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UK reaffirms commitment to Arctic security and prosperity

The UK’s commitment to international collaboration in the Arctic will be the focus for Americas Minister David Rutley on his first visit to Alaska

  • Americas Minister reaffirms UK’s commitment to Arctic security and prosperity, and highlights action to tackle climate change on visit to Alaska  
  • David Rutley will speak at the Arctic Encounter Symposium in Anchorage with a focus on supporting a sustainable future for a changing Arctic  
  • Minister is deepening UK ties with states across the US, building on £315 billion a year trade partnership that supports millions of jobs on both sides of the Atlantic  

The UK’s commitment to international collaboration in the Arctic to tackle pressing regional challenges such as climate change will be the focus for the UK’s Americas Minister as he begins a two-day visit to Alaska today (Thursday 11 April).  

In his first trip to the northern-most US state, David Rutley, who is also the UK’s Minister for the Polar Regions, will attend the Arctic Encounter Symposium in Anchorage where he will explain how the UK is playing a leadership role in working with Arctic States to support and strengthen Arctic security and prosperity and build on the UK’s strong relationships with regional partners.  

David Rutley, Minister for the Americas, Caribbean and Overseas Territories and Minister for the Polar Regions, said:  

The Arctic matters to the UK and we are ensuring that the UK matters to the Arctic. As close neighbours we share priorities over climate, security and prosperity and we are committed to playing a key role in the region.  

On my visits to states across the US, I have seen the strength of the bond that exists between America and the UK, and on my first trip to Alaska I am looking forward to discussing how we can work together to combat climate change and enhance our trade, technological and cultural partnerships. 

The UK set out its close relationship with the region in its refreshed Arctic Policy Framework in February 2023.  This sets out the close links between the UK and the Arctic, and how the UK can play an appropriate leadership role that responds to significant changes in the region and builds on the strong links we already enjoy, including with the US.

During his visit, Minister Rutley will reaffirm the UK’s commitment to combat the geopolitical and environmental challenges affecting the Arctic, including through increased Russian militarisation in the region and the threat posed by climate change.  

Melting sea ice will also make it possible for a wider range of actors to access the region, which has the potential to increase tensions. The Minister will reaffirm the UK’s vision for the Arctic as a place of high co-operation and low tension, and welcome the progress made to resume technical engagement in the Arctic Council.

The Arctic is warming four times faster than the rest of the planet, and the number of wildfires in the region has more than tripled since 2018. These changes are felt most deeply by people in the region, but they also affect the UK’s weather, natural environment and resilience. 

During his visit, the Minister will get a chance to see first-hand the impact that the planet’s warming climate is having in the Arctic when he treks on the Matanuska Glacier, and will also highlight how the UK is working with regional partners to tackle climate change.  

While in Anchorage, Minister Rutley will also meet Lieutenant Governor Nancy Dahlstrom and Senator Lisa Murkowski, where he will explore opportunities to deepen economic and cultural ties between the UK and Alaska.  

His trip to Alaska continues a programme of visits to states across America where Minister Rutley has championed the UK as a great investment and business partner and highlighted the unrivalled security and defence ties between the two allies.  

With the US and UK already having more than $1 trillion invested in each other’s economies, it is a relationship that presents huge opportunities for people and businesses on both sides of the Atlantic - supporting Prime Minister Rishi Sunak’s priority to grow the UK’s economy and create better paying jobs.  

The UK supports more jobs in America than any other country, with more than 1.2 million people working for British companies, while almost 1.5 million people do the same for American companies in the UK.   

The UK and Alaska share a goods trading relationship that is worth $50 million a year, and world-renowned British businesses such as AstraZeneca and Barclays support jobs for almost 2,000 Alaskans.  

Background:  

  • Minister Rutley gave a speech on the UK’s Arctic Policy Framework at an Arctic Reception at the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office in London in February 2024.
Channel website: https://www.gov.uk/government/organisations/foreign-commonwealth-office

Original article link: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/uk-reaffirms-commitment-to-arctic-security-and-prosperity

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