16th ministerial meeting of the Barents Euro-Arctic Council (BEAC), Arkhangelsk, October 19, 2017
On October 19, the 16th ministerial session of the Barents Euro-Arctic Council (BEAC), chaired by Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, took place in Arkhangelsk, ending Russia's 2015-2017 BEAC chairmanship.
The session was attended by foreign ministers and high representatives of Denmark, Iceland, Norway, Russia, Finland, Sweden and the European Union, as well as representatives of the Barents Regional Council, indigenous peoples, regional structures, observer countries and other invited guests. Representatives from Rosleskhoz (FBU SevNIILKh and FBU Roslesinforg) took part in the session.
The participants discussed matters of crucial significance for the Barents region, which have been the priorities of Russia's chairmanship, namely, improving transport and logistics infrastructure, protecting the environment and fighting climate change, promoting cultural cooperation and tourism, developing the forest sector, protecting the rights of the indigenous peoples, as well as trans-border economic ties, healthcare, scientific and youth exchanges and joint response to emergencies.
The Barents Region, the most densely populated and economically developed region in the Arctic, has unique natural resources and major science and innovation capacity, not to mention the experience of cross-border cooperation. Over a period of some 25 years, BEAC has successfully promoted the unification agenda and has won respect as an organisation for international cooperation. It is also a major contributor to the preservation of Northern Europe as a zone of stability and neighbourly relations.
More than 80 events were realized within the framework of the Russia's chairmanship. One of the events was the Forest Forum of the Barents Region on the topic: "Adaptation of forests in the Barents region under the conditions of climate change. National forest and climate related policy of the countries of the Council of the Barents / Euro-Arctic Region», which was held in September 2017 in Arkhangelsk, organized by the Federal Forestry Agency.
In the run-up to the 25th anniversary of the Barents process next year, Russia, as BEAC Chair, proposed establishing a high-level regional forum, a so-called “Barents Davos” to tackle the entire regional agenda with an emphasis on sustainable socio-economic and environmental development.
The Joint Declaration passed at the session reflects practical solutions designed to give the Barents Cooperation a further boost. In addition, a BEAC youth forum was proposed.
In paragraph 12 of the Declaration underlined the importance of cooperation on forest issues in the Barents region and acknowledged the role of the forest sector in climate change adaptation and mitigation, as well as in the development of sustainable bioeconomy. The Council took note of the recommendations from the Barents Forest Forum held in September 2017 in Arkhangelsk, Russia.
The two-year BEAC chairmanship was transferred from Russia to Sweden.