April 27, 2015 • Philip Burgess
Last week the 9th Arctic Council Ministerial Meeeting wrapped up in the city of Iqaluit, the territorial capital of Nunavut, Canada. This meeting marked the conclusion of Canadian Chairmanship and set the main objectives for the next two years of the USA Chairmanship. This meeting will bring together ministers of the Arctic States and high-level representatives of the indigenous Permanent Participant organizations.
The Association of World Reindeer Herders delegation (which included ICR Director Anders Oskal, WRH Chair Mikhail Pogodaev and ICR project coordinator Alena Gerasimova, WRH is an accredited Observer to the Arctic Council) was present for the meeting to deliver the final report and executive summary of the EALLIN project on reindeer herding youth.
At the meeting the ministers signed the Iqaluit declaration, which highlights the achievements of the Arctic Council during Canadian chairmanship (2013-2015) and defines the main directions of the Council for the US Chairmanship (2015-2017).
“It is with great pride that we signed the Iqaluit Declaration here in Canada’s North,” said the Honourable Leona Aglukkaq, Canada’s Minister and Chair for the Arctic Council. “Canada has put Northerners at the forefront of the Arctic Council’s agenda, and we will continue working to ensure that the Council’s work benefits the people who live there.”
Once again, as in Kiruna in 2013, Secretary John Kerry underlined the importance of indigenous peoples’ role of shaping decisions in the Arctic Council:
“…This underlines the US commitment to collaborate closely with Arctic indigenous peoples in their Chairmanship, as they indeed do with their co-leadership of our new Arctic Council project on food”, says Anders Oskal, Executive Director of ICR and project lead of the new Arctic Council EALLU Project. “This is key as Arctic change and globalization are now taking an ever stronger hold of the circumpolar reindeer herding areas”, he concludes.
April 24, 2015 • Philip Burgess
PRESS RELEASE ON THE OCCASION OF THE ARCTIC COUNCIL MINISTERIAL (Download as a PDF)
April 24, 2015: Iqaluit, Canada
Reindeer Herding Youth Take Action on Arctic Change
Young Reindeer Herders Deliver Strong Message to Arctic Foreign Ministers at the 9th Arctic Council Ministerial in Canada
“For us, the reindeer is everything. If we lose the reindeer we lose our language, our culture, our traditions and the knowledge to move in the nature.”
[Participant at the EALLIN workshop in Jokkmokk, 2013]
A unique project called EALLIN involving reindeer herding youth from Russia, Finland, Sweden and Norway has delivered a 120-page report, executive summary and recommendations to the Artic Council Ministerial meeting in Canada today. More than 160 indigenous youth from multiple regions in Russia, Mongolia, Finland, Sweden and Norway participated in 12 community based workskops over four years. “EALLIN” means ‘life’ in the Sami language and the project was backed by Norway, the Russian Federation and the Saami Council. EALLIN calls attention to the serious challenges faced by young reindeer herders, such as mental health, a lack of appropriate education and a lack of participation in local community development.
Reindeer herding youth are the future of reindeer herding, and the strong message from engaged youth was that they wanted to continue herding reindeer, as it ‘a good life’. However, there are many issues and challenges that are making life ‘not so good’ everywhere where reindeer are herded. EALLIN brought young reindeer herders of the taiga and tundra together to bring their voices to the Arctic Council. Reindeer herdings youth in the Circumpolar North are on the frontlines of monitoring the rapid ongoing changes in the Arctic, therefore, their knowledge and skills are key for their future existence in their home pastures and territories.
“Our peoples are undergoing dramatic and historical changes in our homelands, changes that we have never seen in the millenia-old histories of the reindeer herding peoples of the north” states Arctic Council EALLIN Project Lead Dr Mikhail Pogodaev, the Executive Chair of Association of World Reindeer Herders (WRH).
“We know enough about the changes to act”, concludes Anders Oskal, Project Co-Lead and Co-Author of the IPCC 5th Report. “We don’t need more assessments to understand, basically, we have to do things differently now if these societies and cultures are to survive and thrive under the Arctic boom – and bust”. And doing things differently is exactly what the EALLIN report calls for.
Delivered to Arctic Council: “Youth – The Future of Reindeer Herding Peoples – Executive Summary” and “Youth – The Future of Reindeer Herding Peoples”, Full Project Report 120 pages,
Downloads available at eallin.org