MANILA, the Philippines (28 October 2017) – The following statement was issued by the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) as the 12th meeting of the Conference to the Parties to the Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals (CMS CoP12) concluded.

Said Dr. Susan Lieberman, WCS’s Vice President for International Policy:

“The Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals, or CMS, is coming into its own as a powerful international tool to conserve some of the most spectacular and important wildlife species on this planet. CMS is the only international agreement devoted exclusively to migratory animal species.

“WCS particularly welcomes the science-based decisions of the CMS Parties at this meeting on many issues, including the following:

  • The inclusion of the chimpanzee, whale shark, angel shark Gobi bear and nine vulture species on CMS Appendix I, which means that member countries are now obliged to legally prohibit take of these species within their countries (with some exceptions for science and other purposes).
  • The inclusion of the giraffe, African lion, leopard, four shark species, chimpanzee, and four South American bat species on CMS Appendix II, which encourages countries with those species to work together through collaborative actions or additional multilateral agreements to address a variety of conservation issues affecting these species.
  • The establishment of a ‘review mechanism’ for the Convention, through which Parties, the CMS Secretariat and organizations such as WCS can launch processes to identify Parties not complying with their international commitments and to assist them with compliance.
  • The adoption of “Concerted Actions,” or agreements on collaborative actions for Arabian Sea humpback whales, the most genetically isolated whale population in the world and a subject of WCS research, as well as other species WCS works on such as the Atlantic humpback dolphin and devil rays.

“The decisions at this meeting represent a significant achievement by governments from more than 100 countries to collaborate and take strong action to advance the conservation of migratory species. These decisions highlight the dynamic nature of the CMS Convention, and the active engagement of governments and organizations from across the globe demonstrates enhanced international commitment to the conservation of these species for future generations.

“WCS’s recommendations throughout the CoP were all based on science from our extensive field programs and scientific research in more than 60 countries around the world. WCS has significant expertise on migratory species, including the snow leopard, humpback whale, arctic shorebirds, African elephants, sharks, and so many more, and we work closely with governments and other conservation partners around the world on the conservation of these species and their habitats.

“WCS looks forward to continuing to work closely with the CMS Party governments, the CMS Secretariat, and all of our partners around the world, to help ensure that the decisions governments made at this important conference are implemented effectively.

“We strongly encourage the countries that are not currently Parties to CMS, including several world powers with large areas of terrestrial and marine habitat for wild migratory animals, to join the Convention. We can only achieve our conservation and sustainable development objectives through closer collaboration on transboundary issues, and we look forward to supporting the international community on these efforts moving forward.”


For WCS positions at CMS, go to