Planning community based conservation for the Cross River Gorilla

What is the CMS SGP?

The CMS Small Grants Programme (SGP) was established in 1994 by the Fourth Meeting of the Conference of the Parties as a grassroots tool that has served as a catalyst for further action to conserve migratory species and their habitats, funding projects in more than 30 countries since its inception.

The SGP has played an important role in strengthening the implementation of the Convention through supporting CMS conservation initiatives for a number of migratory taxa, with a strong focus on implementation in developing countries.


Governmental institutions, non-governmental organizations, communities, conservationists and researchers engaged in the conservation of migratory species may submit proposals. Projects should contribute to the implementation of the Convention and focus on migratory species. Project duration should not exceed two years and applications must be endorsed by the national CMS Focal Point(s) of those eligible countries where activities are taking place. The implementing agency must have a bank account that can receive international payments.

Measuring turtle tracks to identify nesting species

In order to be eligible for the CMS Small Grants Programme, a project should originate from countries meeting the following criteria:

  1. Be a Contracting Party to CMS;
  2. Be below 0.200 in the UN Scale of Assessment;
  3. Be not more than three years in arrears with the payment of its assessed contributions to the budget of the Convention by the deadline for submission of proposals.

How to apply

Applicants are strongly encouraged to read the revised guidelines for the operation of the SGP, as endorsed by the 10th Meeting of the Conference of the Parties (UNEP/CMS/Conf.10.43).

A Guide for Applicants prepared for the 2013 call for proposals is available below. The Guide provides assistance in preparing and submitting applications.

The Application Package, also available below, contains all the forms that need to be completed and submitted.

Project selection

Projects under the SGP are evaluated and ranked by the CMS Scientific Council and the UNEP/CMS Secretariat according to the guidelines devised for the operation of the Programme (see the Information Documents below). Projects are evaluated using a specific SGP Assessment Form, which applicants may wish to consult.

Amongst high-scoring projects priority is given to those with secured co-funding, as well as to those requiring urgent conservation action.  In terms of species, priority is given in the following order: species on Appendix I and listed for Concerted Action, other species on Appendix I, species on Appendix II and in exceptional circumstances other migratory species.

Support the CMS Small Grants Programme!

The SGP is not included in the core budget of the Convention and is therefore critically dependent on voluntary contributions.  Financial support for the Programme is strongly encouraged by the Secretariat to ensure the sustainability of this cost-effective mechanism targeting conservation action where it is most needed.

For more information contact Marco Barbieri, Scientific Adviser ([email protected]) at the UNEP/CMS Secretariat.

Other comparable programmes within the CMS Family

Several instruments established under the Convention have developed their own project support mechanisms and programmes.

The Meeting of the Parties to ACCOBAMS established at its First Session (MOP1, Monaco, 2002) a Supplementary Conservation Fund (SCF) supported through voluntary contributions from Parties and other sources, with a view to increasing the funds available for research projects, monitoring and training related to the conservation of cetaceans. The SCF became operational at MOP2 (Palma de Mallorca, Spain, 2004) and, since then, has played a significant role in supporting ACCOBAMS conservation initiatives in developing countries and countries with economies in transition. For more information, see

The AEWA Small Grants Fund initially established through Resolution 1.7 of the 1st Meeting of the Parties to AEWA (MOP1), aims at promoting and supporting the implementation of AEWA in developing countries and countries with economies in transition. Since its launch, the Fund has benefited both governmental and non-governmental organizations carrying out a wide range of conservation activities. It has so far focused exclusively on the African region. For more information, see

Since 2008, the ASCOBANS Secretariat has been regularly able to support research and conservation projects. For more information, see [LINK].

The EUROBATS Projects Initiative (EPI) was launched in 2008 to provide funding for small- to medium-sized conservation projects relating to bats. Since then, it has attracted a significant number of project proposals as well as additional voluntary contributions for its operation. For more information, see