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The primary task of the Norwegian Barents Secretariat (NBS) is to facilitate and promote Norwegian-Russian people-to-people cooperation in the North. On behalf of the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Secretariat distributes around 30 million NOK to 200-300 cross-border cooperation projects every year. 

Since its establishment in 1993, more than 5000 Norwegian-Russian Barents projects have received grants from the NBS. Many of these projects involve youth, and in 2015, more than three million NOK twas granted to youth projects. Furthermore, the Secretariat also distributes grants on behalf of the Norwegian Ministry of Children and Equality. 

Youth cooperation is an area of priority for the NBS. The Secretariat plays an important part in the implementation of the The Barents Regional Youth Programme, which offers young people opportunities for mobility and active participation in the Barents Cooperation and the development of the Barents Region.  The NBS also operates as the administrative body, secretariat and coordinator for the Barents Regional Youth Council.

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The Nordic Council of Ministers is the forum for Nordic governmental co-operation. Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden have been members of the Nordic Council of Ministers since 1971. In addition, Greenland, the Faroe Islands and Åland have also increased their representation and position in the Nordic Council of Ministers, with the same representation as the above mentioned countries.

The Nordic Council of Ministers’ most important criterion for granting project funding is that the projects must benefit the Nordic countries and the adjacent areas. The projects must generate Nordic synergy. The principle of “Nordic synergy” is a crucial factor in deciding which activities should come under the umbrella of joint Nordic cooperation.

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