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Planned Railway to Complete the Bisection of Yamal Peninsula

December 2, 2015 • Philip BurgessBlog, Challenges, Reindeer, Reindeer HerdersLeave a comment

Bovanenkovo-Sabetta railwaysNews from Yamal – according to a news report, the extension of the Bovanenkovo railway to the newly constructed seaport at Sabetta has been given official approval. The railway is already the most northerly railway in the world and this will extend it further northwards be several hundred kilometres, bringing the railway to the east coast of the Yamal Peninsula for the first time. The peninsula is the largest single area of reindeer husbandry in the world where primarily Nenets herders undertake long seasonal migrations with their reindeer. This railway will bisect migration routes and result in a sizeable footprint in the construction and operation zone.

On November 25, 2015, Legislative Assembly of the Yamal-Nenets Autonomous District approved the Law on participation in the strategic project “Construction and Operation of the New Non-Common Use Railway Line Bovanenkovo-Sabetta”. The railway is to be built and operated under the principles of private-public partnership with the conclusion of an agreement with the District’s Government.

Bovanenkovo-Sabetta railways

The new line will be a continuation of the Obskaya-Bovanenkovo line in compliance with the strategy for social and economic development of Yamal-Nenets Autonomous District through 2020. It is particularly focused on ensuring the construction of railway infrastructure at Sabetta seaport and transportation of cargoes by the Northern Sea Route. Source.

You can see imagery of the railway on the Gazprom website.

 

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New Information Source for Nenets Autonomous Okrug Reindeer Herding

November 24, 2015 • Philip BurgessBlog, Reindeer, Reindeer HerdersLeave a comment

NAO Reindeer Husbandry website

The Union of Reindeer Herders of the Nenets Autonomous Okrug has launched an impressive website that is part of a larger strategy to develop, document and improve the lives of reindeer herders in the region.

Currently the Union, based in the regional capital Naryan-Mar (and is a member of the Association of World Reindeer Herders) comprises of 6 family, indigenous communities and 8 agricultural production cooperatives. The website is in Russian, and features news, video, photography. There are plans to expand this information portal into a commercial venture where herders products can be sold and later, there are plans to develop an archive and library.

You can visit the website here. Below is a very nice short video of reindeer herding in the region made by the Union.

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EALLU Seminar in Cherski Arctic College, Sakha Republic

November 10, 2015 • Philip BurgessBlog, EALLU, ProjectsLeave a comment

Cherski arrivalCherski is a small village of under three thousand people, on the Kolyma river, close to the Arctic Ocean and is the administrative center of the Nizhnekolymsky District in the Sakha Republic, Russia, nearly 2000 kilometers east  of Yakutsk or a four hour flight (like many remote villages in Sakha, it is not connected to the road system).

The EALLU team of ICR and WRH are there this week holding seminars and meetings with the Arctic College in the town, and also with local and regional administrators to talk about the challenges facing reindeer husbandry and the EALLU goal of highlighting the knowledge and value of traditional foods. The team (Inger Anita Smuk, Elna Sara, Mikkel Anders Kemi, Ravna Maret Buljo, Svetlana Avelova, Alena Gerasimova and Svein Mathiesen) will also travel to the tundra to meet with herders. They will need warm clothes! Current temperatures for Cherski are below -20C  and falling. See photos from the early part of the visit and seminar below. See photos by Alexei Kurilov, a local journalist who was following the EALLU team here.

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ICR & WRH Anniversary Seminar Held in Yakutsk

November 9, 2015 • Philip BurgessBlog, EALLU, ICR/WRH, ProjectsLeave a comment

ICR Anniversary 2015 YakutskAt the close of the Northern Forum Assembly, the staff of the International Centre for Reindeer Husbandry (ICR) and the Association of World Reindeer Herders (WRH) held an anniversary celebration – 10 years since the establishment of ICR and 25 years for WRH in Yakutsk. The celebration included a seminar with talks by WRH Chair Mikhail Pogodaev (now officially appointed as Chair of the Northern Forum), Inger Anita Smuk, Anders Oskal, Andrey Krivoshapkin, Elena Golomareva, Konstantin Robbek and Svein Mathiesen. The seminar was well attended with 50-60 local participants (see the programme below). This followed the holding of a board meeting of ICR. Part of the ICR and WRH team have since travelled to the small of Cherskiy, a small village which is the administrative centre of the Nizhnekolymsky District in the Sakha Republic, Russia, located on the Kolyma River 1,920 kilometers (1,190 mi) east of Yakutsk, the capital of the republic. While there, there will be meetings with the Arctic College, a field trip to the tundra to meet with reindeer herders and a week long focus on traditional food in relation to the EALLU project.

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Northern Forum – Snapshots

November 7, 2015 • Philip BurgessBlog, EALLU, ICR/WRH, ProjectsLeave a comment

IMG_1483The Northern Forum Assembly finished today, November 6th. Below are some photos from the gathering featuring WRH and ICR personnel, a meeting with the President of the Republic of Sakha (Yakutia) with ICR, a TV Sakha appearance by ICR and WRH and more.

