The declared goal of the Barents Euro-Arctic Council (BEAC) is to promote sustainable development of the region, bilateral and multilateral cooperation in the fields of economy, trade, science and technology, environment, infrastructure, education and cultural exchanges, tourism, as well as realization of projects aimed at improving the situation of the indigenous population of the North.
BEAC meets annually at the level of foreign Ministers. Decisions on the activities of the organization are taken by the Council by consensus.
Under the aegis of the BEAC, a Regional Council is functioning, which includes the heads of the administrative units forming the Barents region: from Russia - Murmansk and Arkhangelsk regions, Nenets Autonomous District, republic of Karelia, and since January of 2002 also republic of Komi; from Norway - county Nurlann, Finnman and Troms; from Sweden - Lena Norrbotten Västerbotten; and from Finland - governorate of Lappi (since 2010 - province of Lappi) and the unions of communes of Kanuu and Northern Ostrobothnia, as well as the representatives of the indigenous population of the region.
One of the regions chairs the Council on a two-year rotational basis. The regional Council develops the so-called "Barents cooperation program". The Program includes projects in the following main areas: the development of industry and infrastructure, human resource development and education, environmental protection and health protection, well-being and culture, indigenous peoples.