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International reindeer husbandry cooperation continues under new conditions as a result of international developments. On 4-7 of March, 2022, reindeer herding delegates from Norway, Sweden, Finland, Scotland, Greenland gathered in Guovdageaidnu, with the reindeer herders in China and Mongolia participating online. Here they came together to found a new temporary organization for all the reindeer herders outside Russia - World Reindeer Herders (WRH) - which will try to continue the international reindeer herding cooperation under new conditions.

"The reindeer herders are of course not to blame for the serious international situation we are now in, at the same time that the reindeer herders are also dependent on international cooperation," says newly elected Chair of the Board Inger Anita Smuk. "What is completely clear is that all - absolutely all - reindeer herders in the world have a strong desire to continue our cooperation, which has been going on since 1990," she says.

The need for the new organization is clear: "It is now very important to continue the international reindeer husbandry cooperation as best as possible, at a time when important international cooperation platforms such as the Arctic Council have been put on hold for the time being," says Secretary General Anders Oskal. "A new organization is the best solution we have been able to achieve in the short term, in a situation that has changed almost hour by hour", continues Oskal, who concludes that the point now is to try to continue what we have: " A new organization is not an end in itself, but rather a means to preserve international reindeer husbandry cooperation under prevailing conditions.'

With the establishment of the new temporary organisation, we will try to work towards a continuation, until we can get started again with more regular cooperation with reindeer husbandry in Russia. Oskal concludes: "We are following the development, and will try every opportunity to restore the broad cooperation if the situation allows it. Internationally, it has, among other things, there was talk of shielding indigenous cooperation. We don't know if this is realistic now, but of course we hope that this can also be a solution for the reindeer herders."

The new organization is led by Inger Anita Smuk and a board of 4 board members from Norway, Sweden, Finland and Mongolia. Going forward, the organization will, among other things, focus on the situation with the loss of grazing land to so-called green energy in Scandinavia.


Anders Oskal

Secretary General, World Reindeer Herders +47 99450010 oskal[at]

Inger Anita Smuk

Chairman, World Reindeer Herders +47 91543934 ias[at]


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Brief background

The Association of World Reindeer Herders is a voluntary civil society organization for all the 24 different nomadic indigenous peoples who make a living from reindeer herding across 10 nation-states in the circumpolar north, formally founded during the 1st World Congress of Reindeer Herders in 1997.

The 7th World Congress of Reindeer Herders was scheduled for 4-8. March in Khanty-Mansiysk in Western Siberia in Russia. Due to developments in Ukraine, it became clear during February that the delegates from non-Russian countries could not travel to Russia. It was then planned to gather all the non-Russian delegates in Guovdageaidnu, and participate collectively via the web. On 3 March, however, it was clarified that one could not attend the congress at all due to the sanctions.

World Reindeer Herders is a new organization that was founded to ensure the temporary continuation of the international reindeer husbandry cooperation under new conditions. The organization is a voluntary civil society organization for reindeer husbandry in 9 national states, i.e. Norway, Sweden, Finland, Mongolia, China, Alaska/USA, Canada, Scotland/UK and Greenland. The organization was founded in Guovdageaidnu on 4-7. March 2022.


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