The Congress brings together about 300 members from the circumpolar reindeer herding community as well as 200 from administration and professional communities from across the circumpolar north.

Around the circumpolar arctic there are 28 registered reindeer herding regions, located in the northern regions of Scandinavia as well as in Russia, China and Mongolia. From across the whole area the 500 members of the Congress gather in order to discuss and assess the challenges of contemporary reindeer husbandry which according to the Norwegian President of the Saami Parliament Egil Olli faces the same challenges across the world. “One of the greatest challenges in Sápmi and the rest of the world is how to use the areas in the best way possible. Additionally, reindeer husbandry has to look out for not losing more pasture areas”, says Olli.

Norwegian Vice-Minister of Foreign Affairs Elisabeth Walaas says that the Congress is a great event and that it is impressive that so many people from the whole reindeer herding community have come to Kautokeino. Also a delegation of the Tehran-based World Alliance of Mobile Indigenous Peoples participates in the Congress.

The World Reindeer Herders Congress is the executive body of the international cooperation of reindeer herding, which involves 24 reindeer herding peoples from 9 nation states. It is held every fourth year to develop, coordinate and formulate guidelines and strategies for issues affecting the reindeer herding communities. The findings are summarized in a declaration following each congress. The World Reindeer Herders Congress is an important link between reindeer herding, management authorities and professional communities. It is an arena where reindeer herding peoples, international professional communities and actors working on reindeer husbandry and indigenous peoples’ issues meet.  

More information on the Congress can be found here.