The Barents Cooperation.
International Barents Secretariat
The Barents Euro-Arctic Region
"The cooperation in the Barents Euro-Arctic Region (BEAR) was launched in 1993 when Sweden, Finland, Norway, Demark, Iceland, the Russian Federation, and the EU Commission signed the Kirkenes Declaration establishing the Barents Euro-Arctic Council (BEAC) at a Foreign Minister’s Conference in Kirkenes, Norway. At the same time, the Barents regions’ county governors and representatives of indigenous peoples signed a cooperation protocol establishing the Barents Regional Council (BRC). The Barents cooperation was thus launched at two levels: BEAC is a forum for intergovernmental cooperation while the BRC is aimed at cooperation between the 13 regions (map attached) of the Member States. The Indigenous Peoples have an advisory role in relation to the both Councils. The interregional cross-border cooperation and the status of the indigenous peoples are also features making the Barents cooperation unique in a global perspective. The Chair of BEAC rotates every second year between Finland, Norway, the Russian Federation and Sweden. Between the ministerial meetings the Committee of Senior Officials (CSO) convenes at least four times a year. The observer states are Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, NL, Poland, UK and USA. Norway and the Region of Norrbotten held the chairmanships in 2011-2013. In October 2013 the chairmanships were taken over by Finland and the Russian region of Arkhangelsk at the XIV BEAC Session of the Ministers of Foreign Affairs (and Governors) in Tromsø, Norway." /.../