Skip to main content

Call for Evidence

Call for evidence

The International Relations and Defence Committee is undertaking an inquiry into the Arctic.

This is a public call for written evidence to be submitted to the Committee. We will use the written evidence to shape our inquiry and inform our report. We would be grateful for responses to some or all of the questions set out below by 23:59 on Sunday, 14 May. The process for making submissions is set out in the Annex.


The Arctic is a region of increasing diplomatic, security and economic interest to the UK and many other states.

While the Arctic has historically been an area of comparatively low tension, the strategic context is rapidly evolving. Rising sea temperatures are making the region more accessible to shipping. Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine has led to the effective suspension of multilateral cooperation through the Arctic Council. At the same time, Finland and Sweden’s accession to NATO may increase the role of the Alliance in the defence of the Arctic and the High North. Strategic competition in the Arctic is rising, and in the view of the UK Government “the era of Arctic exceptionalism is ending”.

The UK Government has recently updated its Arctic strategy. In February 2023, it published a new Arctic Policy Framework, setting out the principles that will guide the UK’s approach to the region. This sits alongside the 2022 Ministry of Defence policy paper outlining the UK’s Defence Contribution in the High North.  

Our inquiry will explore the Government’s strategy towards the Arctic in this shifting diplomatic and security context, and assess whether the UK has the necessary capabilities and resources to achieve its objectives.

 Areas of interest

 The evolving security environment in the Arctic

1. How do changes in the security situation in the Arctic impact on UK security?

2. What is Russia’s strategy with regard to the Arctic and High North, and how should the UK and its allies respond?

3. What is China’s strategy towards the Arctic and what are the implications for the UK and its allies?

4. What is the UK and NATO’s role in the Arctic, and how is this affected by Finland and Sweden’s accession to the Alliance?

Economic opportunities and risks

5. Will the opening up of the Arctic lead to new economic and commercial opportunities for the UK? What are the risks, and how should they be mitigated?

6. How can the UK Government and British business take advantage of new opportunities in the Arctic in a way that takes those risks into account?

UK strategy towards the Arctic

7. Has the UK set the right strategic priorities in its Arctic Policy Framework? Are the resources allocated to the UK’s Arctic strategy adequate and proportionate?

8. How should the UK pursue its long-term strategic aspiration to restore the Arctic as a region of “high cooperation and low tension”?

9. Has the UK set the right priorities for its Defence Contribution in the High North? Does the UK have the necessary capabilities to deliver on its priorities, including:

       a. Protecting critical national infrastructure

       b. Ensuring the observance of international law and the freedom to navigate and operate across the region

       c. Delivering defence research and development relating to the Arctic

       d. Countering malign and destabilising behaviours

10. How can the UK increase its diplomatic influence in the region and work effectively with Arctic states?

11. How can the UK support the rights of the region’s indigenous peoples?

Arctic governance and the future of multilateral cooperation

12. What is the impact of the effective suspension of the Arctic Council for the governance of the region? Are there other governance mechanisms that could be leveraged? What are the prospects for multilateral cooperation on issues relating to the Arctic and High North?


Submissions should be made online by clicking the “Start” button below.

This is a public call for evidence. Please bring this document to the attention of groups and individuals who may not have received a copy direct, including those who have not previously engaged with Parliament.

The deadline for making a written submission is 23.59 on Sunday 14 May 2023.

There is no requirement to answer all questions in your submission and concise submissions are preferred. Responses should not be longer than five sides of A4 in size 12 font. There is no requirement to answer all questions in your submission. Paragraphs should be numbered.

All submissions made through the online form will be acknowledged automatically by email.

A submission accepted by the committee as written evidence may be published online at any stage. When published, it becomes subject to parliamentary copyright and is protected by parliamentary privilege. The Committee cannot accept any submissions that have not been prepared specifically in response to this call for evidence, or that have been published elsewhere.

Once your submission has been accepted as evidence and published you may publicise or publish it yourself. In doing so you must indicate that it was prepared for the Committee, and you should be aware that your publication or re-publication of your evidence may not be protected by parliamentary privilege.

Personal contact details will be removed from evidence before publication but will be retained by the Committee Office and may be used for specific purposes relating to the committee’s work—for instance to seek additional information.

Substantive communications to the committee about the inquiry should be addressed to the clerk of the committee, whether or not they are intended to constitute a formal written submission. You can email for any questions.

Diversity comes in many forms and hearing a range of different perspectives means that committees are better informed and can more effectively scrutinise public policy and legislation. Committees can undertake their role most effectively when they hear from a wide range of individuals, sectors or groups in society affected by a particular policy or piece of legislation. We encourage anyone with experience or expertise of an issue under investigation by a Select Committee to share their views with the Committee, with the full knowledge that their views have value and are welcome.

You can follow the progress of the inquiry at:

This call for written evidence has now closed.

Go back to The Arctic Inquiry