2005 declared Year of Indigenous Peoples of the Barents Region

Petrozavodsk , 6 October 2004

2005 is declared “Year of Indigenous Peoples of the Barents Region”. The decision was taken on Wednesday during the second day of the session of the Council of the Barents Euro-Arctic Region ( BEAR ) in Petrozavodsk . Representatives of the Ministries of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation , Finland , Sweden and Norway , as well as of local administrations of the northwestern regions of Russia and of some Nordic countries were present.

Within the framework of the year of indigenous peoples of the region it is planned to carry out actions in the Nordic countries and Russia , devoted to problems of public health services, education, culture and preservation of the environment.

In particular, a meeting of indigenous leaders is supposed to be held in February 2005 in Norway . An international music and folklore festival will take place in Arkhangelsk in spring, and in Murmansk will be the place of competitions in traditional sports.

For the summer, the international festival of Finno-Ugric peoples is planned to be carried out in Syktyvkar . Other planned events are various exhibitions, competitions and other activities, a conference on problems of mass media in Petrozavodsk , and a youth camp.

The Council of the Barents Euro-Arctic Region is an intergovernmental organisation comprising Russia , Finland , Norway , and Sweden . Geographically BEAR includes the Arkhangelsk and Murmansk regions, the Republic of Karelia and the Nenets autonomous region, and a number of northern administrative entities of the Nordic countries. The activity of the Barents Council is focused on promoting international co-operation in the fields of economy, tourism, protection of environment, transport and communications, education, culture and other spheres.

Aleksey Ukkone; Source: RIA Novosti, 6 October 2004