The International Centre for Reindeer Husbandry (ICR) was established by the Norwegian Government in 2005 in Kautokeino, as a contribution to the unique international cooperation of circumpolar reindeer herding peoples. ICR is an independent professional unit, with its own board and budget. Its core funding is provided by the Norwegian Government through annual grants from the budget of the Ministry of Reform and Government Administration.
ICR is to be a knowledge base for providing, exchanging and developing information and knowledge between different reindeer peoples, national authorities and research- and academic communities at the national and international levels. The Centre will thus contribute to adding value, to improving information and to enhancing understanding for world reindeer husbandry and reindeer peoples, their traditional knowledge and their future development.
ICR’s purpose is to:
- contribute in maintaining and developing a sustainable reindeer husbandry in the north
- strengthen the cooperation between the reindeer herding peoples
- document and take care of the traditional knowledge of reindeer herders and contribute to knowledge development
- communicate knowledge about circumpolar reindeer husbandry to our target groups
ICR’s international target groups are reindeer herders, national authorities, research, education and knowledge institutions, organizations and industrial interests. ICR has an international board with members from Russia, Norway, Sweden and Finland. The Centre enjoys wide professional and political support internationally. Its establishment was recommended by, among others, the Arctic Council, the 3rd World Reindeer Herders’ Congress in Yakutsk 2005, and the Norwegian Parliament. The Centre is a member of University of the Arctic. The Centre constitutes the International Secretariat of the UArctic EALÁT Institute – University of the Arctic Institute for Circumpolar Reindeer Husbandry. The Centre is a member of World Indigenous Nations’ Higher Education Consortium (WINHEC).
ICR also hosts the Secretariat of Association of World Reindeer Herders (WRH). This is a circumpolar organization representing over 20 indigenous reindeer peoples and about 100 000 reindeer herders in 9 different national states. WRH promotes professional, commercial, and cultural contact between the different reindeer peoples of the world, and disseminates information about reindeer husbandry. WRH has observer status to the Arctic Council. Through WRH, ICR has first-hand access to a unique international network of reindeer herders, their organisations and institutions.
The establishment of International Centre for Reindeer Husbandry in Kautokeino represents one measure to secure the future of this unique cooperation in the North. The Centre enjoys wide professional and political support, both nationally and internationally, and its establishment was recommended by, among others, the Arctic Council in the report «Sustainable Reindeer Husbandry» (2002), and by the 3rd World Reindeer Herders’ Congress in the «Yakutsk Declaration» of March 2005. It was also recommended by the Norwegian Government appointed committee of experts in the report published as NOU 2003:32 (Norwegian Public Report) entitled «Look North! Challenges and Opportunities in the Northern Areas». The Norwegian Minister of Foreign Affairs announced at the 4th Arctic Council Ministerial meeting in Iceland, November 2004: «..Norway has decided to establish an international centre for reindeer herders in the Arctic, in Kautokeino, in close cooperation with the World Reindeer Herders. This will be a resource centre for exchange of information between herders in different countries and promoting cooperation between them».