When the Arctic Environmental Protection Strategy (AEPS) was adopted by the eight Arctic states in 1991, several European countries, including the United Kingdom, were accorded “observer” status. This status was retained when the Arctic Council subsumed the AEPS in 1996. The UK attends meetings of Ministers and Senior Arctic Officials (SAOs) to the Arctic Council, and British scientists often contribute to assessments conducted by the Council’s working groups. In 2002 the UK and the Netherlands jointly sponsored a highly successful Arctic policy workshop attended by all Arctic states and Permanent Participants to the Arctic Council. The UK has shipping, economic, environmental and research interests in both the Arctic and Antarctic. In the nineteenth century and earlier British vessels searched for the fabled Northwest Passage and many places in the North American Arctic are named after British explorers. In 2013 the UK published its perspective and policy toward the Arctic stressing the impacts within the region and globally of climate change. In 2014 the House of Lords, which with the House of Commons makes up the Parliament of Great Britain, established an Arctic Committee to explore the UK’s Arctic interests and the changing place of the region in the globe. As a result of its long-standing interests and engagement in the Arctic Council, AAC prepared a short brief to the committee.
Download the brief here.
For further information visit Arctic Committee website.