International Arctic, Barents and Northern Cooperation

International cooperation in the Arctic and Barents region is active in many levels and it covers several themes such as economy, culture, environmental protection and social welfare.  Below are listed the organisations which are the most relevant in the official inter-governmental cooperation in the Barents region. Besides these there are other partners and organizations which are related to the work of the Barents Euro-Arctic and Regional Council. 

Regional Councils


The Barents Euro-Arctic Council and Barents Regional Council

Barents Euro-Arctic Council (BEAC) is the forum for intergovernmental cooperation in the Barents Region. Cooperation in the Barents Euro-Arctic Region was launched in 1993 on two levels: intergovernmental (Barents Euro-Arctic Council), and interregional (Barents Regional Council), with sustainable development as the overall objective.

The members of the Barents Euro-Arctic Council are Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, Russia, Sweden and the European Commission. The chair of the Barents Euro-Arctic Council rotates between Finland, Norway, Russia and Sweden. Thirteen counties or similar sub-national entities form the Barents Regional Council (BRC).

The representatives of the three indigenous peoples, the Sámi, the Nenets and the Vepsians, cooperate in the Working Group of Indigenous Peoples. It has an advisory role in relation to both the BEAC and the BRC.
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The Arctic Council

The Arctic Council is a high level intergovernmental forum to provide a means for promoting cooperation, coordination and interaction among the Arctic States, with the involvement of the Arctic Indigenous communities and other Arctic inhabitants on common Arctic issues, in particular issues of sustainable development and environmental protection in the Arctic.

Member States of the Arctic Council are Canada, Denmark (including Greenland and the Faroe Islands), Finland, Iceland, Norway, Russian Federation, Sweden, and the United States of America.
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The Council of the Baltic Sea States


The Council of the Baltic Sea States (CBSS) is an overall political forum for regional inter-governmental cooperation. The Members of the Council are the eleven states of the Baltic Sea Region as well as the European Commission. The states are Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Germany, Iceland, Latvia, Lithuania, Norway, Poland, Russia, Sweden and a representative from the European Commission.

The Council consists of the Ministers for Foreign Affairs from each Member State and a member of the European Commission. The role of the Council is to serve as a forum for guidance and overall coordination among the participating states. The foreign minister of the presiding country is responsible for coordinating the Council’s activities and is assisted in this work by the Committee of Senior Officials (CSO).
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The Nordic Council of Ministers

The Nordic Council of Ministers is the Nordic governments' co-operation forum. There are ten policy councils of ministers, and the co-operation is co-ordinated by an eleventh council of ministers made up of the ministers for Nordic co-operation in the member countries.

The Presidency of the Nordic Council of Ministers, which is held for a period of one year, alternates between the member countries. Many of the Council of Ministers’ activities are carried out in the Nordic institutions, projects and initiatives. The Council of Ministers runs a number of local information offices in the Nordic countries and several offices in Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Russia.
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Northern Dimension

The European Union and The Northern Dimension Policy

The Northern Dimension is a policy framework for cooperation involving the EU, its Member States and partner countries Iceland, Norway and Russia. It aims at providing a common platform for promoting dialogue and concrete cooperation as well as strengthening stability and promoting economic integration, competitiveness and sustainable development in Northern Europe.

Geographically the ND focuses increasingly on northwest Russia, Kaliningrad, the Baltic and the Barents Seas, the Arctic and Sub-Arctic areas. The main objectives of the policy are to provide a common framework for the promotion of dialogue and concrete cooperation, strengthen stability and well-being, intensify economic cooperation, promote economic integration, competitiveness and sustainable development in Northern Europe.

The objectives of the ND policy are being implemented by the four partnerships described below.


The Northern Dimension Partnership in Public Health and Social Well-


The Northern Dimension Partnership in Public Health and Social Well-being (NDPHS) is a cooperative effort of eleven governments, the European Commission and eight international organisations. The NDPHS provides a forum for concerted action to tackle challenges to health and social well-being in the Northern Dimension area and foremost in North-West Russia.

The NDPHS is one of several existing Partnerships established within the Northern Dimension (ND) policy that began in 2000. The mission of the NDPHS is to promote the sustainable development of the Northern Dimension area by improving peoples’ health and social well-being. The Partnership aims to contribute to this process by intensifying cooperation, assisting the Partners and Participants in capacity building, and by enhancing the extent of coordination between international activities within the Northern Dimension area.
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The Northern Dimension Partnership on Culture

The Northern Dimension Partnership on Culture (NDPC) initiative focuses on cultural co-operation in the Northern Dimension area. One of its objectives is to bridge the gap between public and private funding. NDPC is an extensive cultural co-operation tool which reaches out to cultural operators, creative entrepreneurs and to the business communities throughout the entire Northern Dimension area.

The Northern Dimension Environmental Partnership

The Northern Dimension Environmental Partnership (NDEP) is a result-focused initiative responding to calls from the international community - including Russia and Belarus - for concerted action to tackle some of the most pressing environmental problems in the Northern Dimension Area covering the Baltic and Barents Seas region.

Through its pipeline of environmental projects in water and wastewater treatment, management of municipal and agricultural waste, energy efficiency and nuclear safety projects for spent nuclear fuel and radioactive waste management, the NDEP is helping to deliver real benefits to the environment – and the people – in the whole of the Northern Dimension Area.

The Northern Dimension Partnership on Transport and Logistics

Northern Dimension Partnership on Transport and Logistics (NDPTL) – set up to improve the major transport connections and logistics in the Northern Dimension region, with the purpose of stimulating sustainable economic growth at the local/regional and global level. This partnership covers all modes of transport including road, rail, inland waterways, aviation and maritime. 

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