The Barents Euro-Arctic Council developing the northernmost regions The Barents Euro-Arctic Council (BEAC) is an intergovernmental forum in which the countries of Northern Europe cooperate to develop north-west Russia and the northernmost regions of the Nordic countries. svenska Share Contact Listen The Swedish Environmental Protection Agency (Swedish EPA) participates in the Barents Euro-Arctic Council's Working Group on Environment (BEAC WGE), which is working on improving the environment in the region together with representatives from Norway, Finland and Russia. The work is about both building up environmental administration and legislation, identifying investments, and supporting projects needed to address the Barents region's environmental problems. This requires cooperation between the regional authorities of the countries, where the counties Västerbotten and Norrbotten participate from the Swedish side. A large part of the work is carried out in two sub-working groups, both of which the Swedish EPA participates in. The BEAC Working Group on Environment (BEAC WGE) In addition to contributing to the work of the WGE, which covers a wide range of environmental issues and priorities in the Barents cooperation, the Swedish EPA participates in various initiatives on nature protection, water cooperation and to address particularly polluted sites, or hot spots, in the Barents area. During the period of 2020-2021, Finland is the Chair of the group. There are three working groups under the WGE: The Subgroup on Nature Protection and Water (SNW) The Subgroup on Hot Spot Exclusion (SHE) The Subgroup on Cleaner Production and Environmentally Sound Consumption (CPESC) (temporarily adjourned). Systematic work to address contaminated sites The Subgroup on Hot Spot Exclusion (SHE) is the central driving force and coordinator in the work to support projects that systematically address environmental problems in the Russian part of the Barents region. Much remains to be done with the remaining sites on the Barents hot spot list, which continue to impose health and environmental hazards on their surrounding communities and nature. With the support of the Nordic Environmental Finance Corporation (NEFCO), SHE works with national and regional authorities, research institutes and other stakeholders to improve the environment and address particularly polluted areas. Strengthening nature protection and improving water management The Subgroup on Nature Protection and Water (SNW) is responsible for monitoring and supporting projects in the Barents region aimed at e.g. improving the environment, strengthening biodiversity and promoting sustainable water management. Prominent projects supported by the subgroup includes e.g. waterway restoration in the Barents region, capacity development on addressing Invasive Alien Species (IAS) and the organization of the bi-annual conference Habitat Contact Forum. Climate inventories The Barents region is an area that is particularly affected by climate change and is warming up at a particularly alarming rate. In order to identify and better understand the largest sources of emissions in the various Barents regions, so-called climate inventory exercises have been undertaken. The results provide decision-makers with information on where possible emission reduction measures will have the greatest impact. At present, climate inventories have been carried out in Archangelsk and Norrbotten County. Six countries and the EU in the Barents Council In Sweden, the work of the Barents Council is coordinated by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The Barents Council includes Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, Russia and Sweden, as well as the European Commission. Another nine countries, including Canada and the United States, participate as observers. As mentioned above, in the Working Group on Environment, Sweden, Norway, Finland, and Russia participate.