The CMS MOU together with the associated Medium Term International Work Programme provides a roadmap for action in the 13 West African range states. Since many of the elephant populations in West Africa cross national borders, the Work Programme takes a regional perspective with an emphasis on cooperation between range states and the transboundary management of elephants. It further includes measures targeting the control of the ivory trade and the implementation of CITES, in line with the close collaboration between CMS and CITES in conserving African elephants.
The Work Programme has three main components: to better understand the status of elephants, to maintain and possibly increase population numbers and to improve elephant habitats. To do this, governments and organizations want to better understand and control the ivory trade, reduce the rate of habitat loss, curtail the illegal killing of elephants, work on collecting better information to improve understanding of elephant conservation, improve cooperation, strengthen awareness raising and other activities. A cross-cutting component within the Work Programme is capacity building, from reducing human-elephant conflict in rural villages to managing transboundary law enforcement operations.