Reindeer herders are facing lost pastures and land fragmentation caused by industrial development and other land-use changes.
Reindeer husbandry – like many other pastoral livelihoods – is affected by climate change, land degradation and changes in biodiversity. The pastoral economies and cultures, and the ecosystems on which they depend, are stressed by land degradation and loss of biodiversity due to increased infrastructure development, resource exploitation and other forms of human activities that create barriers to livestock mobility and pasture use.
Focusing on taiga reindeer herdingcommunities in sub-Arctic Asia, the Nomadic Herders initiative addresses traditional knowledge, adaptation to climate change and protection of the environment. The initiative came from world reindeer herders themselves, following up the 4th World Reindeer Herders´ Congress in 2009. It started in 2010 with funding from Norway and has now become a UNEP/Arctic Council internationally coordinated indigenous peoples’ project in Sakha-Yakutia, Eastern Siberia, and northern Mongolia.
The project provides a unique example of how UNEP and the Arctic Council engages to support both environmental issues and indigenous peoples at the community level. The initiative has linkages to Sámi reindeer herding and institutions in Fennoscandia, and one aim is to replicate the project in other reindeer herding communities in the North.