Arctic Yearbook 2015 - Page 205

205 Arctic Yearbook 2015 interparliamentary cooperation” (Thórdarson & Gallagher 2013). Since the Barents region is a subregion of the Arctic, virtually all discussion taking place during the Conference meetings are relevant for the Arctic. At the same time, without any standing body, the Barents Parliamentary Conference has no formal and working relations with the Arctic Council, and the representatives of the latter are just participants of the conferences. According to Ari Sirén, former Head of the International Barents Secretariat: In spite of the fact that political issues are not dealt with by the Barents Cooperation, a political instrument in the form of biennial parliamentary conferences is nevertheless significant. Taking into consideration the increasing international role of Arctic cooperation the parliamentarians from member states could perhaps discuss Barentsrelated issues more often. Brainstorming is, after all, needed when coming up with good idea (Sirén 2012). Conclusions To summarize the findings and reflections presented in this paper, firstly, there are many differences in the foundations and level of engagement of the four assemblies in cooperation on matters of the Arctic. The institutions in question were formed at different stages of development of Arctic cooperation, while for two of them – the Nordic Council and the West Nordic Council – the Arctic region became only one of many areas of interest, and did not even gain immediate priority when the respective Councils were created. The Conference of Arctic Parliamentarians represents the opposite case, where exclusively Arctic issues were in the spotlight from the outset. The Barents Parliamentary Forum’s attention is focused mainly on a part of the European sector of the Arctic region; moreover, its activities have reflected the ups and downs of the Barents cooperation. This complex situation of the four institutions under scrutiny here has its impact on the differential degrees of activity of the different assemblies with respect to issues affecting the region, as well as their different roles in the Arctic governance system. One interesting feature of all four institutions is their openness to mutual contact, collaboration, and effectively warmer relations. This supports the notion that parliamentary diplomacy in the Arctic is an attractive and dynamic form of regional cooperation that elicits great interest from its participants, with the willing engagement of individual parliamentarians as the glue that binds them together. Finally, out of the four assemblies, only the Standing Committee of the Conference of Arctic Parliamentarians possesses the authority to contribute to the proceedings of the Arctic Council as an Observer; the West Nordic Council is only in the process of petitioning for this status, while neither the Nordic Council nor the Barents Parliamentary Forum seem interested in applying for it. The varying degree of participation of each of the institutions in Arctic cooperation does not indicate any vital role of the ‘Nordic dimension’ in ensuring their continued success and activity. What is more, a breakdown of the motivations underlying each institution creates the impression that only the Nordic Council is truly interested in chiseling out common Nordic responses to questions affecting the Arctic. At the same time, it is difficult to estimate the extent to which its resolutions and recommendations have even a marginal, indirect effect on the operations of the Arctic Council. Jointly, Łuszczuk