Launching Scotland’s first Arctic Policy Framework in Orkney, Fiona Hyslop highlighted past collaboration and joint exploration, while looking ahead to how Scottish expertise on Arctic issues can lead to further work with Arctic partners in the future. Countries with territories in the Arctic are already major trade partners for Scotland, accounting for around 27.5% of our overseas exports in 2017. They are also the origin of nearly half of all foreign direct investments in Scotland.
The framework sets ambitions for Scotland across the Arctic while encouraging academia, civic society and government organisations to have a greater level of collaboration with international counterparts.
Speaking at the Orkney Research and Innovation Campus in Stromness, Ms Hyslop said:
”Scotland remains an outward-looking European nation, committed to positive relationships with both our European neighbours and those further afield, despite the uncertainty surrounding the UK’s exit from the EU.
“Scottish-Arctic partnerships have intensified over recent years, acknowledging that international challenges require international solutions. The launch of Arctic Connections creates opportunities to take forward key environmental and climate change work and strengthen trade and investment links in areas such as renewable energy as well as promoting Scotland as a well-placed marine transport and logistics hub. We will also use this launch to share Scotland’s world-leading expertise in areas of shared interest such as safety commissioning and decarbonisation.
“As part of our offer to the High North, we are establishing a fund to support people to people links to help communities build Arctic relations and encourage Scottish universities to participate even closer with the University of the Arctic. We will promote knowledge exchange within digital health care and education in remote areas and advance our cultural connections.
“The Arctic Policy Framework launch is the starting point in a new exciting era for Scottish-Arctic relations. Our commitment to the region is clear and I am determined that Scotland remains an active partner in facing both the challenges and opportunities our ever-changing world presents.”
UArctic is mentioned various times in the Arctic Policy Framework in the context of supporting Scottish higher education institutions and their collaboration in Arctic research. In particular, the plans include promoting discussions between UArctic and the Scottish institutions, and fostering their involvement in UArctic’s north2north mobility programme. UArctic is also presented as a case study on page 14 of the report.