Barents Euro-Arctic Council Ministerial Meeting in Oulu in 2015. Photo: Ilkka Tiensuu
Forums in the Arctic have emerged to meet specific regional or other needs. The Barents Euro-Arctic Council organizes cooperation in the northern parts of Finland, Sweden, Norway and Russia. Geographically, the Barents region extends from the Norwegian Lofoten mountains in the west to the Ural Mountains in the east.
The Barents Euro-Arctic Council operates on two levels: transnational and interregional. The latter takes place in the Barents Regional Council, which has 13 member regions from four countries. There are numerous working groups of officials in various sectors, both at transnational and regional level, including in the areas of transport, economic cooperation, culture, youth and indigenous peoples.
Russia, Norway and Iceland are also involved in the European Union's Northern Dimension program. The Northern Dimension region covers northwest Russia, the Baltic Sea and the Barents region. There is no exact delimitation for it. The aim of the Northern Dimension is to support stability, prosperity and sustainable development in the region through practical cooperation. At the heart of the action are partnerships in the fields of the environment, transport and logistics, culture and social and health work. Economic sanctions between Russia and the EU have hampered the funding of the programs.
Arctic parliaments have been engaged in Arctic cooperation since the 1990s and meet every two years at Arctic Parliamentary Conferences. The Nordic Council also has its own Arctic program. The parliaments of the Faroe Islands, Iceland and Greenland have a joint body in the West Atlantic, the West Nordic Council.