Country: United Kingdom
Delegate Name: Aanya Dogra
Special Political Committee
Arctic Circle Resource Exploitation
Forest Hills Northern High School
Recently, the Arctic Circle has been facing economic and environmental controversy. Many countries want to get their hands on the resources available in the Arctic. However, some would like to do this at the expense of the Arctic environment and the authority of the Arctic States which include the US, Russia, Canada, Norway, Denmark, Finland, Sweden, and Iceland. The UK respects all 8 arctic states as well as the indigenous and has allied with all but Russia.
The United Kingdom is aware of these threats to the Arctic and supports the exploitation of resources, but only if done safely. The UK is not an Arctic State yet is one of the Arctic’s northernmost neighbors and “[has] always been a world leader in polar affairs where British views have long held sway” (Beyond the Ice UK policy towards the Arctic) and is involved through the economy, security, the environment, and international cooperation. We have contributed about £15m to research and development. The UK has promoted defense in the Arctic due to the pressure of Moscow’s military presence. In 2018 we deployed “3,000 troops as a part of 40,000 strong NATO training” (Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson) to protect the Arctic and areas around it.
The UK supports the exploitation of oil and gas reserves in the Arctic because of the benefits to its economy, but the UK also has environmental concerns and regulations. The 2015 Paris Climate Change Agreement, the Glasgow climate pact, and the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are some of these regulations the UK has committed to abide by. They have also donated towards science in the Arctic. In September 2017, the UK and Canada signed a 10-year MoU that will promote collaboration in areas of research regarding Arctic technology and innovation. The UK’s Adapting To Change UK policy towards the Arctic highlights the UK’s dedication to abiding by these three principles: Respect, Leadership, and Cooperation.
The UK acknowledges that resource exploitation and environmental concerns may not always go hand in hand. However, doing so would benefit countries economically and environmentally. The UK would like everyone to support the jurisdiction of the Arctic States. We are willing to explore mutual arrangements with other Arctic and non-Arctic regions, especially as the Arctic Council Agreement on Enhancing Scientific Cooperation is implemented.