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The Voice of Reindeer Herding Youth

The goal of the Arctic Council EALLIN project is to maintain and develop sustainable reindeer husbandry in the Arctic.

The goal of the Arctic Council Sustainable Development Working Group’s project EALLIN – The voice of reindeer herding youth, is to maintain and further develop sustainable reindeer husbandry in the Arctic while also working towards a vision to create a better life for reindeer herders. A report detailing the findings of this project is being delivered to the Arctic Council’s ninth ministerial meeting in Iqaluit on April 24-25, 2015.

From 2012-2015, a series of community workshops were held in Norway, Sweden, Russia, China and Mongolia that focused on bringing together and raising the voices of young reindeer herders. Operated by the Association of World Reindeer Herders – an Arctic Council accredited observer organization – in partnership with several others, the project built on the success and methodologies of the International Polar Year EALÁT project.

The importance of physical and mental wellbeing for reindeer-herding youth and their families was one concern discussed at the workshops and many youth participants pointed out the need for further research, as well as the development of tailored programs to ensure quality medical services to reindeer herding societies. Another concern was the need for access to educational systems that respect nomadic lifestyles and indigenous languages. Distance education was raised as one method to enable young reindeer herders to continue with reindeer herding while obtaining an education, and options to deliver distance education were discussed.

Access to grazing land was deemed crucial for the continued existence of reindeer herding peoples in the face of increased habitat fragmentation and biodiversity loss. Further, the inclusion of, and respect for, indigenous traditional knowledge was also considered extremely important as traditional users of the land have an understanding and expertise which is deeply rooted in the environment on which the herding communities depend. Participants also noted the need for cooperation amongst different sectors to support biodiversity, sustainable development and sustainable land use.

The reindeer-herding youth participants underlined that mechanisms should be developed to encourage reindeer-herding youth to create innovative solutions, new businesses and local leadership on their own terms, based on their own traditional knowledge.

You can read more about the EALLIN project and its results here: