The four countries of the Barents Region (Sweden, Norway, Russia and Finland) share many of the same challenges when it comes to youth issues in the Northern areas. Limited option of higher education programmes, smaller cities with fewer activities for youth, lack of infrastructure, harsh climate and youth migration are just a few examples. This invites to increased cooperation about these matters. How do we ensure that the young voices are heard in the Barents Cooperation?
During an international youth seminar in Murmansk in October 2003, the participants strongly signalised that young people want to participate more actively in the Barents Cooperation. They concluded that the best way to ensure this would be to establish a new youth structure in the Barents Cooperation, a council consisting of young people from the whole region.
The establishment meeting for the Barents Regional Youth Council (BRYC) was held in Kirkenes during the festival Barents Spektakel 2004.
BRYC consists of one youth representative from each county, oblast, republic and okrug in the Barents Region and one representative for the indigenous youths. The 15 members of the council work towards a strengthening of the youth cooperation in the Barents Region.
BRYC's secretariat is in the hands of the person responsible for the youth program at the Norwegian Barents Secretariat in Kirkenes. The Secretariat invites BRYC members to meetings, finds suitable meeting dates and arranges travel and accommodation for the participants.
The Barents Youth Cooperation Office (BYCO) in Murmansk used to be responsibile for coordinating the participation of representatives from the Russian side, including travel planning, visa assistance and information. However, due to financial circumstances, the office is currently not operating.