20 February 2012On 14 February 2012 the Standing Committee of Parliamentarians of the Arctic Region (SCPAR) met at the Riksdag Building in Stockholm to discuss Arctic cooperation. Minister for Foreign Affairs Carl Bildt gave a speech during the meeting in view of Sweden’s Chairmanship of the Arctic Council in 2011–2013.“In many ways we are facing tremendous challenges in the Arctic. Despite the challenges, cooperation between the Arctic states remains pragmatic and low-key and produces solid results.” said Mr Bildt. Mr Bildt sees several reasons why the cooperation works so well. One factor that he mentions is the involvement of the Permanent Participants (representatives of six Arctic indigenous peoples’ organisations) in all levels of the Council’s work, which ensures that the people of the region have a voice and influence. The efficient and close cooperation between experts and political decision-makers is another contributory factor highlighted by Mr Bildt. The Conference of Parliamentarians of the Arctic Region (CPAR) is a parliamentary body consisting of members of the national parliaments of the Arctic states. The Conference meets every other year, with the latest meeting being held at the European Parliament in Brussels in 2010. SCPAR is responsible for work between the Conference meetings. The Committee, which meets three or four times a year to discuss current issues in the Arctic, seeks to promote the activities of the Arctic Council. Sweden assumed the Chairmanship of the Arctic Council on 12 May 2011. During the meeting, Mr Bildt gave a status report on the Swedish Chairmanship. “During the Swedish Chairmanship we want to continue strengthening Arctic cooperation so as to be able to address the increased activities in the region. We want to build on earlier success but also develop the Arctic Council in new ways,” said Mr Bildt. Mr Bildt also mentioned some of the priorities the Council is working on. One of them is a project on sustainable entrepreneurship in the Arctic. Another is to improve the communication of results by the Arctic Council, by developing a communication strategy for the Council and by launching the new website.