IMG 20160520 WA0003On May 16th and 17th, a joint Norwegian-Russian international seminar focusing on the reindeer meat industry took place in Moscow as part of a series of events within the Arctic Council Sustainable Development Working Group’s EALLU (Reindeer Youth and Food culture) project.

The event brought together a wide range of representatives from international reindeer herding organisations, indigenous groups, federal and regional authorities in reindeer herding regions in Scandinavia and the Russian Federation, and the Northern Forum. The Norwegian Ambassador to Russia Leidulv Namtvedt was a featured speaker at the event, along with the President of the Union of Reindeer Herders of Russia, the Deputy of the State Duma of the Federal Assembly of the Russian Federation, and many others.

The main objective of the seminar was to establish a platform for developing and implementing new strategies in the reindeer herding industry, placing a focus on reindeer herding youth and herders' traditional knowledge, as well as to better inform the public about reindeer herding as a traditional way of life of indigenous peoples, which produces unique and useful products and fosters economic development at local and regional levels. The seminar also looked at technical innovations that can be implemented in the industry, how regulatory regimes in the industry could be improved, and how to better market reindeer products.

The seminar also celebrated a few key milestones: the 20th anniversary of the Arctic Council (and under its auspices, the international cooperation of the Arctic states and indigenous peoples), the 25th anniversary of cooperation between reindeer herders in Scandinavia and Russia, the 10th anniversary of the International Centre for Reindeer Husbandry, and the 25th anniversary of the establishment of the Northern Forum.

On the second day of the conference - in celebration of Norwegian Constitution Day (May 17th) - participants in the seminar were invited to take part in a copious banquet of reindeer delicacies at the Norwegian Embassy in Moscow, which was prepared by young members of the Nenets, Evens, Evenki, and Sami communities along with the help of renowned chefs.

The results of the seminar will be presented at the next Arctic Council Sustainable Development Working Group (SDWG) meeting. One of the outcomes of the EALLU project will be the creation of the Culinary Institute of Arctic Indigenous Peoples.