History of the Pasvik Inari trilateral cooperation in brief

The Norwegian part of Lake Höyhenjärvi (Fjærvann) in Pasvik River was proposed as a nature reserve for the first time in 1978 due to its great nature value. In 1989, when Russia and Norway signed their first bilateral agreement on environmental issues, the idea of a common Russian-Norwegian nature reserve was born. This idea was discussed in a meeting between the the Office of the Finnmark County Governor and the environmental committee in Murmansk. Later superior authorities on both sides gave their approval for further work towards a concrete proposition. After the first joint Norwegian-Russian inspection of the area in the summer of 1990, the Russian experts proposed that large tracts of pine forest on the eastern bank of Pasvik River should be included in the reserve. Therefore, on the Russian side, the reserve covers much more than just Lake Höyhenjärvi (Fjærvann). The first joint inspection was followed up by a number of Norwegian-Russian registrations and meetings.


In an intentional agreement between Norway and Russia in 1990 nature protection in the border areas was considered in a greater perspective where also Finland was seen as a natural partner.


In 1991, environmental authorities from Russia, Norway and Finland met in Kirkenes and again in Nikel. The conclusion was that the three countries at a local level should cooperate on nature protection and nature management in the Pasvik-Inari region. Furthermore, the parties aimed at protection of a large intact nature area as a common entity. Vätsäri Wilderness Area was established in Finland through the national Wilderness Act the same year. Since 1991, annual trilateral meetings have been held about nature management and protection in the Pasvik-Inari region, between the Office of the Finnmark County Governor from Norway, Metsähallitus and the Ministry of Environment and later also Lapland Regional Environment Centre from Finland and the administration of Pasvik Zapovednik.


Pasvik Nature Reserve/Pasvik Zapovednik was formally founded through a resolution in the Russian government July 16 1992, whereas the Norwegian part of Pasvik Nature Reserve was formally founded through regal resolution in October 1993. To discern between the two parts, it is common to identify the Russian part as Pasvik Zapovednik and the Norwegian part as Pasvik Nature Reserve. In 1996, the Norwegian part received international protection status as a RAMSAR area due to its rich and characteristic water bird fauna. Also the Russian part of the area is proposed as a RAMSAR area.


In 1999, the municipalities of Pechenga, Inari and Sør-Varanger were included in the trilateral cooperation on a permanent basis. The area of these municipalities delimits the actual area of the trilateral cooperation. At the 2002 trilateral meeting, it was decided to promote a common trilateral nature protection area in Pasvik-Inari. Such a protection area could be established by connecting adjacent nature protection areas in Pasvik-Inari which are already founded. A working group was appointed to develop this idea. In 2003, Øvre Pasvik National Park was extended. At the same time, Øvre Pasvik Landscape Protection Area was established. Finally a continuous nature area from Finland via Norway to Russia was protected.


In March 2006, a jointly planned EU financed project (Interreg IIIA North Kolarctic Neighbourhood Programme/Tacis programme) started in the Pasvik-Inari area. The project called Promotion of nature protection and sustainable nature tourism in the Inari-Pasvik area aimed at creating a more stable basis for the trilateral cooperation. During the project the nature tourism facilities and networks between the authorities and various interest groups were developed. In nature monitoring, the intensified cooperation led to testing harmonised monitoring methods. In addition, information material about the area was developed. More stable basis was established for achieving the status as a Europarc Transboundary Protection Area to ensure long term high quality cooperation on nature protection and management in Pasvik-Inari. The project period ended in January 2008.