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WRH/ICR at the Days of Sakha Republic (Yakutia) in Saint-Petersburg
Written by Mikhail Pogodaev   
Tuesday, 18 December 2012 17:29
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A.Oskal_-_SPb_2012_thumbIn St Petersburg in late November there was a major celebration related to the Days of Sakha Republic (Yakutia), devoted to the 380th anniversary of the commonwealth between Russia and Yakutia. The Association of World Reindeer Herders and the International Centre for Reindeer Husbandry were official partners of these days and organized several workshops and roundtable discussions.
After the opening of the Days of Sakha Republic (Yakutia) in Saint-Petersburg at the dinner hosted by the President of Sakha Republic Egor Borisov, the Secretary General of WRH, Johan Mathis Turi, gave a speech about the fruitful cooperation between the Republic and reindeer herders of the world.

He noted that the history of international cooperation between reindeer herders is very closely linked to the Sakha Republic, and goes back to 1990, when for the first time Sami reindeer herders visited Even reindeer herders in the region. This was a beginning of the establishment of the Association of World Reindeer Herders, and a unique people-to-people cooperation across the borders of the entire Arctic region was born.

The Republic of Sakha indeed is also a model for other reindeer herding regions, nationally and internationally. Especially impressive is the work on nomadic schools, the program to develop and build up reindeer herding as a traditional, family-based nomadic livelihood, its support for the Arctic Council EALAT project and its support for the establishment of three information centers for reindeer husbandry in the regions of Yakutia”

Also Turi noted with interest in the new concept of UN Arctic School in Yakutsk which is being developed by the government of the Sakha Republic.

Finally Johan Mathis Turi and the Director of the International Centre for Reindeer Husbandry Anders Oskal congratulated President Borisov and presented guksi   (traditional Sami cups) to both the President and the Governor of Saint Petersburg Georgy Poltavchenko.


Johan Mathis Turi  presents a Guksi to the President of Sakha and the Governor of

St Petersburg, with Anders Oskal on the right. Pic: L. Hislop

During the week long event, WRH and ICR took the opportunity to hold an international meeting on the new GEF/UNEP project “Nomadic Herders” which is a project of the governments of Mongolia and the Russian Federation along with other donors and partners, supported by the Global Environment Facility through the United Nations Environment Programme. It will contribute significantly to biodiversity conservation and to the mitigation of land degradation in reindeer herding areas of the Russian Far East and northern Mongolia. Initiated by the Association of World Reindeer Herders, the project is a partnership between the Indigenous Peoples, Ministries of Environment and local administrations and communities in the two countries, and is aimed at enhancing the resilience of reindeer herding societies and environments by conserving biological diversity and reducing pasture degradation through the coproduction and application of traditional and scientific knowledge.

Additionally, during the celebrations, an international conference entitled “Arctic Zone of the Russian Federation: North-Eastern vector of Development” held in the Russian Geographical Society was held, with an international team with experts and leaders of involved organizations and there was a meeting with the Vice-President Dmitry Glushko about possible participation of Sakha Republic in the implementation of this project on its territory.


Mikhail Pogodaev, Anders Oskal, Lars Kullerud, Vice President Dmitry Evgenevich Glushko of the Sakha Republic,

Svein Mathiesen, Johan Mathis Turi and Edoardo Zandri from UNEP, Nairobi. Pic: ICR

The Association of World Reindeer Herders and International Centre for Reindeer Husbandry expressed the hope to develop a fruitful cooperation on the implementation of the Nomadic Herders initiative as well as on other projects like SDWG EALLIN (which is focused on reindeer herding youth), the UN Arctic School and the recognition of reindeer husbandry as a world heritage by UNESCO.
Anders Oskal, EALLIN, ICR Activities, Johan Mathis Turi, Nomadic Herders, Sakha, WRH Activities
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