The goal of cooperation in the Arctic region is to improve the living conditions and position of indigenous peoples and others living in the region. The first Conference of Parliamentarians of the Arctic Region took place in 1993. Government-level cooperation began in 1996 with the establishment of the Arctic Council. Parliamentarians play an important role in monitoring intergovernmental cooperation and presenting initiatives.
The Conference of Parliamentarians of the Arctic Region includes eight nations (the Nordic countries, Canada, Russia and the United States) as well as the European Parliament. Permanent participants include key organisations of indigenous peoples in the region: the Aleut Corporation, the Arctic Athabaskan Council, the Gwich'in Tribal Council, the Inuit Circumpolar Conference, the Saami Council and the Russian Association of Indigenous Peoples of the North (RAIPON). The observers in the Arctic Council (Britain, China, France, Germany, India, Italy, Japan, the Netherlands, Poland, South Korea, Singapore and Spain) and other parliamentary organisations in the region can also take part in activities.
The Speaker's Council appoints the Finnish delegation to the Conference of Parliamentarians for each electoral term. The delegation has six members and a secretariat in Parliament's International Department.
Delegation members are Katri Kulmuni (Chair), Johanna Ojala-Niemelä (Vice Chair), Tiina Elovaara, Kari Kulmala, Mari-Leena Talvitie and Mirja Vehkaperä.
The Conference meets every other year. Between conferences work is directed by the ten-member Standing Committee. The Finnish delegation elects one member and one deputy member to the Standing Committee. Its most important task is to prepare and monitor matters on the Conference's agenda. It also promotes cooperation in the Arctic region at the national and international level. The Standing Committee generally meets three times a year. Finland's representative on the Standing Committee is Johanna Ojala-Niemelä (Social Democratic Party), with Mirja Vehkaperä (Centre Party) as her deputy.