CMS Dugong MOU Celebrates Tenth Anniversary

Abu Dhabi, November 2017 – The CMS Memorandum of Understanding on Conservation and Management of Dugongs and their Habitats throughout Their Range (Dugong MOU) just celebrated its ten year anniversary. The MOU came into effect on 31 October 2007 in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, which in 2009 became the home of the CMS Dugong MOU Secretariat.

Two meetings of the CMS Conference of the Parties in 2002 and 2005 called for the development of an appropriate instrument to conserve the dugong under CMS auspices: the initiative was led by the governments of Australia and Thailand in close coordination with the CMS Secretariat in Bonn, Germany. Two intergovernmental meetings on Dugong Conservation and Management were held in Bangkok, Thailand (in August 2005 and May 2006) under the auspices of CMS. The second meeting strongly endorsed the Dugong MOU and associated Conservation and Management Plan. A third meeting, held in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates on 28-31 October 2007, concluded the negotiations and agreed the final text. At this meeting, Australia, Eritrea, France, Madagascar, Myanmar, Tanzania and the United Arab Emirates, were the first Signatories to the MOU.

The Secretariat would like to extend its sincere gratitude to Environment Agency – Abu Dhabi which on behalf of the Government of the United Arab Emirates has provided to the Secretariat significant and sustained core funding over the last ten years, without which many of the achievements of the CMS Dugong MOU could not have happened.

Here are some of the key achievements of the CMS Dugong MOU from the past ten years:

  • Signatories to the Dugong MOU have grown from seven in 2007 to twenty-six in 2017 – representing over half of all dugong Range States and covering those areas with the most significant populations of Dugongs.
  • Three Meetings of Signatories (MOS) to the Dugong MOU were held; MOS1 (Abu Dhabi) in 2010, MOS2 (Manila) in 2013 and MOS3 (Abu Dhabi) in 2017.
  • The Dugong, Seagrass and Coastal Communities Initiative was launched in 2012.
  • The Dugong Technical Group was established in 2013 to provide expert advice to Signatories and Range States.
  • USD 5.88 million was secured for eight countries from the Global Environment Facility for the Dugong and Seagrass Conservation Project in 2014. 
  • The CMS Dugong MOU Standardised Dugong Catch and Bycatch Questionnairewas developed in 2010 and has since been deployed in 18 dugong Range States with over 6,000 respondents.
  • The Dugong and Seagrass Research Toolkit, a partnership with Environment Agency – Abu Dhabi, Total and the CMS Dugong MOU Secretariat was launched in March 2017.

In addition to our core investor, Environment Agency – Abu Dhabi, the Secretariat would like to thank all of its partners, the Dugong Technical Group and importantly, the Signatory States, for working together to conserve dugongs and their seagrass habitats. We are looking forward to the next 10 years!


Environment Agency – Abu Dhabi received a CMS Champion Plus Award for its commitment towards conservation of dugongs and their habitats for the period 2015-2019. Since 2009, Environment Agency – Abu Dhabi, on behalf of the Government of the United Arab Emirates, has hosted CMS Office – Abu Dhabi including the Secretariat to the CMS Memorandum of Understanding of Dugongs and their Habitats throughout their Range.

Last updated on 10 July 2018

Dugong dugon