Countries in South and South-East Asia are Trained to Conserve Migratory Animals

Quezon City / Bonn, 27 October 2015– The Secretariat of the Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals (CMS) is for the very first time organizing a capacity-building workshop for South and South-East Asian countries that are not yet Parties to the Convention in Quezon  City, the Philippines from 27 to 29 October.

Bradnee Chambers, Executive Secretary of CMS, said: “CMS plays a leading role in bringing countries to work together to conserve endangered migratory animals and the habitats they depend on. The workshop in the Philippines is part of our continuing efforts to convince more countries to join the Convention in a move to protect this shared natural resource”.

South and South-East Asia is home to a significant number of migratory species such as sharks, dugongs, marine turtles and shorebirds whose survival depends on coordinated conservation action by all countries in the region. CMS has developed tailored instruments to conserve marine turtles, sharks, dugongs as well as whales and dolphins in the wider region.

The meeting is being jointly organized with the United Nations Environment Programme, Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific (UNEP-ROAP), the ASEAN Centre for Biodiversity (ACB) and the Philippines’s Department of Environment and Natural Resources.

Ramon J. P. Paje, Secretary of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources who warmly welcomed participants of the workshop, commented that   “Being the next host of the Conference of the Parties (CMS COP12) in Manila in 2017, the Philippines will seize the opportunity to demonstrate its capacity in terms of migratory species conservation to other countries in the region. We want to showcase the benefits this highly specialized global convention has to offer to the region as it contributed in promoting migratory species conservation in the Philippines.”

The meeting will help participants grasp the importance and tools of the Convention, which serves as a platform to strengthen trans-boundary conservation efforts for migratory animals worldwide. Countries will have the opportunity to share information and experiences with other States sharing the same migratory species, also with a view to achieving biodiversitytargets as part of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

“The Convention on Migratory Species is an expression of our shared commitment to ensure that human development does not come at the cost of the world’s natural resources and the ecosystem services that they provide. Countries in our region can use this important UNEP supported global environmental agreement to promote their sustainable development goals” said Kaveh Zahedi, UNEP Regional Director and Representative for Asia and the Pacific.

The flora and fauna of South and South-East Asia are exceptionally diverse. In addition to terrestrial biodiversity hotspots, it hosts the principal global hotspot for marine biodiversity. For example, out of an estimated 10,000 living species of birds worldwide, around one fifth occur in South-East Asia. The region is home to 243 migratory waterbird species, 50 of which are threatened. The greatest diversity occurs in lowland primary rainforest and coastal mangrove.

The active contribution of the Philippines to the work of the Convention in the region helps to strengthen awareness of the challenges migratory animals face and to encourage both South and South-East Asian countries that are not yet Party to join the Convention.

This activity has been kindly sponsored by the European Commission through the Global Public Goods and Challenges (GPGC) Programme Cooperation Agreements with UNEP.



The Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals (CMS) aims to conserve terrestrial, aquatic and avian migratory species throughout their range. It is an intergovernmental treaty, concluded under the aegis of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), concerned with the conservation of wildlife and habitats on a global scale. With Brazil’s accession there are now 122 Parties including the European Union to the Convention.


Why conserve migratory animals?

Migratory species are an important element of biological diversity.  As well as their intrinsic value, migratory species provide many benefits and services to people and ecosystems.  Many are essential for subsistence and for the cultures of numerous human populations and they form the basis of activities of economic, cultural and social value.  The remarkable biological phenomenon of migration occurs in many species of birds, terrestrial mammals, whales, turtles, fish and insects.  However, behavioural adaptation of these animals which leads them to cover vast distances in search of places to feed and breed means that they are particularly vulnerable to threats arising from both human activity and natural causes.


A global platform for cooperation and sustainable development

The conservation and sustainable use of migratory species poses a challenge that cannot be addressed through independent action by any given country.  Conservation measures can only be effective if they are carried out in cooperation.  CMS is the only convention within the United Nations whose sole objective is the conservation, protection and use of terrestrial, aquatic and avian migratory specie and it provides the necessary means to achieve this.  Since its entry into force on 1 November 1983, the number of Parties to it has risen steadily.  With the recent accession of Brazil on 1 October 2015, 122 countries from Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean, Asia, Europe and Oceania are Party to the Convention.

CMS instruments have direct effects on local animal populations by promoting access to benefits arising from the use of natural resources.  The Convention supports economic activities linked to the sustainable use of migratory species, such as wildlife watching and ecotourism and encourages sustainable use for human food.  CMS and its related agreements complement - and maintain synergistic relations with - other global and regional conventions dealing with biological diversity, for example the Convention on Biological Diversity, the Ramsar Convention, the Conventions on Climate Change and Combating Desertification and CITES, among others.


Conservation of the most threatened migratory animals

Endangered or critically endangered species are listed on Appendix I of the Convention.  Countries seek to provide strict protection to these species conserving or restoring the sites where they live, mitigating obstacles to migration and controlling or minimizing other factors that put them at risk.  Besides establishing obligations for each country acceding to the Convention, CMS promotes other priority activities agreed between the Range States of many of these species.


Specially tailored proposals for global and regional solutions

Migratory species most in need of international cooperation or which could benefit greatly from such cooperation are listed on Appendix II of the Convention.  For this reason, the Convention encourages Range States to conclude global or regional agreements.

CMS acts as an umbrella convention.  The agreements can range from binding treaties to less formal instruments such as Memoranda of Understanding and can be adapted to the needs of the regions in question.  Developing models that reflect the particular needs across the migratory range is a unique feature of CMS.  All of the agreements are based on action plans, sustainable use and concrete conservation. Since 1990, seven Agreements and 19 memoranda of understanding have been concluded under CMS dealing with terrestrial mammals, sharks, marine turtles, aquatic and grassland birds, dolphins and whales and bats.


For further information, please contact:

Florian Keil, Coordinator of the Common Information Management, Communication and Outreach Team of the UNEP/CMS and UNEP/AEWA Secretariats, e-mail: [email protected]; tel: +49 (0)228 815 2451

Veronika Lenarz, UNEP/CMS Secretariat, e-mail: [email protected]; tel. +49 (0)228-8152409

Currently at the meeting: Francisco Rilla, Capacity-building Officer, UNEP/CMS Secretariat, e-mail: [email protected]; mobile: +49 173-9188958

Makiko Yashiro, Programme Officer, UNEP/ROAP, e-mail: [email protected].


Last updated on 27 January 2016

Press Release
South-East Asia