“We are being pushed out” – Nils Henrik Sara on Pressures on Reindeer Husbandry

February 18, 2008 • Philip BurgessReindeer, Reindeer Herders

New hydropower projects, windmill parks and the construction of new houses and cabin put increasing pressure on the reindeer herders in Norway. The industry might vanish by year 2050 should the developments continue, a representative of the reindeer herders says.It is not climate changes, nor the high number of reindeers or the increasing motorized traffic which pose the biggest threat against the Norwegian reindeer herders. It is rather the big number of cabins built in the pasture areas, as well as the planned hydropower and wind power projects, head of the Norwegian Association of Reindeer Herders, Nils Henrik Sara, says to newspaper Aftenposten.

-We are being pushed out […] Our future looks gloomy and we do not have the necessary dialogue with the authorities, Mr Sara says.

He is supported by researcher Christian Nellemann from the United Nation Environmental Programme (UNEP), who says that the reindeer herding industry might disappear by 2050 should the current development continue.

–The only thing, which can save the Sàmi reindeer culture is state intervention and protection of the necessary land areas, he adds.

Lawyer Geir Haugen says to Aftenposten that Norway is committed by the ILO Convention on protection of indigenous peoples’ culture and industry and that the current development in the country therefore can be seen as a violation of international law.

Only this year about 1000 new cabins are planned built in northern Norway, of which half have got special permissions. In addition come 25 planned hydro power projects, 10-12 wind power projects, as well as mining projects.

Original Story in Barents Observer and Aftenposten