The Barents Regional Committee is a forum for civil servants from the member counties and a representative of the indigenous peoples. The Committee is responsible for preparing the meetings of the Regional Council.
The Committee prepares the meetings of the Regional Council and implements the decisions taken by the Regional Council. The Chairmanship of the Regional Committee is held by the same county as that of the Regional Council, and consequently alternates every second year. Each Chairman is responsible for setting up a secretariat to assist the work of the Committee.
Kainuu, Finland, holds the chairmanship 2015-2017.
The Regional Committee meets regularly to discuss multilateral matters. The issues, such as co-operation projects, applications and initiatives are prepared in advance in each county: within the international department of the county administration of Russia, Sweden, Norway and Finland. The Norwegian counties have also established a Norwegian Barents Secretariat in Kirkenes to organise their joint Barents-related work.
The Regional Committee in Kirkenes, June 2013
The Regional Working Groups report on a regular basis to the Regional Committee. The Regional Committee has also the possibility to establish short-term ad-hoc working groups. In order to deepen the co-operation within certain areas the Regional Council has established working groups, consisting of appointed experts from the member counties.
At the moment there exist three regional working groups: for the environment, for investment and economic cooperation and for transport and logistics. They report their activities to the Regional Council. There also exist six joint working groups with the Barents Euro-Arctic Council: health and related social issues, education and research, energy, culture, tourism and youth. The joint working groups have a shared chairmanship on national and regional levels. They report both to the Regional Council and the BEAC. Working group of indigenous peoples is the only working group established on a permanent basis and given an advisory role to the Barents Euro-Arctic Council and the Regional Council.
Each county has the responsibility to cover the expenses for their participation in the regional working groups. The Chair county of each working group has the general financial responsibility for the activities, for example for applying for funding from relevant financial institutions i.a. EU programmes.
Barents Programme 2014-2018 as a printable version in English and as a brochure in English and Russian.
For the agendas and protocols of the Regional Committee please contact IBS.
Members of the Regional Committee