Arctic Yearbook 2014 - Page 385

385 Arctic Yearbook 2014   analyzing and reacting to climate change, and to have expertise in its governmental, scientific, industrial and NGO (non-governmental organizations) sectors that can help with Arctic solutions. Under ‘cooperation’ there is a short statement of the UK’s intent to go on working together with the Arctic States, indigenous peoples ‘and others’: there are no references (at this stage) to specific institutions and their roles. The introductory part of the document then closes with three pages of information on the UK’s role in Arctic science: a choice that becomes understandable when we are told that this is an area in which ‘the UK excels and has an outstanding international reputation’. Details are given of the numbers (more than 500) of UK specialists working and publishing on Arctic issues; UK national funding for Arctic research (over £50 million in the last decade); the UK scientific base on Svalbard; UK assets (ships, aircraft etc.) available for polar research, and the relevance of British Antarctic expertise. The importance of science as a basis for understanding and policy is stressed, and it is said that this work will remain ‘central’ to the UK’s contribution and its interaction with other Arctic actors. The rest of the document has three parts dealing respectively with the human, environmental, and commercial dimensions. Perhaps significantly, they receive four, six, and eight pages respectively. Human Dimension Belying its title, this section serves mainly to explain the UK’s stance on Arctic security and governance, with a view to an Arctic that is ‘safe and secure; well governed in conjunction with indigenous peoples and in line with international law’. First, the importance of maintaining security and stability is stressed and the UK pledges itself to contribute through various local/bilateral defence and security cooperation arrangements – including visits for military coldweather training – and the Arctic Security Forces Roundtable forum (see above). It is said that ‘the role of NATO will remain central’ –without further explanation. When it comes to general governance solutions, the coastal Arctic states are first mentioned and it is noted that in the Ilulissat declaration of 2008,26 they committed themselves to peaceful solutions within international law for all outstanding territorial claims: an approach that the UK supports. The Arctic Council is then commended for successfully promoting cooperation especially on ‘environmental and sustainable development issues’. The UK has used its AC Observership actively, especially in order to participate in the Council’s six working groups (a whole page, p.15, is later devoted to examples of this from 2004-2013). When issues arise that have repercussions outside the Arctic, the UK recommends addressing them through dialogue with interested powers – who can be engaged both through the AC itself and ‘other fora’ – and notes the relevance of the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS). ‘The UK considers moving towards a specific Arctic Treaty at this time neither necessary nor beneficial.’ The section goes on to provide details (with a map) of the indigenous peoples of the Arctic, and to note that they vary both in their views and in their opportunities to participate in local decisions. The UK will uphold their right ‘to be heard at the decision-making level of the Arctic Council’. After providing examples of UK work within AC working groups (as mentioned), the section concludes with an explanation of the role of the Scott Polar Research Institute, and a case-study where one of its senior researchers (actually a Canadian) worked with Inuit in Igloolik The Arctic’s Nearest Neighbour