the enhancement of information capacities as requisites for sustainable development. There is a growing recognition that while each Convention stands on its own, with its own defined objectives and commitments, there are also linkages and inherent relationships between all of them. The website offers a good comparative overview, listing links to each Convention according to 20 criteria. (see http://www.biodiv.org/rioconv/websites.html


- The CMS Secretariat is co-located in Bonn with the Secretariats of three of its Agreements, namely the African-Eurasian Waterbird Agreement (AEWA), the Agreement on the Conservation of Bats in Europe (EUROBATS) and the Agreement on the Conservation of Small Cetaceans of the Baltic and North Seas (ASCOBANS). The Interim Secretariat of the Agreement on the Conservation of Cetaceans in the Black Sea, Mediterranean Sea and Contiguous Atlantic Area is located in Monaco.
- WCMC plays a particularly important function insofar as it provides services to the secretariat relating to information. Apart from WCMC databases, which are consulted, direct support is provided in terms of maintaining the website and identifying possible future signatories by preparing country reports.
- cooperation also continues with the Standing Committee of the Bern Convention on the Conservation of European Wildlife and Natural Habitats, and with the Council of the Pan-European Biological and Landscape Diversity Strategy (PEBLDS)
- A Memorandum of Cooperation exists with the CBD Secretariat. Resolution 6.7 adopted at CMS COP-6 formalised the observer status of the CBD-SBSTTA at future meetings of the Scientific Council. In addition, the reservoir of knowledge maintained by the CMS Scientific Council can be accessed by CBD on an ad hoc basis.
- MoUs are also being negotiated with the International Whaling Commission (IWC) and the Secretariat of the World Heritage Convention (WHC) 


Prepared by Jan-Stefan Fritz for the Second Report on International Scientific Advisory Processes on the Environment and Sustainable Development, 2000
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