The contemporary governing issues surrounding reindeer husbandry are thus nested across ecological and socio-political scales and are characterized by high complexity and the involvement of a wide range of actors, stakeholders and legislative frameworks. This places specific demands on state-Sámi relations and institutional analysis requires contextualization against recognized Indigenous rights according to international and national law, specifically participatory rights in decision-making about natural resources.
Identified governing deficits extend beyond the immediate policy area itself, to include the interactions with other industries and land uses such as renewable energy, forestry, mining and carnivore conservation. It is well established that fragmentation of institutional landscapes and misfits between biophysical, social-ecological and institutional systems hamper the ability to deal with cross-scale and multilevel interactions, and may trap social-ecological systems in unsustainable and undesirable trajectories. The institutional and governing landscape has thus direct influence on the governability of a system, or its socio-political problem-solving capacity. It is therefore crucial to increase our understanding of the role governing systems currently play, could and need play, in navigating the policy area towards more sustainable trajectories.
Objectives - To compare, contrast, assess and evaluate the governing systems of reindeer husbandry in the Nordic countries in order to promote governance structures and practices. More specifically, we propose a governing system analysis based on three broad components:
- institutional fit, opportunities and constraints: focusing on formal governing structures and institutions and with emphasis given Indigenous land and tenure rights
- responsiveness and system interactions: focusing on how interactions between herders and other land users and governing systems are enabled and structured
- herders’ agency and strategies: focusing on strategies and activities undertaken among herders in response to ongoing and anticipated change