Step 1 Familiarity with the Instrument(s) and National Reporting Requirements

This step should ideally be done at the point where a country is preparing to accede to CMS and/or any of its instrument and should be done alongside relevant existing national policies, legislation, strategies and action plans. For countries that are in the process of becoming a Member of CMS and/ or any of its instrument, a thorough analysis of the legally binding tools (including the text of the instrument, Strategic Plan, Action Plans, Resolutions, as applicable) is a first important step.

The Implementation Cycle

The successful use and application of a CMS Family instrument is a continuous, iterative process. Member States have to apply a cogent series of steps; many at the national level. For an easier understanding of implementation at national level six basic steps are outlined in simple and concise terms.

Step 1: Familiarity with the Instrument(s) and National Reporting Requirements

Step 2: Review of National Legislation and Identification of Gaps

Step 3: Setting up a National Consultation Process

What Does Implementation Actually Involve?

Governments and regional economic integration organizations (REIO) such as the European Union (EU) have taken on a series of international commitments by signing and where appropriate ratifying or acceding to CMS and its instruments. Yet, adopting the CMS Family instruments is only the start; the instruments require implementation.


During recent years, work in the international environmental field has been increasingly focused on implementation, more than on the development of further landmark agreements, such as those concluded at Rio in 1992.
The text of the treaties and the related tools, such as action plans, strategic plans and guidelines developed by CMS and its instruments aim to provide the framework and guidance for implementation at the national level.

What Happens After the National Report has been Submitted?

The submission of the National Report marks the beginning of a new reporting cycle. NFPs should start planning their implementation and reporting activities according to the latest report format adopted or the latest National Report in the cases when one has been submitted. It should be noted that decisions taken at the meetings of the decision-making bodies can lead to changes in the report formats. NFPs must therefore ensure that they adjust their implementation and reporting to reflect the new report format once it becomes available.

Submitting the National Report and Follow-up

Once the National Report has been verified and approved, it should be submitted to the appropriate Secretariat/Coordinating Unit of the CMS Family. Once submitted, the report will be reviewed by the Secretariat/Coordinating Unit and possibly returned to the country with a request for additional input and further refinement, if necessary.

Substantive Preparation

A successful outcome of a meeting can be achieved through adequate preparation, undertaken by the meeting organizers and participants alike, throughout the whole process.

Depending on the meeting cycle of each instrument, the Secretariat/Coordinating Unit announces to its Member States details of each meeting through an invitation, as well as disseminating a draft agenda and other relevant information.

Steps for Compiling the National Report

As an integral part of the implementation, reporting is a rolling and iterative process. It starts with the planning of implementation and carries through to the assessment of what has been done.

STEP 1: Starting to plan the reporting together with the implementation planning

Reporting Platforms

Within the CMS Family, National Reporting currently takes place using two main methods. Until recently, the report formats were only made available in standard office software applications (Microsoft Word or Adobe PDF). This meant that the standard Word or PDF files were filled in by each country and sent to the Secretariat/Coordinating Unit.

As an alternative, some of the Agreements such as those of IOSEA, ACAP and ACCOBAMS have started providing their National Report formats as online templates which can be accessed and completed via their websites.

Stakeholder Involvement and Coordination

The National Reporting process is a collective, collaborative and participatory exercise. This multi-agency, multi-sectoral and multi-stakeholder process should ideally involve all relevant governmental, scientific and academic institutions, non-governmental and other organizations and stakeholders at different levels who contribute to the implementation of the CMS Family instruments and/or can provide necessary data and information.