Multilateral cooperation on Arctic matters involves many different organisations and forums, ranging from those dedicated specifically to the Arctic to organisations and forums working on more universal themes with Arctic implications.
The EU engages in Arctic-specific international organisations and forums (non-exhaustive list):
Arctic Council and subsidiary bodies
On the basis of a standing invitation to attend at all levels, the EU participates in the work of the Arctic Council (AC) and its subsidiary bodies.
- The Arctic Council's activities are conducted in six Working Groups covering a broad range of subjects. Working Groups of the Arctic Council include: Arctic Contaminants Action Program (ACAP); Arctic Monitoring and Assessment Programme (AMAP); Conservation of Arctic Flora and Fauna (CAFF); Emergency Prevention, Preparedness and Response (EPPR); Protection of the Arctic Marine Environment (PAME); Sustainable Development Working Group (SDWG)
- Task Forces are appointed at the Ministerial meetings to work on specific issues for a limited amount of time. Current Task Forces of the Arctic Council include: Task Force on Arctic Marine Cooperation (TFAMC); Task Force on Telecommunications Infrastructure in the Arctic (TFTIA); Scientific Cooperation Task Force (SCTF)
- Expert Groups are also appointed for a limited time to work on specific deliverables. Current Expert Groups of the Arctic Council include: Expert Group on Black Carbon and Methane (EGBCM); Ecosystem-Based Management Expert Group (EGEBM)
Barents Euro-Arctic Council and subsidiary bodies
The Barents Euro-Arctic Council (BEAC) is a forum for intergovernmental cooperation on issues concerning the Barents Region. BEAC meets at Foreign Ministers level in the chairmanship country at the end of term of office.
The EU is a member of BEAC and participates in its work at the various levels.
- Working Groups under BEAC include: Working Group on Economic Cooperation (WGEC); Working Group on Environment (WGE); Steering Committee for the Barents Euro-Arctic Transport Area (BEATA); Joint Committee on Rescue Cooperation; Barents Forest Sector Network (BFSN)
- Working Groups under the Barents Regional Council (BRC) include: Working Group on Environment (WGE); Working Group on Transport and Logistics (WGTL); Working Group on Investments and Economic Cooperation (WGIEC)
- Joint Working Groups of BEAC and BRC include: Joint Working Group on Health and Related Social Issues (JWGHS); Steering Committee on Youth and Children at Risk (CYAR); The Barents Tuberculosis Programme; The Barents HIV/AIDS Programme; Joint Working Group on Education and Research (JWGER); Joint Working Group on Energy (JEWG); Joint Working Group on Culture (JWGC); Joint Working Group on Tourism (JWGT); Joint Working Group on Youth (JWGY)
- The Working Group on Indigenous Peoples (WGIP) represents the indigenous peoples of the Region at different levels of BEAC and BRC
The Northern Dimension (ND) is a joint policy framework between EU, Russia, Norway and Iceland. The policy aims at providing a framework to: promote dialogue and concrete cooperation; strengthen stability, well-being and intensified economic cooperation; promote economic integration, competitiveness and sustainable development in Northern Europe.
- The Northern Dimension Partnership on Transport and Logistics (NDPTL). This partnership operates through the Infrastructure Working Group
- The Northern Dimension in Public Health and Social Well-being (NDPHS). This partnership operates through several Expert Groups: Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR); Alcohol and Substance Abuse (ASA); HIV, TB and Associated Infections (HIB TB & AI); Non-Communicable Diseases related to Lifestyles and Social and Work Environments (NCD); Occupational Safety and Health (OSH); Baltic Sea Network on Occupational Health and Safety (BSN); Prison Health (PH); Primary Healthcare (PHC); eHealth for Regions Network
- The Northern Dimension Environmental Partnership (NDEP). This partnership operates through a Steering Group and the Nuclear Operating Committee (NOC)
- The Northern Dimension Partnership on Culture (NDPC). This partnership is guided by a Steering Committee
Nordic Council of Ministers
Nordic co-operation in the Arctic takes place at both parliamentary level and through governmental co-operation. Governmental co-operation between the Kingdom of Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden takes place through the Nordic Council of Ministers. The Council of Ministers has an Arctic Expert Committee which advises on the elaboration, implementation and follow-up of Arctic activities. In addition, a large number of Arctic activities and initiatives are carried out through the respective policies of the States.
Other international organisations and forums
The EU also engages in other international organisations and forums that relate to the Arctic without being Arctic-specific (non-exhaustive list):
The United Nations (UN), its specialised agencies and subsidiary bodies:
- UN Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE)
- International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO)
- International Maritime Organization (IMO)
Climate change and environment
The EU is engaging in international organisations and forums relating to climate change and the environment that are of relevance to the Arctic (non-exhaustive list):
The United Nations (UN), its specialised agencies and subsidiary bodies:
- UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS)
- United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC)
- The UNECE Convention on Long-Range Transboundary Air Pollutants (CLRTAP)
- United Nations Environment (UNEP)
Further information on EU activities relating to climate change and the Arctic environment can be found on the Climate Change and the Arctic Environment subpage.
Scientific cooperation has a key role to play in establishing the factual basis for developments and dynamics in the Arctic. Scientific cooperation can be used as a catalyst to support a common understanding at regional and international levels, enabling jointly agreed solutions to be reached and fostering peaceful cooperation.
As a global leader in science, the EU is engaging in large scale global scientific collaboration, and scientific engagement is set to increase over the coming years. The Commission Directorate-General for Research & Innovation (DG RTD), the Joint Research Centre (DG JRC), and the Directorate-General for Growth (DG Grow) contribute to this work. The EU is further supporting and developing international scientific cooperation in the Arctic through a variety of activities, such as (non-exhaustive list):
- funding research in all areas of science and innovation, including those relating to Arctic matters through the EU Research and Innovation Framework Programme Horizon 2020
- promoting transnational access to research infrastructures and an open data policy with countries in the Arctic region and those interested in Arctic research through INTERACT
- supporting international scientific cooperation under the Transatlantic Ocean Research Alliance (AORA)
- committing to activities in DG JRC's 2017-18 Work Programme, including action on: black carbon; methane; vessel tracking; fisheries; situational awareness; and off-shore safety; which complement the information that DG JRC has already compiled on Arctic soil data in the European Soil Data Centre and the maritime data held in the Blue Hub
- developing a multi-resolution map of the entire seabed and overlying water column in seas and oceans around Europe by 2020, which will include the Barents Sea from 2018
- hosting a collection of marine data, products and metadata on the European Marine Observation and Data Network (EMODnet) to make these harmonised, quality-assured resources more available to public and private users
Arctic Stakeholder Forum
Information on the Arctic Stakeholder Forum can be found on the Sustainable Development subpage.