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WP leader: Dr. Nils Johan Päivio, participants: PhD cand. Johan Strömgren, both of the Sámi University of Applied Sciences). Phd Student: (Susanne Vars Buljo, UiT The Arctic University of Norway

The main objective is to study legal protection that both domestic and international law offers Sámi reindeer herders against other, new or changed, land use that may be in conflict with rights to reindeer herding. Furthermore, the aim is to investigate important aspects of converging or conflicting claims between Sámi customs/traditional knowledge within reindeer herding and written law/public administration. Along with the development of increased legal protection of reindeer herders land use, new industrial and political focuses on explorations of natural resources in the north have occurred, putting the reindeer herding communities under new pressure from competitive land use.

This pressure is likely to increase over time. A large part of the reindeer herding act (Reindriftsloven), and other regulations, is based upon existing customs and traditional knowledge on land use, business, family organization, rights to inherit and so on. The written law requires these types of customs and traditional knowledge to be meaningful and functional norms. Indigenous people’s land use, traditional knowledge and customaries are given a special status in international law (for instance CBD art. 8 (j), ICCPR art. 27, ILO 169 art. 8, 14, 23, UNDRIP art. 31). These regulations entail obligations for the state that shall be realized within national law. For instance Sámi customs and traditional knowledge shall be respected as far as possible, preserved and maintained, and regarded by public administration when applying laws and regulations (Naturmangfoldloven).

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