Standing Committee of the Parliamentarians of the Arctic Region (SCPAR)
Standing Committee of the Parliamentarians of the Arctic Region (SCPAR) – established in 1994 by the decision of the International Conference of Parliamentarians of the Nordic Council for Development and Protection of the Arctic Region held in 1993 in Reykjavik, Iceland. The Committee is a working body of the Conference of Parliamentarians of the Arctic Region. The membership in the Standing Committee corresponds to the membership of states in the Arctic Council. Members of the Committee are Denmark, Iceland, Canada, Norway, Russia, the US, Finland, Sweden, and the European Parliament. The observer status in the Standing Committee and in the Conference of Parliamentarians of the Arctic Region is given to the Saami Council, the Inuit Circumpolar Conference, and the Russian Association of Indigenous Peoples of the North. The Standing Committee itself has the observer status in the Arctic Council and as a guest takes part in meetings of the Barents/Euro-Arctic Region Council.
The activity of the Standing Committee is focused on organizing the Conference of Parliamentarians of the Arctic Region (held every 2 years in a Member State of the Standing Committee), as well as monitoring the implementation of the decisions of the resolutions adopted by results of regular sessions. The main activities of the Standing Committee are focused on the following areas: participation in the meetings of the Arctic Council as an observer and in meetings of the Barents/Euro-Arctic Council as a guest; promotion of sustainable development, assistance to indigenous peoples of the Arctic by facilitating the development of the own potential in the region; liaising with the World Bank, the Global Environment Facility, and the United Nations Commission in the field of sustainable development and environment; development and approval of the project of the Arctic University; and support of the “Northern Dimension” of the European Union, the Canadian foreign policy of the “Northern Dimension,” and the US initiative on Northern Europe.
The purpose of the Conference of Parliamentarians of the Arctic Region is to put forward initiatives for cooperation in the Arctic; work as a forum for discussions and exchange of information between parliaments, governments, indigenous organizations, as well as international governmental and nongovernmental organizations; close cooperation with the governments of the Arctic region for the implementation of the decisions taken by the Arctic Council; discuss on issues relevant to the work of the Arctic Council; etc.
In SCPAR, every parliament member state is represented by one participant (from a bicameral parliament – usually a member of the upper house). The Russian Federation in the Standing Committee is represented by two members – one representative from the Council of the Federation and one from the State Duma.
Provisions of the Procedure of the Standing Committee and the Conference of Parliamentarians of the Arctic Region were approved in 1999 at a meeting of the Standing Committee in Brussels. The Standing Committee shall be held on the proposal of its Chairman, at least twice a year. The Committee shall elect a chairman for the period beginning from the tabulation of a conference held and ending by summarizing the next Conference. The Committee shall appoint a secretary and makes decisions on matters concerning the composition, formation, and the location of its secretariat.
Neither SCPAR nor the Conference has their own headquarters. Technical support is provided by the International Department of the Finnish Parliament in Helsinki.