Barents Euro-Arctic Council Working Group of Indigenous Peoples met Finnish Barents Euro-Arctic Council Chairman Minister Haavisto

The practical cooperation of the Barents Euro-Arctic Council (BEAC) is carried out by working groups in various fields, including the Working Group on Indigenous Peoples in the Barents Euro-Arctic Region. The Working Group has a special role in Barents cooperation: in addition to its operational role, it serves as an advisory body for the Barents Euro-Arctic Council (government level) and the Barents Regional Council.

The objective of the Working Group is to highlight and protect the interests of indigenous peoples and to ensure the realisation of the rights of indigenous peoples. It consists of representatives of the Sámi, the Nenets and the Veps. As cooperation with Russia has been frozen, the group continues its activities with representatives of the Sámi in Finland, Sweden and Norway.

Representatives of the Nordic Sámi Parliaments, Tauno Ljetoff (Finland), Eirik Larsen (Norway) and Stefan Mikaelsson (Sweden), met Foreign Minister Haavisto at the Ministry for Foreign Affairs on 10 January.

Indigenous Peoples Summit in March

One of the priorities of Finland’s Chairmanship of the Barents Euro-Arctic Council is to secure indigenous peoples’ opportunities to exert influence and their commitment to Barents cooperation. Finland supports the fourth Barents Indigenous Peoples Summit to be held in 22–24 March 2023. The Summit will focus on cooperation with the EU institutions, and it will be held for the first time in Brussels in collaboration with the European Parliament. The Working Group on Indigenous Peoples plays an important role in the preparation for the Summit.

The Working Group delegation also met representatives of the Minister of Justice and the Chairperson of the Finnish Parliament’s Grand Committee, Satu Hassi. Photo: Sari Wessman/Finnish Parliament

Members of the Working Group from Finland, Sweden and Norway met the Barents Euro-Arctic Council Chairman, Minister for Foreign Affairs Pekka Haavisto, on 10 January in Helsinki to discuss the current activities of the Working Group, including preparations for the Indigenous Peoples Summit.