Barents Regional Cooperation: First 20 Years Symposium

The 2013 is a major milestone of Barents cooperation. The Arctic Centre of University of Lapland and Norwegian embassy in Finland organized jointly a symposium to discuss the past, present and future of the 20 years long cooperation. The one-day symposium was held in Arktikum, Rovaniemi, February 12th 2013, and it was open to all the “Barents friends”, as the Mayor of Rovaniemi, Esko Lotvonen articulated when welcoming the guests to Rovaniemi.
The program included presentations and discussions by former and current regional representatives in the Barents regional committee, regional experts and active participants from various projects in the region. The symposium offered also an open meeting place to discuss multilateral cooperation on the regional level which is of utmost importance to beneficial and successful Barents cooperation.

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One of the speakers of the Symposium, Yury Nikiforov, Deputy Head from the International Barents Secretariat, presented his view about the event:

“Rovaniemi is one of the most popular and well-known places in Finland which always attracts crowds of people from other countries. For many of them this town is famous because the real Santa Claus is living there. Much less are aware of the existence of the Arctic Centre – a unique scientific and research institution dealing with climate change, environmental legislation, indigenous peoples’ rights and dissemination of relevant information.
I personally have been to Rovaniemi many times before but never visited the Arctic Centre. That was the reason why I had easily accepted the invitation to the symposium “Barents Regional Cooperation: The First Twenty Years” held in Rovaniemi and organized by the Arctic Centre and the Norwegian Embassy in Finland. The organizers asked me to present the view of the International Barents Secretariat at the panel discussion of the Past, Present and Future of Barents Cooperation.

I found it interesting to listen to the views of other participants, questions and remarks from the audience. My general impression from the discussion was positive and quite optimistic. I was pleased that my own assessments were very close or coincided with others. In summary, for 20 years we succeeded in developing a solid infrastructure and accumulated the experience needed for a successful work of the whole mechanism of Barents cooperation. Now is the time for practical deeds.

I would like to express my gratitude to organizers for the invitation to participate in the symposium. My special thanks to Monica Tennberg, Markku Heikkilä and Jenni Lintula for their outstanding presentation of the Arctic Centre in Rovaniemi. “

Text by Markku Heikkilä, Jenni Lintula and Yury Nikiforov.
Photos by Joonas Vola. More photos from Barents Symposium can be found from Facebook.

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