Nordic co-operation in the Arctic

Miljø, forskning og urfolk får støtte fra det Arktiske samarbeidsprogrammet
Photographer
Nikolaj Bock/Norden.org
Much of the Arctic land mass and seas belong to the Nordic Region, and the Nordic countries are heavily involved in issues that concern this unique and harsh, but also vulnerable part of the world. They work together to improve the quality of life of the indigenous peoples in the Arctic, to promote social and cultural development, to protect the sensitive and unique Arctic nature, to ensure sustainable use of natural resources and to protect biological diversity.

Nordic co-operation sheds light on social conditions, gender equality and the economy in the Arctic and generates knowledge about pollution, heavy metals and climate change in the area. Nordic funding for the Arctic University has improved the indigenous population’s opportunities for education. and also helps support reindeer husbandry. The Nordic Council of Ministers’ principles of openness and co-operation mean that considerable funds are available and a large number of grants are made available for Arctic co-operation every year.

Institutions

Both the Nordic parliaments and the Nordic governments work together in the Arctic. The Nordic parliamentarians discuss Arctic questions in the Nordic Council, and in addition to this parliamentary co-operation on the Arctic and the Barents Region takes place through the Standing Committee of Parliamentarians of the Arctic Region (SCPAR). e.g at the biennial Arctic Parliamentary Conference. The committee consists of MPs from seven Arctic countries and members of the European Parliament. Governmental co-operation takes place through the Nordic Council of Ministers, the Arctic Council and in co-operation with the EU.

Co-operation programme

The Nordic Council of Ministers' Arctic Co-operation Programme forms the framework for the projects and activities. Nordic co-operation is broad and embraces areas such as the environment, health, energy supply, research, culture, education, IT, research and business promotion. In addition the Arctic Co-operation Programme is used by the Nordic Council of Ministers in co-operation with countries in the Arctic Council and the EU in relation to work in the Barents Euro-Arctic Council. The Arctic Co-operation Programme also supplements the Council of Ministers’ Russia Programme which covers some of the same geographical area.

The Council of Ministers has separate programmes, strategies and initiatives for the Arctic Region. The overall responsibility for co-ordinating this work lies with the Ministers for Nordic Co-operation (MR-SAM). MR-SAM has an Arctic Expert Committee which advises on the planning, running and follow-up on activities in the Arctic. The various Nordic ministerial councils also run a whole range of Arctic activities and initiatives.