'A Model Observer? The UK and the changing geopolitics of the Arctic Region'

Biosciences NG08
Life and Environmental Sciences, Research
Wednesday 19th February 2014 (16:15-17:15)
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Part of the School Seminar Series

Speaker: Professor Klaus Dodds (Royal Holloway University of London)

Host: Sara Fregonese

This talk reflects on growing UK interest in the Arctic, especially in the last 3-5 years. Taking as its starting point the recently released Arctic Policy Framework document, it considers how the UK government has attempted to represent and mobilise a particular view of the Arctic as demanding of attention while at the same time seeking to reassure Arctic states that it is respectful of their sovereignty and sovereign interests. Issues such as oil and gas exploration on the one hand and the fate of UK citizens (following the arrest of a Greenpeace vessel last autumn in 'Russian waters') on the one hand reveal that being a 'model observer' is not straight forward. More generally, 2013 in particular, has been a significant one in terms of the reformation of the Arctic Council and inter-governmental relations in the Arctic region, and the UK's relationship with the Arctic along side China, Japan and Korea is increasingly being scrutinised by Arctic states and indigenous peoples.