Who can become a Party and how?

All non-signatory Range States can become Parties to the Agreement through accession. Accession is the act whereby a State undertakes to become a Party to a treaty already negotiated and signed by other States, but which, after a certain date, has been closed for signature. The deposit of the relevantinstruments with the depositary binds the State concerned at international law.

Steps to become a Party


Step 1. Preliminary consultations and documentation:

In order to involve all government stakeholders at an early stage, an inter-ministerial committee can be set up to ensure an efficient consultation process. In consultation with other ministries involved, (e.g. the Ministry of Finance, Agriculture etc.), the competent authority for the implementation of the Agreement, usually the Ministry of Environment, may wish to prepare a document concerning the implications of accession. The document should address, among other issues, the administrative and legislative framework necessary for implementing the Agreement, the need for new laws, as well as a cost-benefit analysis of becoming a Party. This document can be used as an informative basis for the decision regarding accession to the Agreement.


Step 2. The national decision-making process:

Assuming that there is the political will to proceed, the lead authority then consults with the Government authority responsible for drafting ratification instruments for international agreements, normally a legal unit within the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. This responsible authority identifies who at the national level should, as a rule, take a decision on or approve accession to the Agreement. The decision-making authority indicates the necessary documentation and decision-making processes that need to be completed before the instrument can be signed and deposited. In addition to obtaining the necessary approval within the administration of the Head of State or head of Government, or by parliamentary debate, such processes may include new legislation, a judicial review, or evaluation at different state levels.


Step 3. Preparing and signing instrument(s):

Following the completion of the domestic legislative procedures, where necessary, for the approval of the Agreement, the government office responsible for doing so prepares the instrument of accession and any instruments of declaration. In the practice of many countries, this responsibility lies with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The instrument must be signed by the Head of State, Head of Government or Minister of Foreign Affairs. A person other than the Head of State, Head of Government or Minister of Foreign Affairs may sign a treaty only if that person possesses a valid instrument of full powers.


Step 4. Depositing the instrument of accession:

The instrument of accession to the Agreement becomes effective only when it has been received by the Depositary, in the case of the Gorilla Agreement, the Secretariat to the Convention on Migratory Species (CMS) in Bonn, Germany.  The deposition of accession documents is typically performed by the State’s Ambassador to Germany. Usually, the acceding country requests a meeting with the CMS Secretariat at which the instrument of accession together with a note signed by the Ambassador is handed over. The Agreement enters into force for the acceding country on the first day of the third month following the deposit.