The CMS, which entered into force in 1983, is the only global and UN-based intergovernmental organization established exclusively for the conservation and management of terrestrial, aquatic and avian migratory species throughout their range.
Other global conventions, such as the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) and its implementing Fish Stocks Agreement (FSA), the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands of International Importance especially as Waterfowl Habitat, the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) or the World Heritage Convention share some objectives with CMS. However, these conventions do not provide the special instruments necessary for migratory species conservation. CMS, by contrast, does address the fact that migratory species cross jurisdictional boundaries. It does this by providing the forum through which countries that would otherwise have different level of protection come together to agree on common priorities and conservation measures.
Furthermore, CMS is a framework convention under which a range of measures, tailored to the specific needs of the Range States, can be developed for a single species or a group of related species and ranging from a bilateral agreement to regional or global geographical scope.
These measures range from formal treaties – legally binding Agreements – through non-legally binding instruments (Memoranda of Understanding) to concerted actions.
CMS and its instruments determine policy and provide further guidance on specific issues through their Strategic Plans, Action Plans, resolutions, decisions and guidelines. All maintain on their websites a list of all decisions taken, guidelines issues and Action Plans adopted by the Member States.
In summary, CMS provides:
A specialized, comprehensive forum of experts on transboundary migratory species;
lobal and regional instruments and other measures tailored and adaptable to taxa’s needs;
Support for integrated implementation of biodiversity protection;
Support for research, conservation and capacity-building projects.