Arctic Yearbook 2014 - Page 388

388 Arctic Yearbook 2014 mention the AC’s Search and Rescue agreement, though not its more recent agreement on oilspills. It commits the UK to seek membership in the Arctic Regional Hydrographic Commission so that its hydrographic expertise can be applied. Recognizing a likely increase in Arctic tourism, the UK will refine its system of online advice to travellers about hazards, and will discuss safety issues with the industry including arrangements for vessels to help each other. The short section on fishing repeats the importance of scientific study and expresses support for the system of Regional Fisheries Management Organizations (RFMOs) which should be best placed to ensure responsible and sustainable fishing. On bioprospecting, the sole point covered is the UK’s respect for the Nagoya Protocol – which deals with local sharing of the benefits of any new discoveries – and its intention to make sure its companies conform with it. The section closes with general remarks about the range of British commercial expertise, as seen inter alia in the fact that Lloyds of London launched a report offering advice for business in the Arctic in 2012. It ends with yet another advertisement for British science: a ‘box’ describing the British Antarctic Survey’s leadership in the ‘Polar View’ consortium providing real-time information on the state of polar ice. Nothing in this section could be construed as supporting irresponsible and non-sustainable commercial development, but the environmentally-motivated criticisms of it are also possible to understand. First, the UK stance on new regulation is relatively conservative, explicitly accepting only a new Polar Code for shipping, while it also explicitly rejects ‘fundamental changes’ to the rules either for shipping or fisheries. The idea of business self-regulation, or even the existing concept of Corporate Social Responsibility, remains absent. Perhaps more disturbing, however, for some readers will have been the general laisser-faire attitude implied and the relative shallowness – or at least, selectivity – of the analysis. The limitation of the energy discussion to gas, to offshore production, and to Norway (where the government actually decided just before publication of the UK document to halt exploration in a number of sensitive offshore fields38) avoids tackling more contentious dimensions of the topic, while the tourism and bio-prospecting sections also skirt the edges of the issues. (Bearing in mind the troubling experiences and hot debates generated by Antarctic tourism,39 is an improved advisory service really the key to managing tourist access to the Arctic?). No facts are provided on the actual involvement of British companies, for instance, in oil and gas prospecting, in shipping operation and insurance, or in processing Arctic investments generally, while the selected case-studies are less than impressive.40 Evaluation: Comparisons, Concepts and Norms When attempting a broader evaluation of the UK paper, perhaps the first question should be: is it a ‘strategy’? In a perceptive comment on the day of its publication, Professor Klaus Dodds from the Royal Holloway blog team on Geopolitics & Security41 suggested that the looser term ‘policy framework’ was chosen in order to de-dramatize the statement and in particular, not to alienate states within the Arctic who might be sensitive about ‘outsider’ involvement. The explanation is compelling given that the form, length and content of the paper are close enough to those of other European ‘strategies’ to have merited attaching the strategy label to it if so wished. (There have been cases, notably in Swedish policy-forming, of avoiding the s-word in Bailes