newsroom - Arctic study aims to boost Scotland's t

Arctic study aims to boost Scotland's ties to northern neighbours

Mon, 24 Jun 2019 09:13:00 BST

A new study highlighting opportunities to develop a closer relationship with Scotland’s Arctic neighbours has been published by Glasgow Caledonian University (GCU).

As well as the strong cultural and environmental links with our northern neighbours, more than a quarter of Scotland’s exports are sent to the Arctic region.

The study, which was commissioned by the Scottish Government and co-written by academics at GCU and the University of the Highlands and Islands, will inform a new Arctic Policy Framework expected to be launched by Scottish Ministers later this year.

“Scotland is one of the Arctic’s nearest neighbours,” says the study’s author Professor Tahseen Jafry, Director of the Centre for Climate Justice at the University.

“We’ve completed the first comprehensive overview of the many ways in which we are connected through our cultural links, our economies and our environment.

“Climate change is by far the most serious threat to the Arctic, and we know the changes in the north will contribute to rising sea levels and have a direct impact here too.  Last week, the First Minister joined us in Glasgow at a major gathering of climate experts from around the world and told us to embrace the opportunities which will be created as we tackle climate change.   One of these opportunities is seeing Scotland develop its relationship with the Arctic community and strengthen its role as a near-Arctic state.”

“As well as our economic connections through fisheries, oil and gas exploration, renewable energy and tourism, Scotland shares a commitment to social justice and we face similar challenges in meeting the needs of dispersed rural populations.

The report also explores how the Scottish Government could establish an Arctic Unit to coordinate national and international involvement and how Scotland as a whole might benefit from an Arctic Research Cluster to pool academic research at universities across the country.

Professor Jafry said: “We found many examples of expertise and innovation happening in Scotland which is of benefit to our Arctic neighbours. These range from building the first hydrogen ferry, to satellite remote sensing of the sea ice and bringing renewable energy to remote communities. By coordinating policy, research and economic development we could create a great deal of mutual benefit.”

The publication of the study is being promoted through the #ArcticScotland social media campaign to raise public awareness about Scotland’s Arctic links.

Professor Jafry said: “We found so many interesting facts and figures through our study, we thought it would be both fun and educational to use them to get people to engage with the issues in our report.

“We will be sharing lots of facts and quizzes on the University’s Twitter account @CaledonianNews over the next couple of weeks and hopefully it will get people thinking and talking about our Arctic connections.”