Slender-billed Curlew

Questions to Pose

• Should the instrument be a legally binding Agreement? Or an MOU? (a legally binding Agreement will need to be ratified)
• What species should be covered? Instruments can cover just one species (e.g. Great Bustard), several species (Sharks MOU) or many species from a range of taxonomic groups (e.g. AEWA).

Negotiation Meetings

CMS Parties have over the years endorsed the development and negotiated 7 legally-binding Agreements and 19 MOUs. Often the COP identified that a certain species or species group was facing particular problems and that international coordinate action in the form of an Agreement under Article IV was the best approach.


For most official meetings of the CMS Family instruments, a report will be prepared by the Secretariat or Coordinating Unit concerned and published on its website. Meeting reports should be carefully reviewed. However, the report might take some time to be completed, and NFPs should therefore not wait for the report to be published before initiating follow-up action.

Liaison Within the Delegation

During the meeting of decision-making bodies, the delegate should be prepared to report to the rest of the delegation, clearly and concisely, on any developments arising from discussions held at Regional Coordination, Committees, Working Groups or in the margins. The delegate should therefore take detailed notes, particularly on negotiating text changes. Having detailed information on what happened, will help the delegate verify the accuracy of the next version and of the final meeting report.

In the Margins

One important feature of meetings of the decision-making bodies outside the formal framework of the Plenary, Committees and Working Groups are the less formal side events, often held during the lunch breaks or in the evenings. Various organizations make presentations on their work or research and such events provide opportunities for information to be exchanged, for questions to be asked and contacts to be made.

Working Groups

These groups are usually established to look at particular key issues on the agenda. After having introduced an item and given delegations the opportunity to state their opening positions on the matter, the Chair may suggest, on his or her own initiative or at the request of one or more Member States, that the item in question be considered in more detail in a working group.


It is generally not possible for the Plenary (the full meeting) to deal with every aspect of the meeting agenda. It is normal practice to assign responsibility for particular issues to smaller groups which report their findings and make recommendations. It is common practice to establish one Committee to scrutinize the “Credentials”, the documents provided by their Governments as proof of the delegate’s authority to represent the country at the meeting and another to examine the budget proposals.

Regional Coordination

One feature of the CMS COP, being a global forum, and the AEWA MOP with its wide geographic coverage, is regional coordination, which gives countries from the same region facing the same environmental problems and sharing the same migratory species the opportunity to compare notes, exchange ideas, try to adopt common positions and agree concerted efforts to secure the adoption of beneficial policies.

During the Meeting (in-session)

Since the meeting of the decision-making body is the last stage of the negotiations, during these meetings the delegates are required to actively contribute in all negotiating fora. The negotiations during meetingsof the decision-making bodies are intended to find agreement on the way forward on the issues that arise between Member States. Likewise, the meeting of the decision-making body offers an opportunity to express, support, oppose or propose changes to the draft resolutions and decisions.

Registration and Credentials

On the first days of the meeting, normally in the foyer of the venue, the organizers will set up a Reception Desk, where those delegates that have pre-registered to attend the meeting can collect their delegate’s pack and badge. Delegates of Member States should also hand in their Credentials (the documentary evidence of a delegate’s authority to represent their country at the meeting) which are then examined.