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 matters of multilateral character. The issues (co-operation projects, applications, initiatives etc.) are prepared in advance in each county, within the international department of the county administration in the case of Russia, Sweden and Finland, while the Norwegian counties also have established a joint 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 exists working groups for environment, communications, youth issues, information technology and economic cooperation. They report their activities to the Regional Council. There also exist four joint working groups with the Barents Euro-Arctic Council: health and related social issues, education and research, energy and culture. 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 country has the responsibility to cover 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 apply for funding at relevant finance institutions i.a. EU programmes.
Barents Programme 2014-2018, as printable version in English, and as brochure in English and Russian.
For the agendas and protocols of the Regional Committee please contact IBS.
Members of the Regional Committee