Memorandum of Understanding with the Bonn Convention


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Memorandum of Understanding


the Bureau of the Convention on Wetlands of International Importance especially as Waterfowl Habitat (Ramsar Convention)


the Secretariat of the Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals (Bonn Convention or CMS)



1. The Ramsar Convention's field of action is conservation and wise use of wetland habitats, which are of crucial importance in achieving a positive conservation status for many species of wetland fauna and flora, including migratory species, especially waterfowl. The Bonn Convention's field of action is conservation and management of migratory species (including waterfowl and other wetland species), and promotion of measures for their conservation including habitat conservation. Conservation of these habitats is one of the principal actions taken for endangered species listed under Bonn's Appendix I, and for species or groups of species which are the subject of Agreements under the Bonn Convention. The scientific literature abounds with examples of decline and extinction of species that can be directly or indirectly attributed to habitat degradation and habitat loss. There are thus clearly common interests between the two conventions, whose secretariats will aim to establish the closest possible cooperation.

2. In view of:

    a) Article IX paragraph 4(b) of the Bonn Convention and the recommendations given by the CMS Standing Committee at it 14th meeting (Bonn, February 1996) as well as by the meeting of the Range States of the Agreement on the Conservation of African-Eurasian Migratory Species (AEWA) in The Hague, The Netherlands, 12-16 June 1995; and

    b) the Ramsar Strategic Plan 1997-2002, in particular its Operational Objective 7 aimed at strengthening and formalizing linkages between the Ramsar Convention and other international and/or regional environmental conventions and agencies;

the Ramsar Bureau and the UNEP/CMS Secretariat agree to intensify their cooperation in order to strengthen their forces in the common fields of the implementation of both conventions as well as of Agreements concluded under CMS.

Mechanisms and methodologies already established by the two Conventions

3. The Ramsar Convention has established:

    a) The "List of wetlands of international importance", many of which will be crucial for species which are included in the Bonn Convention's Appendix I or which are the subject of Agreements under the Bonn Convention;

    b) a global classification of wetland types;

    c) criteria for identifying wetlands of international importance, including criteria based on waterfowl numbers and on fish, which have contributed to international initiatives on species, such as the Greenland White-fronted Goose International Conservation Plan and the Brisbane Initiative on the establishment of a network of listed sites along the East Asian-Australia Flyway;

    d) the "Montreux Record", a mechanism for identifying Ramsar sites which need priority conservation action;

    e) the "Management Guidance Procedure", a mechanism for providing advice to Contracting Parties on measures to maintain the ecological character of Ramsar sites;

    f) guidelines on management planning for wetlands; and

    g) "Guidelines" and "Additional Guidance" for implementation of the Ramsar concept of wise use of wetlands, which include the development and implementation of national policies on wetlands; such policies have major implications for review of institutions and policies, for public awareness, training and capacity building, and for species conservation and scientific research on wetland issues.

4. The Bonn Convention has established or is preparing:

    a) Lists of endangered migratory species (Appendix I);

    b) lists of species that have an unfavourable conservation status or would significantly benefit from international cooperation through Agreements (Appendix II);

    c) Regional Agreements on seals in the Wadden Sea, small cetaceans in the Baltic and North Seas as well as the Mediterranean and Black Seas, and bats in Europe;

    d) Regional Agreements on migratory waterbirds in the African-Eurasian (1995/6) and Asia-Pacific regions;

    e) initiatives to promote conservation of other small cetaceans and marine turtles, eventually within the framework of regional Agreements;

    f) Memoranda of Understanding on certain avian migratory species (notably Siberian Crane and Slender-billed Curlew);

    g) guidelines on the harmonization of future CMS Agreements;

    h) an action plan for the conservation, including management, of certain cormorant species; and

    i) a strategy on the future development of CMS, adopted by the fourth meeting of the Conference of the Parties.

Areas of cooperation

5. Joint promotion. Each secretariat will make efforts, in the course of its own promotional activities, to promote recruitment of additional Contracting Parties to the other convention and, in the course of work to implement its own convention's obligations, to promote implementation of the other convention by existing Contracting Parties.

6. Institutional cooperation. The two secretariats:

    a) will investigate the possibility of cross-representation between the institutions of their respective conventions, notably: the Conference of the Contracting Parties; regional meetings; the Bonn Scientific Council and the Ramsar Scientific and Technical Review Panel. They will seek that the need for cooperation between conventions is clearly indicated in their respective Strategic Plans.

    b) will keep under review how far the mechanisms and methodologies already developed are complementary, and advise their respective Conferences of the Contracting Parties on adoption of joint standards, criteria and methodologies. They will ensure that work on future guidelines (e.g., those proposed by Ramsar on environmental impact assessment, or on emergency measures to combat problems such as oil spills) is coordinated, and that, if possible, any new guidelines are adopted by both conventions.

7. Joint conservation action. Both secretariats will seek:

    a) to ensure that the networks of reserves for migratory species to be established under Bonn Convention Agreements include existing Ramsar sites;

    b) to identify key wetlands of significance for migratory species which might be designated for the Ramsar List of Wetlands of International Importance by Ramsar Contracting Parties;

    c) to identify pilot projects that could be carried out under the auspices of the two conventions, including making joint requests for funding.

8. Data collection, storage and analysis. The two secretariats:

    a) will consider the possibilities of using standardized, mutually compatible methodologies for collection of data and establishment of databases;

    b) will facilitate exchange of data between the two conventions;

    c) will investigate the possibility of coordinating reporting on the implementation of the two conventions to the two Conferences of the Contracting Parties;

    d) will seek to coordinate their use of scientific or legal data provided by partner organizations such as IUCN or Wetlands International.

The bodies of Agreements concluded under CMS will be invited to join these harmonization efforts.

9 New agreements on migratory species, including endangered migratory species and species with an unfavourable conservation status. The two secretariats:

    a) will cooperate in the establishment and implementation of other Agreements on migratory animals to be developed in the future. They will also investigate ways of cooperating with respect to endangered migratory species, notably those on the Bonn Convention's Appendix I, especially in relation to species for which Memoranda of Agreement exist (e.g., Siberian Crane and Slender-billed Curlew) or could be concluded under the Bonn Convention. Inter alia, the designation as Ramsar sites of key habitats for the respective endangered species and their effective management should be one of the common efforts;

    b) will investigate ways of cooperating over species which are entirely or mainly dependant on wetlands and which have an unfavourable conservation status, notably those included now or in future in the Bonn Convention's Appendix II. Such cooperation could involve concluding Agreements, in accordance with the provisions of the CMS, that would include, inter alia, the designation of key wetlands as Ramsar sites. At the same time, Range States shall be encouraged to take measures for these species in national wetland policies.


10. This MOU shall enter into force on the day after it has been signed by the heads of both secretariats.

11. The MOU will be periodically revised to take into account developments under both Conventions, and in particular resolutions that might be adopted by the respective Conferences of the Contracting Parties.

Done at Gland on the 18 day of February 1997,

For the Ramsar BureauFor the UNEP/CMS Secretariat
Delmar Blasco
Secretary General
Arnulf Müller-Helmbrecht

Signing of Mou
Signing of MOU
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