Today, for the first time, the UK Government has set out its approach to the Arctic. The policy towards the Arctic is set out in the Arctic Policy Framework - Adapting To Change: UK policy towards the Arctic.
The document, which was put together with input from the Arctic Research Programme, sets out how the UK will continue to support and respect the sovereign rights of the Arctic States; the peoples who live and work in the Arctic; and the unique and fragile natural environment. At the same time it outlines the UK’s legitimate interests in the region, our priorities for practical action and our willingness to show leadership in appropriate areas.
Foreign Office Minister Mark Simmonds said:
“The Arctic is one of the most dynamic and influential regions of the world, despite its remoteness from large population centres and its often challenging geographical and climatic conditions. It is on the frontier of global climate change impacts.
“Adapting To Change: UK policy towards the Arctic sets out for the first time the detail of the UK’s interests in the Arctic, how we will work with Arctic States and the wider international community, and what expertise the UK can offer to help meet some of the long-term challenges facing the region.”
Science and Universities Minister David Willetts said:
“Understanding what is driving the rapid changes affecting the Arctic environment is an urgent scientific challenge; the impact of these changes are of global significance."
"As set out in this new framework, the UK will promote greater understanding of the Arctic through international scientific collaboration and will promote policy development on the basis of sound evidence. Co-operation, respect and appropriate leadership will be central to the UK’s approach when working with the Arctic states."
Adapting To Change recognises the role the NERC Arctic Research Programme has to play in the UK's commitment to the region. The report states:
"The UK’s commitment to Arctic science is highlighted by the Natural Environment Research Council’s (NERC) £15m Arctic Research Programme which is investigating environmental and climate issues in the region."
Notes for Editors
Adapting To Change: UK policy towards the Arctic is available here.
The publication of ‘Adapting To Change: UK policy towards the Arctic’ follows the Government’s response to the Environmental Audit Committee’s report into Protecting the Arctic, which was published in January 2013.