More news to follow

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Life in the North: It’s About the Food

November 5, 2015 • Philip BurgessBlog, EALLU, ICR/WRH, ProjectsLeave a comment

image_8The Northern Forum Assembly continues and today in Yakutsk, and as an integral part of the Assembly, there was a feast of traditional Arctic food at Muus Khaya restaurant prepared by Sakha, Even, Evenki and Sami – to feed hungry people of course, but importantly to demonstrate the extraordinary knowledge and skill that is embedded in small communities when it comes to the preparation of traditional foods. The Arctic Council SDWG EALLU project has this very goal in mind and was a part of the preparations and execution. The Assembly continues tomorrow and will be followed at the weekend by the board meeting of the International Centre for Reindeer Husbandry. See some photos of the feast below.

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Northern Forum Assembly: Traditional Livelihoods & Food Culture Represented

November 4, 2015 • Philip BurgessBlog, EALLU, Nomadic Herders, ProjectsLeave a comment

The Northern Forum General Assembly started today in the city of Yakutsk. The multi day assembly will culminate on Friday with the election of a new Chair. The current acting Chair is Mikhail Pogodaev, who is the Executive Chair of the Association of World Reindeer Herders. Pogodaev has ensured that traditional livelihoods such as reindeer herding are to the fore in this Assembly. Asked why he thought the Northern Forum was an important and useful agency for northerners in general and herders in particular, Pogodaev said,

The Northern Forum is an organization that works with Governors of the Arctic regions and local authorities. It is important to work with local authorities because it is  they who control reindeer husbandry locally. The Association of World Reindeer Herders is an organization that has very good relations with local authorities and this is important as we address the main issues that impact herding through them.
See some photos below

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Northern Forum Assembly Gets Underway. Focus on Traditional Food Included

November 3, 2015 • Philip BurgessBlog, EALLU, ICR/WRH, Nomadic Herders, ProjectsLeave a comment

Northern_Forum logoTomorrow, the 12th General Assembly of the Northern Forum gets underway in Yakutsk in the Republic of Sakha (Yakutsk). The Northern Forum is a non-profit, international organization composed of sub-national or regional governments from eight northern countries and was established in 1991. The goal of the Northern Forum is to give northern regional leaders a means to       share knowledge and experience in addressing common challenges and to support sustainable development and the implementation of  cooperative socio-economic initiatives among Northern regions and through international fora.

The Assembly will focus on the following broad themes:

1. Role of the Northern Subnationals in the changing World – new opportunities and challenges

2. Positive life strategies for Northern populations

3. Forms and Mechanisms of Business cooperation within the Northern Forum

4. Regional strategies for Climate Change Adaptation

5. Infrastructure in the North

6. Enhancing traditional livelihoods, preservation of indigenous peoples’ traditional knowledge on food culture

The focus on food will see a significant contribution by the International Centre for Reindeer Husbandry (ICR), the Association of World Reindeer Herders (WRH), the Nomadic Herders project and the EALLU project. In addition, there will be a celebration of the 25th anniversary of the establishment of WRH and the 10th anniversary of the establishment of ICR. See the full programme below. 

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Herders in Alaska Turn to Crowdfunding to Build Mobile Slaughter House

October 26, 2015 • Philip BurgessBlog, Reindeer, Reindeer HerdersLeave a comment

Mobile Slaughter UnitThe Midnite Sun Reindeer Ranch in Nome, Alaska has taken the unusual step of turning  to crowdfunding to raise the estimated $200,000 needed to purchase 2 winter insulated mobile slaughtering unit, in order that they could slaughter and process reindeer meat year round and obtain a USDA licence which would give them the possibility to broaden the scope of their sales. Currently they are only permitted to slaughter on frozen ground and sell to other processors and local people.

According to an article on the KNOM Radio Mission (listen / read here on their site), there are no USDA approved reindeer meat processors in the region. The ranch is hopeful that there is a pent up demand for locally available, fresh, quality meat. You can read about the ranch and their crowdfunding campaign ‘Mobile Slaughter Unit & Process Unit’ here on Indiegogo (so far, they have raised $250..there is some way to go..).

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UArctic Scholarships Granted to Dukha Youth, Mongolia

October 20, 2015 • Philip BurgessBlog, Nomadic Herders, Projects, UArctic EALAT InstituteLeave a comment

Ola Elvastuen with Dukha youthLast month, during the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly held in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia, a number of Norwegian parliamentarians met with Dukha / Tsataan youth with whom WRH and ICR partners through the Nomadic Herders project in a session organized by ICR. (see story and photo essay here).

In tandem with this session, 12 reindeer husbandry youth were granted UArctic Scholarships through the UArctic EALAT Institute. The scholarships were granted to work with Traditional Knowledge in their own culture related to protected areas,  reindeer husbandry and conservation of biodiversity in times of climate change. The scholarships were delivered by Ola Elvestuen, a representative of the Venstre party in the Norwegian Storting.

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