The Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals


Migration is a natural phenomenon by which individuals of a given species move between areas which they inhabit at different times of the year. Migratory species of animals not only need good habitats for reproduction but also during their non-breeding and all along their migratory routes. In an ever-changing world, human pressure is high on some of those habitats, and also often on the animals themselves (hunting, incidental catch, etc). To conserve species whose movements regularly cross national borders, international cooperation is of vital importance.
 
The Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals (Bonn Convention or CMS) was adopted in Bonn, Germany in 1979 and came into force in 1985. Contracting Parties work together to conserve migratory species and their habitats by providing strict protection for endangered migratory species (listed in Appendix I of the Convention), concluding multilateral Agreements for the conservation and management of migratory species which require or would benefit from international cooperation (listed in Appendix II), and by undertaking cooperative research activities.
 
The UK ratified the Convention in 1985. The legal requirement for the strict protection of Appendix I species is provided by the Wildlife & Countryside Act (1981 as amended), the Wildlife (Northern Ireland) Order 1985, and the Nature Conservation and Amenity Lands (Northern Ireland) Order 1985.  In addition the Countryside and Rights of Way Act 2000 (CRoW) was enacted in England and Wales to strengthen the protection of certain species by increasing penalties and enforcement powers; and strengthened the protection of sites from damage caused by third parties.
 
The UK has currently ratified four legally binding Agreements under the Convention, namely the Agreement on the Conservation of Populations of European Bats (EUROBATS); the African-Eurasian Migratory Waterbird Agreement (AEWA); and the Agreement on the Conservation of Small Cetaceans in the Baltic, North-East Atlantic, Irish and North Seas (ASCOBANS), and the Agreement on the Conservation of Albatrosses and Petrels (ACAP).  The UK has also ratified the Memorandum of Understanding on the Conservation and Management of Marine Turtles and their Habitats of the Indian Ocean, in respect of the British Indian Ocean Territory, the Memorandum of Understanding on the Aquatic Warbler, the Memorandum of Understanding concerning the Conservation of Migratory Birds of Prey in Africa and Eurasia and Memorandum of Understanding for the Conservation of Cetaceans and their Habitats in the Pacific Islands Region in respect of Pitcairn.
 
JNCC provides scientific and technical advice to the Government and the country nature conservation bodies on the interpretation, application and implementation of the Convention and its agreements. This includes advising on the appropriateness of protection proposals; having input to the research work and advising on the potential impact of resolutions or guidance proposed for adoption at Conferences of the Parties.
 
June 2013

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