Tuesday, 15 May 2012

The Plight of Indigenous Pastoralists: Indigenous Peoples in the Far East, Europe and Russia Discussed at the United Nation Permanent Forum for Indigenous Issues

The challenges that are presented to indigenous pastoralists have been highlighted in presentations made in the on-going Eleventh Session of the Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues. These were detailed in discussions during the morning of May 11, 2012, according to a Press Release from the United Nations. The situation of indigenous groups in Central and Eastern Europe, the Russian Federation, Central Asia and Transcaucasia highlights the diversity of indigenous peoples across the globe, as well as the common issues that they face in continued access to traditional lands and pressures faced from development. Over and over comments were addressed to the circumstances of indigenous pastoralists and the challenges that they face in continued access to traditional routes and lands.

The UN Special Rapporteur had made a visit to Nordic countries and a blog post about his visit and report can be found at this link.

The Press Release comments on on-going projects addressing the concerns faced by reindeer herders :
“...a representative of the World Reindeer Herders said that reindeer herding communities continued to struggle in the face of land use change, climate change and development. For example, intensive industrial development and expansion in Scandinavia had seriously reduced the land area of reindeer pastures there.”
Another speaker provided information on a project called “Nomadic Herders”:
“...the project kicked off in Mongolia in late 2010 with a request from that country’s Ministry of Nature, Environment and Tourism to engage further with local reindeer herders...Subsequently, in June 2011, UNEP and the Reindeer Herders Association had facilitated a community based workshop and field visits...to meet Dukha herders and to discuss with them ways to jointly address their concerns”

A previous blog post written by Fiona Batt discusses reindeer herders in Mongolia and more of the reindeer herder’s initiative.

The on-going project about reindeer herding and the efforts of the reindeer herders speak to the importance of recognising the challenges faced by those still trying to pursue pastoralist lifestyles and livelihoods. Such a way of living might seem very alien to much of the twenty-first century world, but that in no way should diminish the rights of those people engaged in pastoralist activities nor the importance of understanding the obstacles they confront and the need to find a satisfactory solution.

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