About the Regional Council

The Barents Regional Council unites (after the merger between Troms and Finnmark) 13 member counties and a representative of the indigenous peoples in the northernmost parts of Finland, Norway and Sweden and North-West Russia.

At the same time as the BEAC was established in 1993 by the signing of the Kirkenes Declaration, the regional representatives, together with the indigenous peoples signed a co-operation protocol that established the Regional Council for the Barents Euro-Arctic Region with the same objectives as the BEAC - to support and promote co-operation and development in the Barents Region. The protocol determines the structure and the general aims of the regional co-operation.

The Barents Region includes the following counties or their equivalents:

  • in Finland: Lapland, Oulu Region, Kainuu and North Karelia
  • in Norway: Nordland and Troms og Finnmark
  • in Russia: Arkhangelsk Region, Murmansk Region, Karelia, Komi and Nenets
  • in Sweden: Norrbotten and Västerbotten

Indigenous Peoples in the Barents Region:

  • Sami (in Norway, Sweden, Finland and Russia)
  • Nenets (in Russia)
  • Veps (in Russia)

The Barents Regional Council in Tromsø, October 2021

The establishment of a forum for the interregional Barents cooperation is an acknowledgement of the importance of local knowledge, the ability to identify the most urgent common priorities and the capacity to carry out cross-border projects and cooperate on implementation of common programmes.

The Barents Region comprises of 13 member counties, approximately 1.75 million sq. km and nearly 5.2 million inhabitants.

The Chairmanship of the Barents Regional Council rotates biennially between its 13 member counties. The Regional Council convenes twice a year. The Regional Council’s meetings are prepared by the Regional Committee, which consists of civil servants from the member county administrations.

The current chair for the period 2021-2023 is Nenets Autonomous Okrug, which took over Chairmanship from Västerbotten, Sweden. Read more about the current BRC Chairmanship.

The Barents Programme is the framework for co-operation where the priority areas of work are identified. The Barents Program for 2019-2023 was adopted on 24 May 2018.

The Communication Strategy for Barents Regional Cooperation was adopted in May 2016 and it sets the guidelines for communication within Barents Regional Council, Barents Regional Committee and Working Groups. The communication strategy is updated on regular basis.

Working Groups concretize the co-operation in the different sectors where co-operation takes place. This concerns sectors such as Environment; Business; Transport; Culture; Health and Related Social Issues; Education and Research; Tourism; Youth; Forests; Rescue. In addition, the Working Group of Indigenous Peoples (WGIP) are represented in all Working Groups. The youth themselves have their own Barents Regional Youth Council (BRYC), and are also taking part in the different Working Groups.


Chair of the Regional Council:


Members of the Barents Regional Council

Murmansk Region

Arkhangelsk Region





Troms og Finnmark


Oulu Region


North Karelia



Working Group of Indigenous Peoples (WGIP)

North-West Russian Parliamentary Association

Barents Christian Church Council