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. Understanding the potential legal implications of CMS and/or its instruments for the country (e.g. through a review of the potential adequacy of existing national laws and policies for the implementation of CMS and/or its instruments and an assessment of potential specific requirements of the country) will give the country a realistic expectation of the implications of accession.

For NFPs whose country has already signed or ratified an instrument becoming familiar with the legal text, the species listing (the Appendices), decisions, resolutions, work programme and strategic plans will assist in setting the expectation for the NFP and understanding the responsibilities of the Member State.

Understanding the reporting requirements of CMS and/or its instruments very early in the implementation cycle will also allow the NFP to be familiar with the implementation needs and prepare the NFP to meet the reporting expectation of the instrument.