An International Institute for Reindeer Husbandry

This will be a virtual institute that will bring together a unique international network of cooperation among the various institutions of science and education within the University of the Arctic, using the most modern information and communication technologies. The founders of the Institute are the Association of World Reindeer Herders, Sami University College and the International Centre for Reindeer Husbandry.

The signing ceremony took place in a modern building Diehtosiida of the Sami University College, which is unique and the only institution in the North High School for the indigenous Sami people living in Norway, Sweden, Finland and Russia. This building was built by the Norwegian government's budget specifically for the Sami people and staffed by the most modern requirements using the latest materials and technology.

On the herders ' behalf document was signed by Chairman of the Association of World Reindeer Herders' Michael Pogodaev, by the Sami University College – the Rector Steinar Pedersen, and from the International Centre for Reindeer Husbandry – CEO Johan Mathis Turi.

The decision to create the institute was taken during the 4th World Congress of Reindeer Herders, held in April 2009 in Kautokeino.

Full name of the institute is as follows: Arctic EALAT-Institute for Circumpolar Reindeer Husbandry. This is a continuation of the EALÁT project and legacy of the International Polar Year.

The Institute will provide opportunities for young people from families of herders to get an education in an international network of educational institutions at the University of the Arctic. In addition, the Institute will do research in the area of reindeer husbandry, international projects, dissemination of information on reindeer husbandry, development of international ties and contacts between the herders of the World.

Arctic indigenous peoples face significant challenges associated with global climate change and socio-economic life in their communities. More than 20 indigenous peoples are engaged in reindeer herding in nine countries around the world. There is an urgent need to inform the Governments of Arctic countries on the changes that occur in reindeer herding communities and influence the development of these peoples.

It is very important to preserve and document traditional knowledge of reindeer, associated with adaptation to changing conditions, including the traditional use of pastures. The challenge is to ensure equitable participation of indigenous peoples in decision-making and the use of herders' traditional knowledge for sustainable development in the Arctic.

Inauguration of the new institute will be held in March 2011 in Kautokeino and opens the Institute of His Majesty the reigning Prince of Monaco Albert II, who supports the organization of UNESCO and is very interested in exploring and developing the Arctic. At the opening of the institute a seminar on "Ethics and traditional knowledge of indigenous peoples" is planned, which will be performed by well-known scholars and experts, including Douglas Nakashima – Head of UNESCO, which deals with development issues, including indigenous peoples that have nomadic lives.

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