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Environmental Treaties and Resource Indicators (ENTRI) -- Full Text

Summary of the "Agreement on Conservation of Polar Bears" is available from the UNEP Register of International Treaties and Other Agreements in the Field of the Environment.

See the ENTRI query system for information about the status of this treaty.

See the ENTRI thematic guide for more information about the relationships between environmental treaties, national resource indicators, and remotely sensed data.
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Oslo, 15 November 1973

    The Governments of Canada, Denmark Norway, the Union 
of Soviet Socialist Republics and the United States of 

    Recognizing the special responsibilities and special 
interests of the States of the Arctic Region in relation 
to the protection of the fauna and flora of the Arctic 

    Recognizing that the polar bear is a significant 
resource of the Arctic Region which requires additional 

    Having decided that such protection should be 
achieved through co-ordinated national measures taken by 
the States of the Arctic Region;

    Desiring to take immediate action to bring further 
conservation and management measures into effect;

    Having agreed as follows:

Article I

1. The taking of polar bears shall be prohibited except 
as provided in Article III.

2. For the purposes of this Agreement, the term "taking" 
includes hunting, killing and capturing.

Article II

    Each Contracting Party shall take appropriate action 
to protect the ecosystems of which polar bears are a 
part, with special attention to habitat components such 
as denning and feeding sites and migration patterns, and 
shall manage polar bear populations in accordance with 
sound conservation practices based on the best available 
scientific data.

Article III

I . Subject to the provisions of Articles II and IV any 
Contracting Party may allow the taking of polar bears 
when such taking is carried out:

a) for bona fide scientific purposes; or
b) by that Party for conservation purposes; or

c) to prevent serious disturbance of the management of 
other living resources, subject to forfeiture to that 
Party of the skins and other items of value resulting 
from such taking; or

a) by local people using traditional methods in the 
exercise of their traditional rights and in accordance 
with the laws of that Party; or

e) wherever polar bears have or might have been subject 
to taking by traditional means by its nationals.

2. The skins and other items of value resulting from 
taking under sub-paragraph (b) and (c) of paragraph 1 of 
this Article shall not be available for commercial 

Article IV

    The use of aircraft and large motorized vessels for 
the purpose of taking polar bears shall be prohibited, 
except where the application of such prohibition would 
be inconsistent with domestic laws.

Article V

    A Contracting Party shall prohibit the exportation 
from, the importation and delivery into, and traffic 
within, its territory of polar bears or any part or 
product thereof taken in violation of this Agreement.

Article VI

1. Each Contracting Party shall enact and enforce such 
legislation and other measures as may be necessary for 
the purpose of giving effect to this Agreement.

2. Nothing in this Agreement shall prevent a Contracting 
Party from maintaining or amending existing legislation 
or other measures or establishing new measures on the 
taking of polar bears so as to provide more stringent 
controls than those required under the provisions of 
this Agreement.

Article VII

    The Contracting Parties shall conduct national 
research programmes on polar bears, particularly 
research relating to the conservation and management of 
the species. They shall as appropriate co-ordinate such 
research with research carried out by other Parties, 
consult with with other Parties on the management of 
migrating polar bear populations, and exchange 
information on research and management programmes, 
research results and data on bears taken.

Article VIII

    Each Contracting Party shall take action as 
appropriate to promote compliance with the provisions of 
this Agreement by nationals of States not party to this 

Article IX

    The Contracting Parties shall continue to consult 
with one another with the object of giving further 
protection to polar bears.

Article X

1. This Agreement shall be open for signature at Oslo by 
the Governments of Canada, Denmark, Norway, the Union of 
Soviet Socialist Republics and the United States of 
America until 31st March 1974.

2. This Agreement shall be subject to ratification or 
approval by the signatory Governments. Instruments of 
ratification or approval shall be deposited with the 
Government of Norway as soon as possible.

3. This Agreement shall be open for accession by the 
Governments referred to in paragraph I of this Article. 
Instruments of accession shall be deposited with the 
Depositary Government.

4. This Agreement shall enter into force ninety days 
after the deposit of the third instrument of 
ratification, approval or accession. Thereafter, it 
shall enter into force for a signatory or acceding 
Government on the date of deposit of its instrument of 
ratification. approval or accession.

5. This Agreement shall remain in force initially for a 
period of five years from its date of entry into force, 
and unless any Contracting Party during that period 
requests the termination of the Agreement at the end of 
that period. it shall continue in force thereafter.

6. On the request addressed to the Depositary Government 
by any of the Governments referred to in paragraph I of 
this Article. consultations shall be conducted with a 
view to convening a meeting of representatives of the 
five Governments to consider the revision or amendment 
of this Agreement.

7. Any Party may denounce this Agreement by written 
notification to the Depositary Government at any time 
after five years from the date of entry into force of 
this Agreement. The denunciation shall take effect 
twelve months after the Depositary Government has 
received the notification.

8. The Depositary Government shall notify the 
Governments referred to in paragraph 1 of this Article 
of the deposit of instruments of ratification, approval 
or accession, of the entry into force of this Agreement 
and of the receipt of notifications of denunciation and 
any other communications from a Contracting Part 
specifically provided for in this Agreement.

9. The original of this Agreement shall be deposited 
with the Government of Norway which shall deliver 
certified copies thereof to each of the Governments 
referred to in paragraph I of this Article. The 
Depositary Government shall transmit certified copies of 
this Agreement to the Secretary-General of the United 
Nations for registration and publication in accordance 
with Article 102 of the Charter of the United Nations.

    In Witness Whereof the undersigned, being duly 
authorized by their Governments, have signed this 

    Done at Oslo, in the English and Russian languages, 
each text being equally authentic, this fifteenth day of 
November, 1973.