Emerging UK Arctic Policy

Duncan Depledge

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


How is the United Kingdom engaging with changing geopolitics of the Arctic in the twenty-first century? This article considers the UK's contemporary interest(s) in the Arctic at a time of unprecedented change in the northern latitudes of our planet. In particular, it focuses on the ongoing emergence of UK Arctic policy as an assemblage of processes involving various actors—government officials, scientists and other academics, environmental campaigners, journalists and the private sector—which not only define UK interests but also delimit what the term ‘Arctic’ means to, and demands of, the UK. The focus of the article is directed at the recent activities by the Ministry of Defence, the House of Commons Environmental Audit Committee and the related work of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office to develop an Arctic Policy Framework, drawing on official government documents and a series of interviews conducted between 2010 and 2013 for evidence. The article concludes with the author's thoughts on tensions and contradictions that remain in the UK's policy towards the Arctic and the implications this might have at a time when global interest in the Arctic is growing rapidly.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1445-1457
JournalInternational Affairs
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 13 Nov 2013


  • United Kingdom
  • Arctic
  • Strategy

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