The Convention on Migratory Species


Recommendation 32 of Stockholm Conference on the Human Environment determined that the conservation of species that migrate between countries should be enshrined in international law.  (1972).

1974 –  the German government announced that they would produce the first draft (at UNEP governing council).  A draft was prepared in collaboration with the IUCN Environmental Law Centre.  Signature took place in 1979 and the text was disseminated widely for comments.  The convention entered  into force in 1983.   In the process  African nations took a unified approach –  the convention was originally not for marine species – African countries insisted on wider taxonomic scope.

Currently there are 124 parties and 1 signatory who has not ratified.  45 of these are African nations.  Brazil is also a member. COP’s are every three years and have been regularly held since 1983.  There have been 11 so far.

Challenges:  There is no compliance mechanism.  Countries don’t give the convention priority.  There is a lack of implementation.  African countries are sometimes lacking in initiative and the position of Africa is not normally reflected in negotiations.  This could be remedied by regular consultation between African countries to formulate joint positions.  Incorporation of the convention decisions into domestic law is also needed.