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Interparliamentary and International Cooperation
Interparliamentary and International Cooperation
 
          The Arkhangelsk Regional Assembly of Deputies (hereinafter – the Regional Assembly) attaches great importance to interparliamentary and international cooperation.
          The Regional Assembly has carried out close cooperation with regional parliaments, especially in the framework of the interparliamentary union “Parliamentary Association of the North-West of Russia” (hereinafter – the PANWR), which is one of the most influential associations of legislators in the Russian Federation.
          The PANWR, established in November 1994, unites legislative (representative) bodies of 11 constituent entities of the North-West Federal District of Russia. It consists of representatives from the regional assemblies of the Arkhangelsk, Vologda, Kaliningrad, Leningrad, Murmansk, Novgorod, Pskov regions, of the Karelian and Komi Republics, as well as the Nenets Autonomous District and Saint-Petersburg. The Arkhangelsk Regional Assembly of the sixth convocation is represented in the PANWR by 21 deputies.
          The PANWR cooperates with the Council of Federation, the State Duma of the Russia’s Federal Assembly as well as with associations of economic cooperation of territories, units, assemblies and other parliamentary associations in the Russian Federation and outside its borders.
          The PANWR aims to coordinate the North-West of Russia entities' cooperation on the parliamentary level, discussing issues and projects of mutual interest, addressing common problems both of the federal and regional levels, expressing a common position concerning political, economic and social issues as well as maintaining contacts and dialogue between Russia’s parliaments and parliamentarians and extending relationships with the parliamentarians from other countries.
          The supreme decision-making body of the PANWR is the Conference, which is organized by turns in one of the regional parliaments of the North-West of Russia twice a year. During the periods between conferences, the work of the Association is coordinated by its Presidium, which started its activities in 2005. Regular working bodies of the Parliamentary Association are its 12 Standing Committees focusing on issues such as interparliamentary cooperation, ecology, agriculture, economy, education, law, local government, social and cultural policies, Northern territories and indigenous minorities. The PANWR Standing Committee for Fishery Complex is headed by Yury Ivanovich Serdyuk, Vice-Chair of the Regional Assembly.
          The chairmanship in the PANWR rotates between members on annual basis. The current PANWR President is Sergey Mikhailovich Bebenin, Chair of the Legislative Assembly of the Leningrad Region.
          For 21 years 50 conferences were held. Arkhangelsk repeatedly has hosted members of conferences and standing committees meetings. In March 2015 the Regional Assembly welcomed the participants of the 35th PANWR Presidium. In June 2015 it received participants and guests of two PANWR Standing Committees: on Education, Science and Higher School and on Interparliamentary Cooperation. In May 2016 the regional parliament hosted members of PANWR Standing Committee on Local Government Issues.
         
