Barents Euro-Arctic Council (BEAC)
Outcome of Twelfth Session of Barents Euro-Arctic Council
The Twelfth Ministerial Session of the Barents Euro-Arctic Council (BEAC) was held in Murmansk on October 15 under the chairmanship of Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation Sergey Lavrov. It was attended by Ministers of Foreign Affairs from Norway, Finland, Sweden, and the high representatives of the other BEAC members – Denmark, Iceland and the European Commission.
Matters relating to the state of, and prospects for the international Barents cooperation were examined. From all accounts, this cooperation, conducted for over 16 years now, is fruitful and dynamic and aptly combines the specificity of the North and the available significant potential of further development. It serves as an important factor of good-neighborliness and stability in Northern Europe and the Arctic.
Session participants evaluated highly the results of Russia's chairmanship of the BEAC in 2007-2009, whose plans, aimed at ensuring stable economic and social development while observing environmental requirements and the interests of the indigenous peoples, were successfully implemented. Among the positive shifts in BEAC activity mention was made of the signing of the organization's first intergovernmental agreement on practical cooperation in a specific area – emergency prevention and management; the adoption and implementation of long-term programs and projects in the fields of support for the indigenous peoples, cultural exchanges, and interaction with respect to health care and related social issues; the holding of major conferences on cooperation in business, transport and climate change study and response, youth policy and education; opening new (tourism) and increasing the effectiveness of interaction in some traditional (energy, education and research) areas of the Council's work; and the greater interaction between BEAC and the Barents Regional Council, representing 13 regions of Russia's Northwest and the northern parts of Norway, Sweden and Finland.
There were examined possible measures to neutralize the adverse impact of the world economic and financial crisis on the international Barents cooperation, including the holding of a meeting of ministers responsible for economy and regional development. The strategic significance for the region of existing plans to develop hydrocarbon resources of the continental shelf of the Barents Sea was emphasized.
A joint communiqué was adopted at the conclusion of the session.
The BEAC chairmanship rotated to Sweden.
The next ministerial session will be held in 2011.
October 15, 2009