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Transboundary wildlife conservation in a changing climate: adaptation of the Bonn Convention on Migratory Species and its daughter instruments to climate change

Species migrating across boundaries represent the classic case for international cooperation in biodiversity conservation. Climate change is adding new challenges to such cooperation, on account of the shifting ranges and particular vulnerabilities to climate change of migratory wildlife. This paper presents an in-depth analysis of the present and potential future role of the main intergovernmental regime for migratory species conservation, the 1979 Bonn Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals (CMS) and its various daughter instruments, in respect of the adaptation of wildlife to climate change. It demonstrates that the CMS regime has taken significant first steps towards becoming a ‘climate-proof’ international wildlife conservation regime. At the same time, much potential remains for enlarging its contribution to ameliorating the impacts of climate change on migratory species conservation.