International relations

Policy actions  2 of 3

Arctic Connections

Scotland is the world’s northernmost non-Arctic nation.

Connections between Scotland and the Arctic, however, go much further than geographical proximity and deep historic ties. We share many features and challenges, often stemming from rurality and low population density. By working together and pooling our expertise, we can develop joint solutions that improve the wellbeing and resilience of our communities.

Links forged through history continue to spur rich collaborations across a range of areas, from invigorating rural economies and protecting our natural resources, to promoting sustainable economic growth and cultivating cultural heritage.

Arctic countries are major trading and research partners for Scotland, and we have long worked together through international cooperation programmes.

Arctic Connections, Scotland’s first Arctic policy framework, offers a prospectus for knowledge and policy exchange in the many areas where Scotland and the Arctic share the same ambitions. For instance:

  • climate action and renewable energy solutions
  • rural healthcare and connectivity
  • science, research and innovation
  • sustainable marine economy
  • indigenous languages and cultural heritage

The policy framework sets out relevant Scottish expertise and encourages greater mutual learning between Scotland and the Arctic.

With climate change and biodiversity loss posing a devastating threat to the wellbeing of the Arctic region and of our planet, the need for even closer cooperation has never been greater. For this reason, while promoting neighbourly engagement with the Arctic, we also appeal to the wider international community to increase collective action, accelerate decarbonisation and jointly build a sustainable future for all.

We will continue to promote Scotland as the international partner of choice for our Arctic neighbours, opening new opportunities for bilateral and multilateral collaboration for mutual benefit.

Arctic Connections Fund

We have established a fund to help Scottish organisations and communities collaborate with partners in the Arctic. It promotes exchange of expertise on shared issues and aims to raise awareness of common ambitions. 

See a list of successful projects for the

Arctic webinar series

Between October 2020 and March 2021, we promoted a webinar series to encourage dialogue and exchange of knowledge between Scotland and the Arctic around some of the main themes of the policy framework. Topics included rural repopulation, circular economy, rural wellbeing, Indigenous languages and climate resilience.

Recordings of all webinars are available to view in the Arctic Connections playlist on YouTube.


Email: Craig Smith, Arctic Policy Lead,

Twitter: @ScotGovInter

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