The Barents Regional Council unites (after the merger between Troms and Finnmark) 13 member counties and a representative of the indigenous peoples in the northernmost parts of Finland, Norway and Sweden and North-West Russia.
At the same time as the BEAC was established in 1993 by the signing of the Kirkenes Declaration, the regional representatives, together with the indigenous peoples signed a co-operation protocol that established the Regional Council for the Barents Euro-Arctic Region with the same objectives as the BEAC - to support and promote co-operation and development in the Barents Region. The protocol determines the structure and the general aims of the regional co-operation.
The Barents Region includes the following counties or their equivalents:
Indigenous Peoples in the Barents Region:
- in Finland: Lapland, Oulu Region, Kainuu and North Karelia
- in Norway: Nordland and Troms og Finnmark
- in Russia: Arkhangelsk Region, Murmansk Region, Karelia, Komi and Nenets
- in Sweden: Norrbotten and Västerbotten
- members of the Barents Regional Council
- Sami (in Norway, Sweden, Finland and Russia)
- Nenets (in Russia)
- Veps (in Russia)
The Barents Regional Council in Umeå, October 2019
The establishment of a forum for the interregional Barents cooperation is an acknowledgement of the importance of local knowledge, the ability to identify the most urgent common priorities and the capacity to carry out cross-border projects and cooperate on implementation of common programmes.
Initially, the Barents Region consisted of seven member counties, but already in April 1993 the Republic of Karelia in Russia joined the co-operation. An increasing interest in the benefits of regional co-operation and the potentials of the northern regions followed. The Barents Region gradually expanded and with the accession of the Russian Republic of Komi on 1 January 2002 and North Karelia in Finland on 8 November 2016, the Region now comprises 13 member counties, approximately 1.75 mn sq. km and nearly 5.3 million inhabitants.
The Chairmanship of the Barents Regional Council rotates biennially between its 13 member counties. The Regional Council convenes twice a year. The Regional Council’s meetings are prepared by the Regional Committee, which consists of civil servants from the member county administrations.
Finnmark, Norway, took over the Chairmanship from Kainuu, Finland, in October 2017 and was holding it until October 2019. Read Finnmark's Chairmanship Priorities here. The current chair for the period 2019-2021 is Västerbotten, Sweden. Read more here.
The Barents Programme is the framework for co-operation where the priority areas of work are identified.
The Barents Programme 2014-2018, as printable version in English - and as brochure in English and Russian. The programme was adopted by the Regional Council on 2 June 2013.
The Barents Program for 2019-2023 was adopted on 24 May 2018.
The Communication Strategy for Barents Regional Cooperation was adopted in May 2016 and it sets the guidelines for communication within Barents Regional Council, Barents Regional Committee and Regional Working Groups. The communication strategy is updated on regular basis.
Working Groups deepen co-operation. In order to deepen and concretise the co-operation the Regional Council has established Working Groups in priority areas of work. There are at present three regional thematic Working Groups on Environment, Investments and Economic Cooperation as well as Transport and Logistics. Together with the Working Group on Indigenous Peoples, which has an advisory role to both the Regional Council and to the BEAC, the Barents Regional Youth Council, which has got a status of the offcial Working Group and six Joint BEAC/BRC Working Groups (Culture; Health and Related Social Issues; Education and Research; Energy: Tourism; Youth) there are altogether eleven Working Groups reporting to the Barents Regional Council.
Chair of the Regional Council:
Helene Hellmark Knutsson
Västerbotten County, Sweden
Members of the Barents Regional Council:
Regional Government of Murmansk
Lenina Pr. 75
183006 Murmansk, Russia
Tel: +7 8152486201
Regional Government of Arkhangelsk
Troitskiy Pr. 49
163004 Arkhangelsk, Russia
Regional Government of Karelia
Lenina Pr. 19
Petrozavodsk, 185028 Republic of Karelia, Russia
Regional Government of Komi
Kommunisticheskaya Ul. 9
Syktyvkar, 167000 Republic of Komi, Russia
Tel: +7 8182 285 105
Regional Government of NAO
Smidovicha Ul. 20
Naryan-Mar, 166000 Nenetskiy, Russia
Tel: +7 8185 343 087
Norrbotten County, Sweden
Troms og Finnmark
Bjørn Inge Mo
Regional Council of Troms og Finnmark
Tel: +47 97 762641
Anne Toril Eriksen Balto
Regional Council of Troms og Finnmark
Tel: +47 41 310027
Regional Council of Nordland
Prinsens gate 100
8048 Bodø, Norway
Tel: +47 90 877477
Regional Council of Oulu
FIN-90150 Oulu, Finland
Tel: +358 400 389152
Regional Council of Kainuu
87100 Kajaani, Finland
Tel: +358 44 797 0197
Regional Council of North Karelia
Pielisjoen linna, Siltakatu 2
FI-80100 Joensuu, Finland
Tel: +358 50 357 7739
Regional Council of Lapland
96101 Rovaniemi, Finland
Tel: +358 44 76742 00
Working Group on Indigenous Peoples (WGIP):
Mr. Lars Anders Bær
Tel: +46 70 316 20 56
North-West Russian Parliamentary Association
Ms. Elena Pisareva
Chairperson of Nodgorov Regional Duma
Barents Christian Church Council
Ms. Saija Kronqvist