         International cooperation in the Regional Assembly is carried out on one hand in the framework of the Parliamentary Association of the North-West of Russia, which has an observer status in such interparliamentary organizations as the Nordic Council, the Baltic Sea Parliamentary Conference and the Barents Euro-Arctic Regional Council. On the other hand the Regional Assembly as a legislative (representative) body of the Arkhangelsk Region has direct cooperation with international organizations as well as with foreign national and regional parliaments.
          In the framework of the Nordic Council Parliamentary Exchange Programme deputies from Arkhangelsk along with parliamentarians from other constituent entities of the North-West of Russia annually visit the Nordic countries to gain more experience of the parliamentary work in these countries. Such visit to Stockholm and Uppsala (Sweden) was organized by the Nordic Council in February 2016. Health, welfare and social issues were some of the topics of the programme.
          Nordic – Russian partnership was enhanced through a Cooperation Agreement signed between the Nordic Council and the PANWR during the Nordic Council’s 59th Session held in October 2007 in Oslo (Norway). In the framework of this Agreement the study visit to Arkhangelsk and Murmansk took place for the representatives of the Nordic Council in September 2008. The main objectives of the visit was to provide opportunities for Nordic parliamentarians to get acquainted with situation in the regions of the North-West of Russia, to promote exchange of ideas and views between Nordic parliamentarians and regional parliamentarians of the North-West of Russia and to foster interparliamentary cooperation. The last study visit for Nordic parliamentarians took place in Novgorod region in May 2013.
         On the 21 – 23 of March 2011 the Arkhangelsk Regional Assembly of Deputies hosted the Third International Forum for Young Politicians of the North-West of Russia and Nordic countries. The Forum gathered young politicians and representatives of the Republic of Karelia, Arkhangelsk, Vologda, Leningrad, Murmansk, Novgorod and Pskov regions, the Nenets Autonomous District, Saint-Petersburg, members of the Parliamentary Association of the North-West of Russia, NGO “National Assembly of Young Deputies”, members of the Nordic Council, the Nordic Youth Council, members of Parliaments of Iceland, Denmark, Norway, Sweden, politicians and representatives of Oulu Region (Finland), Counties of Troms and Finnmark (Norway). At the plenary meeting the forum participants discussed issues regarding co-operation, education and employment of young people in the North-West of Russia and in Nordic countries. They also took part in panel discussions on the topics of “Labour market or how a young specialist can find a job” and “Demanded professions: how to make the right choice”. Within the framework of the Forum the participants visited the Northern (Arctic) Federal University and got acquainted with historical and cultural places of Arkhangelsk. At the end of the Forum participants adopted resolution which underlines the importance of such events as the International Forum for young politicians of the North-West of Russia and Nordic countries, as well as the reasonability of its further organization. The issues concerning education, youth employment and youth cooperation were continued during the Forth International Forum for Young Politicians held in Stockholm (Sweden) in April 2012. The last Forum was hosted by Oulu (Finland) in April 2014.            
          In the framework of Barents cooperation the deputies of the Regional Assembly regularly take part in the Barents Parliamentary Conferences and meetings. The Third Barents Parliamentary Conference, which was held in Rovaniemi (Finland) in June 2007 covered a broad range of issues including environment, energy and climate change, public health and social wellbeing, transport and logistic. The Fourth Barents Parliamentary Conferences took place in May 2009 in the Komi Republic and was devoted to sustainable development of the Barents/Euro-Arctic region, including its social and economic aspects (health, culture, education), environment protection and support to indigenous peoples. The Fifth Barents Parliamentary Conference was hosted by the Swedish Parliament in Luleå in May 2011. The last one was convened in Helsinki (Finland) in September 2015.
          The Regional Assembly takes part in arrangements connected with the Northern Dimension policy. It covers the Baltic Region as well as the Arctic and Sub-Arctic areas of the continent from the Urals to Greenland, and aims to increase the welfare of this vast area with harsh climate conditions and lots of natural resources. Representatives of the regional parliament participated both in the Parliamentary Conference on Northern Dimension in March 2007 in the European Parliament in Brussels and in the First Northern Dimension Parliamentary Forum, which was held at the end of February 2009 in Brussels. The Second Forum was hosted by Stortinget (Norwegian Parliament) and took place in Tromsø (Norway) from 22 to 23 February 2011. The Third Forum took place in Arkhangelsk (Russia) in September 2013. The last one was organized in Iceland in 2015.
           At present time the Regional Assembly has been developing warm relationship with the Council of the Autonomous Province of Trento (Italy). On the 23rd of June 2010 the Memorandum on Cooperation between the Arkhangelsk Regional Assembly of Deputies and the Council of the Autonomous Province of Trento was signed in Arkhangelsk. In April 2012 the delegation of regional parliamentarians visited Trento, where further steps in interparliamentary and interregional activities were outlined.
         Since 2001 the Regional Assembly has supported close contacts with the Maine State Legislature (the USA). Maintaining and fostering bilateral cooperation the American parliamentarians regularly pay working visits to Arkhangelsk. The deputies of the Regional Assembly have been several times to Portland, which is a twin-city of Arkhangelsk. 
         The Regional Assembly always pays great attention to the foreign delegation’s visits, which are often aimed at the acquaintance with the Regional Assembly, enhancement of economic and cultural relationships as well as at the legislative experience exchange which means that the Regional Assembly is open to new contacts and new international projects.

 

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