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Lords committee launches new inquiry into the UK’s security, diplomatic and economic interests in the Arctic

Thursday 30 March, 2023


The cross-party House of Lords International Relations and Defence Committee has today published its call for evidence as it launches a new inquiry into the Arctic region.

The Committee, chaired by the Rt Hon Lord Ashton of Hyde, will examine the implications of improved access to the Arctic as a result of climate change, and what this means in the context of rising geopolitical tensions. The inquiry will look at whether the UK Government has set the right strategic priorities, including as articulated in its Arctic Policy Framework and policy paper on the UK’s defence contribution in the High North. It will also explore the contribution the UK and NATO can make to security in the Arctic.

Lord Ashton of Hyde, Committee Chair said:

“The UK is the Arctic’s nearest neighbour and developments in the region are critical to UK interests. The strategic and environmental context in the Arctic is changing rapidly and the UK needs to be ready to respond to the diplomatic and security challenges this poses.

“We are seeking to look closely at the UK Government’s aims in the Arctic, and whether it has the capabilities and resources to fulfil them. The Committee will look at how the UK is delivering on its strategic priorities, including working effectively with Arctic states, upholding international law and freedom of the seas, and supporting NATO’s expanding role in the Arctic.”

The Committee is seeking evidence on issues including:

  • The future of multilateral governance in the Arctic region
  • Russia’s military and economic strategy with regard to the Arctic
  • How NATO’s role in the Arctic and High North will change following the accession of Sweden and Finland to the Alliance
  • How new economic opportunities in the Arctic can be exploited while avoiding environmental damage
  • The UK’s strategic priorities set out in the Government’s Arctic Policy Framework
  • UK capabilities and resources to contribute to defence in the High North and Arctic.

Read the full call for evidence and find out how to make a submission. The deadline for the submission of written evidence is 23.59 on Sunday, 14 May 2023.

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