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Environment Environment

Protect polar regions

Last updated: 12:37pm 15 January 2019

We will champion greater conservation co-operation within international bodies, protecting rare species, the polar regions and international waters.

Conservative Party Manifesto 2017, p.40

Our verdict

The polar regions surround the North and South Poles, so we’re talking about areas within the Arctic Ocean in the north and Antarctica in the south. This pledge is part of the government’s plan to protect the global environment. It is important to clarify that this pledge is an international one – the government promised to support co-operation within international bodies in their attempt to protect rare species. So, has any progress been made?

As part of its stated ambition of “protecting the global environment”, on April 4 2018, the government published a policy paper, Beyond the ice: UK policy towards the Arctic.

So far, the government has opened the British Antarctic Survey innovation centre (the Aurora Innovation Centre) in 2017 and has more recently combined forces with Germany to fund Arctic science. 

In terms of protecting the Arctic environment, the ban on microbeads in cosmetics and other personal care products has gone some way to reducing marine litter.

In October 2018, the government published a statement titled Exploring Common Solutions for the Arctic Environment as part of its contribution to the Arctic Environment Ministers’ Meeting in Finland. The statement outlines numerous other UK activities, initiatives and research projects, which contribute to the aim of ensuring a sustainable future for the Arctic region.

The statement to the Arctic Environment Ministers’ Meeting meets the requirement to champion “conservation co-operation within international bodies” and we think the measures it outlines warrant giving this policy a status of ‘done’. We’ll continue monitoring government efforts in this area and will consult with independent organisations to verify the validity of this verdict. Follow this policy for updates.

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