Rachael Lorna Johnstone
As Scotland moves increasingly to assert its position on the international stage, this paper asks whether Scotland should develop its own Arctic strategy, comparable to those developed by the eight Arctic states and if so, what the contents of such a strategy might be. This paper will introduce the main reasons why Scotland might pursue an Arctic strategy, taking into account its international audience, its domestic audience and, not of least importance, the audience in Westminster. It will identify Scotland's distinct historical, social, economic and political interests in the Arctic and show how these differ from the United Kingdom. Some potential contents for a Scottish Arctic strategy are outlined, with an emphasis on governance and cooperation, economic development, and environmental and scientific cooperation. The paper concludes that there are both costs and benefits in publishing a formal Arctic strategy, but nevertheless, a coherent, unified and holistic approach to the Arctic is wanting in Scotland and the Scottish government should begin by establishing a dedicated Arctic division within its international department to conduct further research into what Scotland can offer the Arctic and what opportunities the Arctic presents.
Rachael Lorna Johnstone is Associate Professor of Law, University of Akureyri, Iceland.