A new Reindeer grazing Convention proposed between Norway and Sweden

March 4, 2009 • Philip BurgessReindeer, Reindeer Herders

A proposal on a new convention on cross-border reindeer grazing between Norway and Sweden is now completed. The two countries’ negotiating delegations finished their work in Stockholm 24 February, and the negotiation results are now submitted to Ministry of Agriculture and Food of Norway and the Agriculture Ministry in Sweden for further follow-up.

Reindeer husbandry moves between different pastures has been going on for centuries and long irrespective of the nation’s borders. In connection with the border drawing between Norway and Sweden in 1751, there was a need to clarify the relationship to the reindeer herders. This resulted in the so-called Lapcodicil, which was an addition to the border treaty between the two countries, and which provided the basis for the reindeer husbandry – that it still should be able to make seasonal moves. The cross-border reindeer husbandry has since that been regulated by various conventions, the latest convention of 9 February 1972 for grazing between Norway and Sweden. The 1972-Convention ceased to apply in 2005.

The proposal to the Convention has at the present a total of 34 articles with the main provisions of the cross-border reindeer husbandry. Convention’s purpose is to promote and develop cooperation between the countries so that reindeer grazing is exploited in a way that provides a long-term basis for an ecologically, economically and culturally sustainable reindeer herding in both countries.

For implementation of the Convention established two permanent bodies, a body and a review body. One of the Annexes to the Convention is a range protocol, that specifies the locations to be included in the cross-border reindeer husbandry.

Before a new Convention can be implemented, there must be a further follow-up through the signature, internal processes in both countries and ratification. A new convention will probably take effect in 2010.