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Incentives and regulations to reconcile conservation and development: Thirty years of governance of the Sami pastoral ecosystem in Finnmark, Norway

Ulvevadet, Birgitte, Hausner, Vera H.
Journal of environmental management 2011 v.92 no.10 pp. 2794-2802
Common Agricultural Policy, collaborative management, ecosystems, environmental law, equipment, governance, issues and policy, pastures, reindeer, Norway
Incentive-based mechanisms are regarded as efficient instruments to reconcile conservation and development. This win–win objective has been difficult to accomplish; cross-compliance has, therefore, been suggested as a mechanism to ensure sustainability. Cross-compliance, which requires producers to conform to production regulations and environmental standards to qualify for direct payments, has been a popular instrument in the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) reform. Since 1990, cross-compliance has been the main characteristic of policy design in Sami reindeer husbandry in Finnmark, Norway. All direct transfers to the Sami pastoralists have been connected to harvesting demands to decrease the number of reindeer and to conserve pastures. The content of these incentive-based mechanisms are decided through negotiated agreements with the Sami Reindeer Herders’ Association of Norway (NRL), and the regulation of reindeer numbers and access to pastures are delegated to co-management boards. Despite the participation of the Sami pastoralists in shaping these policies, win–win objectives have not been achieved. Although the cross-compliance program could have been improved by payment for graded results, the lack of regulations by the administration or co-management boards is more likely to be the cause of failure to reach sustainability. Despite the long-term failures of the cross-compliance program, policies have been slow to change. We might attribute this delay to the NRL’s strong position in the negotiated agreements. In general, we argue that the success of the cross-compliance program depends on a well-functioning governance system that can implement regulations and sanctions if incentives do not work as intended.