Business forum “Southern Yakutia. Strategy in Advance. Investing in the Future” in Neryungri, Russia

April 18, 2014 • Alena GerasimovaNomadic Herders, Projects

April, 17-18. Business forum was held in Neryungri, south of the Republic of Sakha (Yakutia). The main purpose of the event was to create a unique platform for attracting investments into economy of Southern Yakutia. The business forum was organized by the local administration and the government of the Sakha Republic, supported by the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of the Sakha Republic.

This forum brought together businessmen, representatives of key federal ministries, regional and municipal authorities, as well as leading Russian experts in the sphere of small and medium-sized businesses. The president of the Sakha Republic, Egor Borisov, also participated in the business-forum, he noted that the result of investment activity in the republic is very high. According to Borisov, Southern Yakutia rightfully deserved to be the first territory of advanced development (TAD) in the country, “Southern Yakutia the most convenient place for TAD in the republic.”

The Republic of Sakha (Yakutia) has a rich natural resource potential and today it is one of the most investment-attractive Russian regions. Especially significant potential in this regard has Southern Yakutia – in this region therefore was initiated investment project ” Integrated Development of Southern Yakutia .” Under this project, within the region planned to build and develop objects for mining, hydropower and other activity. Implementation of the “Integrated Development of the Southern Yakutia” will create more than 30,000 new jobs in the region, and increase the level of comfort living, and will significantly strengthen Russia’s position in Southeast Asia .

But what needs to be noted is that the territory of Southern Yakutia is also a home for indigenous peoples who inhabited this territory since ancient times. The main economic activity of these peoples is the reindeer herding, and it is still represented in the region. Because of the planned investment projects the future of reindeer herding in the region is under threat. Reindeer herding requires grazing areas, which, unfortunately , are often attracted to the interests of industrial companies. According to Vyacheslav Shadrin, the first vice-president of the Association of Indigenous Peoples of the Sakha Republic (Yakutia), “indigenous peoples are not against industrial development, local indigenous communities talking about the most gentle and environmentally safe industrial development.” In addition, the region is also a home for rare plant and animal species that are listed as endangered . Association of World Reindeer Herders and International Centre for Reindeer Husbandry initiated the “Nomadic herders” project, the which is studying the impacts of land-use change and climate change on nomadic pastoralists, and further assessing the herders’ adaptation options and opportunities. It is facilitating dialogue between various stakeholders, helping to build partnerships between reindeer herding communities, and supporting and strengthening local institutions. It is are also increasing the capacity of nomadic herders to engage in the decision-making processes concerning land use and natural resource management.

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