A flock of knots, with some birds beginning to take flight

The Convention on Migratory Species

The global treaty to conserve migratory species of wild animals.

What is the Convention on Migratory Species (CMS)?

CMS logo

CMS, part of the United Nations Environment Programme, is the main global treaty designed to protect migratory species. It sets out ways for Governments to help all wild animals that regularly and predictably migrate across one or more national boundaries. The implementation of these methods is supported via further agreements linked to the treaty.

What is needed now?

Young swallows perched on a thorny branch

The CMS gives birds significant protection in the countries which have signed up. They are also protected through linked agreements, such as the African-Eurasian Waterbird Agreement, thematic working groups, such as on the illegal killing of birds, and species working groups, such as on African-Eurasian land birds. This robust framework will be enhanced further once the World Coastal Forum and Lead Task Force are established. Now it is a question of implementation, implementation, implementation.

How is the RSPB involved?

Lapwing in machair

RSPB is a national partner of BirdLife International and represents the BirdLife Partnership at the regular meetings of CMS and its various linked agreements and groups. We make sure expertise of the Partnership is fed into the decisions of these intergovernmental agreements and support national Partners to encourage their governments to implement these decisions to improve conservation of migratory birds

What do we want to see from the CMS?

7 swifts flying against a bright blue sky with a couple of wispy clouds

By signing up to the CMS and its linked agreements, countries have agreed to tackle many of the urgent matters facing our migratory birds. Now we want to see a concerted and coordinated implementation of the treaty by governments and other stakeholders. For this to happen the political will and finance must be mobilised accordingly.