The Republic of Karelia is an active participant of international cooperation in the Barents Euro-Arctic Region (BEAR), where special attention is paid to cooperation between indigenous peoples of the region.
Among the indigenous peoples of the Barents region there are Laplanders living in Norway, Sweden, Finland and Murmansk region of the Russian Federation, Nenets people of of Nenets Autonomous District and Veppsians of the Republic of Karelia which have their representatives in the working group concerning indigenous peoples.
Under the initiative of the superior governing bodies of the Barents Euro-Arctic Region - Barents Region Council and Regional Council - for the first time the First Congress of Indigenous Peoples of the Barents Region and Coexistence in the Arctic conference where the main attention will be paid to life activity of indigenous peoples in the century of extractive industry development will be held in Kirkenes (Norway) on February 4-5, 2010.
Politicians and active workers from among indigenous peoples, representatives of industrial companies and authorities, experts in the sphere of rights of indigenous peoples and international legislation, as well as representatives of public associations of indigenous peoples of the Barents Region and Russian Association of Indigenous Peoples in the North, Siberia and Far East will take part in the international activities.
Representatives of the Vepsian Culture Society will take part in work of the first Congress of Indigenous Peoples of the Barents Region on the part the Republic of Karelia.