5. Organisation of the co-operation

5.1. The Council of Ministers for Justice Affairs and the Committee of Senior Officials

The Nordic Council of Ministers for Justice Affairs (MR-JUST) has overall responsibility for the co-operation. At their annual meeting, the ministers discuss topical political matters of Nordic interest and decide whether to initiate co-operation in new areas of the law or otherwise pursue Nordic solutions.
The Committee of Senior Officials for Justice Affairs (EK-JUST) comprises the senior officials responsible for legislative and justice issues from the Nordic justice ministries. The Committee prepares and follows up on the annual meeting of the justice ministers. The Committee also initiates new projects. At meetings of the Committee of Senior Officials, the countries also exchange information on new legislation, case law and other topical legal issues.
The Council of Ministers for Justice Affairs and the Committee of Senior Officials have the power to establish permanent or ad hoc working groups in special areas. In such cases, the Committee drafts mandates and draws up budgets for the working groups.
The Committee also works with the Nordic Council of Ministers’ other committees of senior officials.

5.2.   The Presidency of the Nordic Council of Ministers

At the Committee of Senior Officials’ third meeting of the year, the next country to hold the annual Presidency of the Nordic Council of Ministers presents its provisional plans for activities in the coming year, for discussion by the Committee.
The incoming Presidency also presents planned projects, seminars, reports, etc., including their financial parameters.

5.3. Budget

At its first meeting of the year, the Committee of Senior Officials discusses the budget for the subsequent calendar year, sets targets and prioritises activities.
The Committee of Senior Officials’ budget discussions must be completed in sufficient time for them to be taken into account in the preparation of the overall budget for the Nordic Council of Ministers.

5.4. Project funding

Within the framework of the annual budget, the Council of Ministers of Justice or the Committee of Senior Officials can fund conferences, seminars, research, studies etc., that are of particular relevance to justice affairs.
The Committee of Senior Officials complies with the overall guidelines for the use of funds from the Nordic Council of Ministers’ project budget.
Funds can be granted to external projects that, following a successful application and evaluation process, are deemed to meet the criteria for “Nordic benefit”.
In addition, the Committee of Senior Officials has earmarked funds for activities within the framework of co-operation with Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania (see in item 5.6 below).
The Nordic Council of Ministers’ standard terms and conditions for project funding are used for the allocation of project funds by the justice co-operation.
The results and outcomes of projects are reported on the Council of Ministers’ form for status reports. Recipients of funding for projects and other initiatives are also requested to submit a brief description of the results and outcomes.
When relevant, results are presented at the annual meeting of the justice ministers.

5.5. Dialogue with the Nordic Council

The Nordic justice ministers seek dialogue with the Nordic Council on matters of common interest, including drafting and revising the programme for co-operation.

5.6. Co-operation with the Baltic States

The Nordic justice ministers meet with their colleagues from Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania at least once every two years. A contact group has been established (The Nordic Baltic Contact Group) consisting of civil servants that meets as and when necessary (but at least once a year) and has its own mandate. The chair rotates between the countries. The Secretariat of the Nordic Council of Ministers provides the secretariat function.
This co-operation is based on the perception that close regional co-operation is important, both in the EU and in relation to third countries.

5.7. Other Nordic co-operation on legal matters

The sector has three working groups comprising officials from the Nordic countries and dealing with family law, criminal matters and trafficking of human beings.
The working groups can apply to EK-JUST for funding to hold meetings and submit follow-up reports from meetings where this is relevant.
In addition to the co-operation in the Nordic Council of Ministers, there is an ongoing practical co-operation within the whole of the justice sector.

5.8. Implementing inter-sectoral strategies

The Nordic Council of Ministers has decided that a gender-equality perspective, a children and young people’s rights perspective and a sustainability perspective must be integrated into all of its work. These perspectives must be applied when evaluating funding applications.

5.8.1. The UN Agenda 2030 and the sustainability perspective

All projects or initiatives that are supported by the sector, where relevant and when doing so will generate added value, should contribute to achieving the UN’s Agenda 2030 goals, including Goal 16: Peace, justice and strong institutions, with access to the rule of law for all.  

5.8.2. The gender-equality perspective

Many of the areas prioritised within the framework of the co-operation programme have a clear gender-equality perspective. One concrete example of this is the sector’s work to combat sex crimes and human trafficking. The gender-equality perspective is also an important aspect of the work on family law, which is also covered by the sector.

5.8.3. Children and young people’s rights

The children and young people’s perspective relates to issues concerned with preventing and fighting crime, e.g. online sexual abuse. Family law is also included in this work, in cases where the interests of the child are of crucial importance.
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