Urgent Action Needed to Support Mongolia’s Reindeer Herders
UNEP press release, 26 March 2012

NAIROBI, KENYA: Based on field investigations and numerous interviews with members of Mongolia’s rural Dukha community, the UNEP report “Changing Taiga: Challenges for Mongolia’s Reindeer Herders” outlines a number of strategies, including increasing reindeer herd sizes and closer monitoring of land use change, that can support both the herders’ ancient culture and the sustainable development of their homeland, the taiga.

The report’s main recommendations include:

  • Recording reindeer herders’ traditional knowledge of land use and natural resources, as well as traditional food culture, to promote the  conservation of biodiversity in the region
  • Closer monitoring of variations in reindeer numbers, changes in migration routes, land use changes, industrial development, local climate variability and variables affecting the reindeer herding community and taiga ecosystem
  • Formation of community partnerships to support biodiversity and traditional livelihoods of the Dukha reindeer herders
  • Evaluation of current hunting regulations to identify how the laws affect reindeer herders’ access to food and income
  • Establishment of a programme to increase herd size and prevent and treat reindeer diseases, using both Western science and traditional knowledge
  • Conduct of an impact assessment of climate, environmental, social and economic changes in the region, including tourism. Scenarios for future land use change and developing local adaptation strategies should be included
  • Organization of community round-table discussions and field visits to promote mutual understanding and dialogue between herders, tourism operators, local government, and other stakeholders on land use and resources in reindeer herding areas, and
  • Provision of assistance to develop local herders’ institutions, such as the reindeer herders’ information and knowledge centre in Tsagaannuur.

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