Prelims cum Mains

What is the Convention on Migratory Species and how does it matter to India?

In News:

  • India is hosting the 13th Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Migratory Species (CMS COP13) in Gandhinagar.


Basics: Migratory Species

  • Migratory species are those animals that move from one habitat to another during different times of the year, due to various factors such as food, sunlight, temperature, climate, etc.
  • The movement between habitats can sometimes exceed thousands of miles/kilometres for some migratory birds and mammals.
  • A migratory route can involve nesting and also requires the availability of habitats before and after each migration.


In Focus: Convention on Migratory Species (CMS)

  • The Convention on Migratory Species (CMS) is an intergovernmental treaty, concluded under the aegis of the United Nations Environmental Programme (UNEP).
  • The treaty provides a global platform for the conservation and sustainable use of migratory animals and their habitats.
  • It is the only global convention specialising in the conservation of migratory species, their habitats and migration routes.
  • The pact was signed in 1979 in Germany and is known as the Bonn Convention.
  • It provides a global platform for the conservation and sustainable use of migratory animals and their habitats and brings together the States through which migratory animals pass, the Range States, and lays the legal foundation for internationally coordinated conservation measures throughout a migratory range.
  • CMS listing makes member countries responsible to work towards protecting these animals/birds, conserving their habitats and controlling other factors that might endanger them.

Appendix I of the Convention: ‘Threatened Migratory Species’

  • Migratory species threatened with extinction are listed on Appendix I of the Convention.
  • CMS Parties strive towards strictly protecting these animals, conserving or restoring the places where they live, mitigating obstacles to migration and controlling other factors that might endanger them.
  • Currently, 173 species from across the globe are listed in CMS Appendix I.

Appendix II of the Convention:‘Migratory Species requiring international cooperation’

  • Migratory species that need or would significantly benefit from international co-operation are listed in Appendix II of the Convention.
  • A total of 518 species are listed in Appendix II, but this listing also includes entire species groups including sub-species.


India and CMS:

  • India is a temporary home to several migratory animals and birds.
  • The important among these include Amur Falcons, Bar-headed geese, Black-necked cranes, Marine turtles, Dugongs, Humpbacked Whales, etc.
  • India has been member of the convention since 1983.
  • Hosting COP13 marks India’s commitment to tackle loss of biodiversity and protection of vulnerable species.
  • Three species from India (Great Indian Bustard, Asian Elephant and Bengal Florican), will be included in a special global list for protection under the ‘Convention on Conservation of Migratory Species’ (CMS) during COP13.


  • The Indian sub-continent is also part of the major bird flyway network, i.e, the Central Asian Flyway (CAF) that covers areas between the Arctic and Indian Oceans, and covers at least 279 populations of 182 migratory waterbird species, including 29 globally threatened species.
  • India has also launched the National Action Plan for the conservation of migratory species under the Central Asian Flyway.
  • Further, India has developed and is implementing the ‘National Conservation Action Plans of Dugongs, Great Indian Bustard, Sea Turtles and Amur Falcons’.


About: CMS COP13

  • The theme of the conference: “Migratory species connect the planet and together we welcome them home”.
  • Logo:The CMS COP 13 logo is inspired by ‘Kolam’, a traditional art form from southern India. In the logo of CMS COP-13, Kolam art form is used to depict key migratory species in India like Amur falcon, humpback whale and marine turtles.
  • Mascot:The mascot for CMS COP13, “Gibi – The Great Indian Bustard” is a critically endangered species that has been accorded the highest protection status under the Wildlife Protection Act, 1972.

Key agendas of COP13:

  • To minimise impact of light (artificial light) pollution, plastic pollution and impact of energy and other infrastructure on migratory species.
    • The artificial light was increasing worldwide, affecting insects and migratory species such as bats, birds and marine turtles.
  • Representative from 110 countries will also discuss adoption of dedicated actions to protect 12 species, including Gangetic River Dolphin, Gabon and Giraffe. India has prepared a concerted action proposal to protect Gangetic River Dolphin.
  • Outcomes expected at CMS COP13 include negotiated decisions, political commitments and new initiatives, including proposals to add 10 new species for protection under the CMS.
  • These include the Asian Elephant, the Jaguar, the Great Indian Bustard, and the Smooth Hammerhead Shark.
  • Parties will also discuss the adoption of dedicated concerted actions for 12 different species, including the Giraffe, the Ganges River Dolphin, the Common Guitarfish and the Antipodean Albatross.


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