Secretariat improves conditions of the Barents Cooperation

Kirkenes, September, 2010

The International Barents Secretariat opened in January 2008, in Kirkenes, Norway. The agreement between Norway, Russia, Sweden and Finland to establish and co-finance the Secretariat shows that interaction in the Barents Region is a political priority.

When the Kirkenes Declaration was signed between the Ministers of Foreign Affairs or high representatives of all five Nordic countries, Russia, and the of the European Commission in 1993, it marked the start of the Barents Cooperation. Since then it has become a framework for interaction within rescue services, indigenous peoples’ issues, trade and customs, culture, education, environment, social and health related issues.

The Secretariat is a tool for the national and the regional levels of the cooperation, i e the Barents Euro-Arctic Council and the Barents Regional Council respectively. It is a priority for the Secretariat to serve the chairmanships of both of them.

Sweden is the present chair of the Barents Euro-Arctic Council. The chairmanship was switched to Sweden at the 12th session of the Barents Council in Murmansk in October 2009. At the same meeting the chairmanship of the Regional Council was switched from the Oulu Region, Finland to Troms Region, Norway.

The International Barents Secretariat also assists the working groups and aims at taking pro-active measures to facilitate the cooperation. The recent Swedish secondment of an Senior Adviser on Project Funding to the secretariat marks a strengthened possibility of financing projects in the Barents Region. Earlier Norway seconded to the Secretariat an Adviser on Indigenous Issues.

The International Barents Secretariat is also a tool for communication and promotion of the Barents cooperation and is responsible for the content of the web site: The Secretariat sends press-releases on a regular basis to media in the Barents Region.

Anyone wishing to receive information on the Barents Cooperation is welcome to address the Secretariat: (more contact information below) or visit covering all aspects of the cooperation. The Secretariat especially wants to alert everyone about the Calendar of Events on the left side menu of the site.

English, Russian, Saami, Swedish, Norwegian, Finnish and German are spoken at the Secretariat.

The staff of the International Barents Secretariat:

Head of Secretariat, Alexander Ignatiev (Ambassador)
Executive Officer, Emil Strand
IT/Accounting /Secretary, Roy Hojem
Indigenous Peoples’ Adviser, Lars Miguel Utsi

For more information please contact the International Barents Secretariat:

Emil Strand, Executive/Communications Officer,
Tel. +47 78 97 08 71, Mob. +47 95 97 71 73, Fax. +47 78 97 70 79
PO Box 107, 9915 Kirkenes, Norway
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