The Norwegian Barents Secretariat

Employees at the Norwegian Barents Secretariat. Photo: Lene Stavå

The Norwegian Barents Secretariat is a cross-border competence center that aims at developing the relations in the north by promoting and funding Norwegian-Russian cooperation projects.


Located in Kirkenes, northern Norway on the shores of the Barents Sea and in short distance from the borders to both Russia and Finland,  the Norwegian Barents Secretariat aims at supporting political, business and people-to-people contacts across the borders in the region.

The work  could be divided in three.

Project financing

  • On behalf of the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs we fund bilateral Norwegian-Russian cooperation projects.
  • Resource center and coordinate the projects within the Barents Programme.
  • The Secretariat grants approximately 200 Norwegian-Russian projects annually.

Resource centre

  • Information work within the Barents Region, including the BarentsObserver.
  • Updates Government, Parliament, economic life, organizations and similar outside the region on the development and possibilities of the Barents Region.
  • Visualize the regional activity and increase the international support for the cooperation.
  • Carry through or finance various types of reviews or reports on relevant topics in the region

Barents Cooperation 

  • Coordinates the national goals with the regional political priorities within the frames of the multilateral Barents Cooperation.
  • Work as a resource center for the councils, committees and working groups of the Barents Cooperation.

The secretariat has 12 employees with a vide range of skills on Norwegian, Russian cross-border cooperation and international relations. It is the three northernmost counties in Norway, Nordland, Troms and Finnmark that owns the secretariat. The head of the secretariat is Rune Rafaelsen.

For more information about the secretariat and its work and employees, go to