Press release

Respecting the Arctic, promoting UK interests

This was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

New UK report shows that respect for Arctic states, local people and the environment is fundamental to Arctic engagement

Boat travelling through ice

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 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.

Further information

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Published 17 October 2013