Preventing Poisoning of Migratory Birds

In 2014, the 11th Meeting of the Conference of the Parties to CMS (COP11) passed Resolution 11.15 – Preventing Poisoning of Migratory Birds, recalling CMS COP10 Resolution 10.26 - Minimizing the Risk of Poisoning to Migratory Birds. These Resolutions called on Parties to the Convention, non-Party Range States and other stakeholders, including non-governmental organizations, to engage in co-operative activities and to elaborate strategies to address poisoning of migratory birds. Based on Resolution 10.26, the Preventing Poisoning Working Group (PPWG) has been established under the Scientific Council. Its continuation was proposed by Resolution 11.15 (Rev.COP13) in order to facilitate concerted efforts, actions and procedures to prevent poisoning of migratory birds.


The COP decided that the Working Group should focus on:

  1. The scope and severity of poisoning for migratory bird species globally and how this varies geographically and across taxa;
  2. Significant knowledge gaps, either across Range States, or in specific areas; and
  3. Where sufficient evidence exists, to recommend suitable responses to address the problems, potentially including;
  4. areas where enhanced legislation may be required;
  5. features of effective regulatory regimes; and
  6. understanding of socio-economic drivers of poisoning.


The Working Group developed the Guidelines to Prevent the Risk of Poisoning to Migratory Birds, which were adopted at the COP11 in 2014. The Guidelines state the priority areas of poisoning. Based on the results of the 1st Meeting of the Preventing Poisoning Working Group in Tunis, 27-28 May 2013, they give the following key recommendations:

         i. Substitute insecticides with a high risk to birds with safe alternatives.

       ii. Restrict/ban the use of second-generation anticoagulant rodenticides.

      iii. Prohibit the use of poison-baits for predator control and improvement of enforcement legislation.

     iv.  Prohibit the use of veterinary diclofenac for the treatment of livestock and substitute with safe alternatives.

       v.  Phase-out the use of lead ammunition across all habitats within the next three years, with countries reporting on progress to COP12 in 2017.

     vi.  Phase-out the use of lead fishing weights in areas where migratory birds have been shown to be particularly at risk i.e. freshwater habitats.

As proposed by the COP, the Working Group supports and monitors the implementation of the Preventing Poisoning Guidelines and assesses other causes of migratory bird poisoning.

Intersessional work takes place electronically using the CMS online platform, the Scientific Council Workspace.

COP13 Decisions

CMS Resolution 11.15 (Rev.COP13)

CMS Decisions 13.39 and 13.40

As adopted through Res. 11.15 (Rev.COP13), COP has instructed the Secretariat, subject to availability of resources, to convene an Intergovernmental Task Force on Phasing Out the Use of Lead Ammunition and Lead Fishing Weights to take forward the implementation of the Guidelines in its relevant sections, as appropriate. The establishment of this Task Force is an example of international cooperation in the efforts to minimize the impact of some of the worst contaminants. The Terms of Reference of the Task Force have been adopted by the 52nd meeting of the Standing Committee in 2021. 

Regional Plans and Guidance

Download the Sub-regional Implementation Plan to Prevent Poisoning of Migratory Birds

Preventing the Risk to Migratory Birds from Poisoning by Agricultural Chemicals: Guidance for Countries on the Rift Valley/Red Sea Flyway

Proposal EU Action Plan to Prevent Illegal Poisoning of Wildlife



UNEP/CMS Secretariat
Name Role
Iván Ramírez Head Avian Species Team
Tilman Schneider Associate Programme Management Officer
Last updated on 23 February 2023