Convention on Migratory Species


9th Conference of the Parties (CoP9), 1-4 December 2008, Rome


There were crossroads and controversy to negotiate at the last Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Migratory Species (CMS) in Rome in December. The CMS is a species-based, action-focused Convention, which creates a framework to develop other treaties for specific species or groups of species. CMS has grown significantly in the past decade. With 110 Parties, CoP9 was therefore a crossroads. CoP recognised this by passing resolutions that consolidate and review direction, in parallel with continuing action. JNCC and Scottish Natural Heritage staff provided scientific advice as part of the UK delegation led by Defra.


Most of the new species listings were uncontroversial, but proposals to list the saker falcon  on Appendix I, and several shark species on Appendix II, generated considerable debate, both in formal session, and in the corridors. The proposal for listing the saker was eventually withdrawn, but only after adoption of a resolution which will bring it back for listing if there is not a significant improvement in its status by the next CoP. The shark proposals eventually went through, after agreement to restrict listing to the Northern hemisphere populations of the spiny dogfish, as South American Parties did not consider that there was scientific evidence of declines for southern hemisphere populations.


Key resolutions can be found at and  included:

  • developing an inter-sessional process to determine the future shape of the Convention;
  • reducing the impact of climate change on migratory species;
  • convening a taskforce on wildlife diseases;
  • recognition of emerging evidence of the impact of ocean noise; and
  • continuing to work to mitigate the impacts of bycatch.  


Dr James Williams

Biodiversity Information Service

Tel: +44 (0) 1733 866868