Orkney Islands Council Leader James Stockan today welcomed an initiative designed to strengthen and build new links between Scotland and nations in the Arctic.
The Scottish Government’s Arctic Policy Framework was launched at the Orkney Research and Innovation Campus in Stromness.
“There could be no more appropriate place than Orkney for the launch event,” Councillor Stockan said.
“Our islands have long been seen as a gateway to the Arctic. The Orcadian explorer John Rae discovered the final link of the Northwest Passage. At one time three-quarters of the Hudson’s Bay Company’s workforce originated from Orkney. And during the Second World War, Orkney served as an important departure point for the Arctic Convoys that battled ferocious bombardment to deliver vital supplies to the north of Russia.
“Today we look to build on those historic links – with Orkney playing a pivotal role in support of this important Government initiative.”
The launch event for ‘Arctic Connections’ was staged in partnership by the Scottish Government, the Council and Highlands and Islands Enterprise, with the key-note address given by Fiona Hyslop MSP, Cabinet Secretary for Culture, Tourism and External Affairs.
Councillor Stockan added: “All involved are aware that this is a critical time to build new ties with nations to the north of us.
“Our ambition in Orkney is to contribute to the future prosperity of other communities as well as our own.
“Pioneering research and development work in renewable energy and hydrogen generation is taking place here and will play a vital role in helping to address climate change – a grave threat to the Arctic.
“From Stromness we could look out today over the safe and sheltered waters of Scapa Flow – a natural gateway to the Arctic and an asset of major importance in strengthening Scotland’s ties with the region.”