Samarkand, 12 February 2024 – The first-ever State of the World’s Migratory Species report was launched today by the Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals (CMS), a UN biodiversity treaty, at the opening of a significant UN wildlife conservation conference (CMS COP14). The landmark report reveals:

While some migratory species listed under the CMS are improving, nearly half (44%) show population declines. Over one in five (22%) of CMS-listed species are threatened with extinction. Almost all (97%) of CMS-listed fish are threatened with extinction. The extinction risk is growing for migratory species globally, including those not listed under the CMS. Half (51%) of Key Biodiversity Areas identified as necessary for CMS-listed migratory animals do not have protected status, and 58% of the monitored sites recognized as essential for CMS-listed species are experiencing unsustainable levels of human-caused pressure.

The two most significant threats to CMS-listed and all migratory species are overexploitation and habitat loss due to human activity. Three out of four CMS-listed species are impacted by habitat loss, degradation, and fragmentation, and seven out of 10 CMS-listed species are affected by overexploitation (including intentional taking and incidental capture). Climate change, pollution, and invasive species also profoundly impact migratory species. Globally, 399 migratory species threatened or near threatened with extinction are not currently listed under the CMS. Until now, no such comprehensive assessment of migratory species has been carried out. The report provides a global overview of migratory animals’ conservation status and population trends, combined with the latest information on their main threats and successful actions to save them.

Inger Andersen, Executive Director of the United Nations Environment Programme, said: “Today’s report clearly shows us that unsustainable human activities are jeopardizing the future of migratory species – creatures who not only act as indicators of environmental change but play an integral role in maintaining the function and resilience of our planet’s complex ecosystems. The global community has an opportunity to translate this latest science of the pressures facing migratory species into concrete conservation action. Given the precarious situation of many of these animals, we cannot afford to delay and must work together to make the recommendations a reality.”*****
Billions of animals make migratory journeys each year on land, in the oceans, and in the skies, crossing national boundaries and continents, with some traveling thousands of miles across the globe to feed and breed. Migratory species play an essential role in maintaining the world’s ecosystems and provide vital benefits by pollinating plants, transporting critical nutrients, preying on pests, and helping to store carbon. 
Prepared for CMS by conservation scientists at the UN Environment Programme World Conservation Monitoring Centre (UNEP-WCMC), the CMS State of the World’s Migratory Species report uses the world’s most robust species data sets and features expert contributions from institutions, including BirdLife International, the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) and the Zoological Society of London (ZSL).
The report focuses on the 1,189 animal species recognized by CMS Parties as needing international protection and listed under CMS. However, it also features analysis linked to over 3,000 additional non-CMS migratory species.
Species listed under the Convention are those at risk of extinction across all or much of their range or needing coordinated international action to boost their conservation status. 

Amy Fraenkel, CMS Executive Secretary, said: “Migratory species rely on various specific habitats at different times in their lifecycles. They regularly travel, sometimes thousands of miles, to reach these places. They face enormous challenges and threats along the way and at their breeding or feeding destinations. When species cross national borders, their survival depends on the efforts of all countries in which they are found. This landmark report will help underpin much-needed policy actions to ensure that migratory species continue to thrive worldwide.”
While there have been positive trends for numerous CMS species, the report’s findings underscore the need for more significant action for all migratory species. Listing species under CMS means that these species require international cooperation to address their conservation. But many of these species’ threats are global drivers of environmental change – affecting biodiversity loss and climate change. Thus, addressing the decline of migratory species requires action across governments, the private sector, and other actors. 
Over the past 30 years, 70 CMS-listed migratory species – including the steppe eagle, Egyptian vulture, and the wild camel – have become more endangered. This contrasts with 14 species with improved conservation status, including blue and humpback whales, the white-tailed sea eagle, and the black-faced spoonbill.
Most worryingly, nearly all CMS-listed fish species – including migratory sharks, rays, and sturgeons – face a high risk of extinction, with their populations declining by 90% since the 1970s.
Analyzing the threats to species, the report shows the vast extent to which human activities are causing the decline in migratory species.
The two most significant threats to both CMS-listed and all migratory species were confirmed as overexploitation – which includes unsustainable hunting, overfishing, and the capture of non-target animals such as in fisheries – and habitat loss, degradation, and fragmentation – from activities such as agriculture and the expansion of transport and energy infrastructure.
One key priority is to map and take adequate steps to protect the vital locations for breeding, feeding, and stopover sites for migratory species. The report shows that nearly 10,000 of the world’s Key Biodiversity Areas are essential for CMS-listed migratory species; still, more than half (by area) are not designated protected or conserved areas. 58% of monitored sites important for CMS-listed species are under threat due to human activities.
The report also investigated how many migratory species are at risk but not covered by the Convention. It found 399 migratory species – mainly birds and fish, including many albatrosses and perching birds, ground sharks, and stingrays – are categorized as threatened or near-threatened but are not yet CMS-listed.
While underscoring the concerning situation of many species, the report also shows that population and species-wide recoveries are possible and highlights instances of successful policy change and positive action, from local to international. Examples include coordinated local action that has seen illegal bird netting reduced by 91% in Cyprus and hugely successful integrated conservation and restoration work in Kazakhstan, bringing the Saiga Antelope back from extinction.
The State of the World’s Migratory Species report issues a clear wake-up call and provides a set of priority recommendations for action, which include: 
Strengthen and expand efforts to tackle illegal and unsustainable taking of migratory species, as well as incidental capture of non-target species; increase actions to identify, protect, connect, and effectively manage essential sites for migratory species; urgently address those species in most danger of extinction, including nearly all CMS-listed fish species, Scale up efforts to tackle climate change, as well as light, noise, chemical and plastic pollution, and, Consider expanding CMS listings to include more at-risk migratory species in need of national and international attention. 
The UN wildlife conservation conference (CMS COP14), starting Feb. 12 in Samarkand, Uzbekistan, is among the most significant global biodiversity gatherings since adopting the Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework (Biodiversity Plan). It will also be the first COP of any global environmental treaty in Central Asia, a region home to many migratory species, including the Saiga Antelope, Snow Leopard, and many species of migratory birds. 
Governments, wildlife organizations, and scientists will consider actions to advance the implementation of the Biodiversity Plan at the week-long meeting. The State of the World’s Migratory Species report will provide the scientific grounding along with policy recommendations to set the context and provide valuable information to support the deliberations of the meeting.