Tuesday 1 February 2011


Very interesting case study of human nature - hope you will enjoy this!

Tuesday 18 January 2011

The significance of non-state actors in environmental diplomatic negotiations

Globalisation gave way to an increased number of contributions by various non-state actors to diplomatic negotiations. The amount of resources, their flexibility, access to modern technology and information that non-state actors now possess led to a point where governments need the reports and opinions they can provide. A number of services are much better delivered and get easily and effectively funded under supervision of agencies, non-governmental organisations and multinational corporations.

The crucial point of the role of the non-state actors in environmental negotiations is that some of them have been specifically created to do research and they focus on finding the best solutions themselves, on both regional and international levels. And as we could observe, most of multinational negotiations and summits aimed at addressing global environmental issues since 1985 Vienna Convention on Protecting the Ozone Layer until 1997 Kyoto Protocol on Climate Change have initiated the publication of a broad range of reports, scientific research, and alterations of national policies (Benedick, R. 1999: 4).

As Jonas Parello-Plesner from the European Council on Foreign Relations said, the EU’s cooperation with non-state actors was a step forward for the 2010 United Nations Climate Change Conference in Cancun, Mexico (East Asia Forum2010). He further points out the advertising prior to the event. In the UK a number of private companies invested a lot of money in order to lobby for stricter corporate reporting on carbon emissions via publicity.

Nowadays the presence of NGOs at the conferences sponsored by the UN is automatic. The summit in Cancun made no difference to this rule. When Japan declared it would no longer commit to the Kyoto Protocol beyond 2012, angry reactions were heard by the media from a number of NGOs. Organisations like the Economic Commission for Africa (ECA), Burkina Faso NGO, or Information and Communication Service (ICS) complained about the injustice this Japanese action would evoke. They also highlighted the possible future consequences whose impact Africa would have to deal with (Afronline 2010).

In the Cancun Summit, NGOs, experts and companies had their place at the Cancun Messe convention centre, while government officials were put at the Moon Palace Golf and Spa Resort (Swissinfo.ch 2010). It can be therefore concluded, that even though non-state actors are present at the negotiations and contribute by complementing ideas, their debate is conducted separately from that of the officials.

Afronline, The Voice of Africa (2010) ‘Cancun Summit: Africa’s angry reaction,’ 6th Dec 2010, [online] available from < http://www.afronline.org/?p=10972>

Benedick, R. (1999) ‘Diplomacy for the environment,’ in The Johns Hopkins University’s conference report (February 1999) Environmental Diplomacy Report, Washington, D.C.: The American Institute for Contemporary German Studies [online] available from <http://www.aicgs.org/documents/environmentaldiplomacy.pdf>

East Asia Forum (2010) ‘The EU engaging China on climate change beyond Cancun’ by Parello-Plesner, J., 5th Dec 2010, [online] available from < http://www.eastasiaforum.org/2010/12/05/the-eu-engaging-china-on-climate-change-beyond-cancun/>

Swissinfo.ch (2010) ‘Cancun Climate Summit: Major sticking points will beset Cancun summit,’ by Besson, Pierre-Francois, 7th Dec, [online] available from <http://www.swissinfo.ch/eng/specials/climate_change/news/Major_sticking_points_still_beset_Cancun_summit.html?cid=28970664>

Monday 17 January 2011

Final Thoughts

My Final thoughts of New Diplomacy
To me it’s one of my favourite module. I learned a lot about “Old” Diplomacy and “New” Diplomacy. The history how it’s started and today’s approach. I pictured diplomacy just the way it happened in the lectures and seminars. There is a great book i will recommend “Independent Diplomat”. In this book Carne Ross talks about state of diplomacy and the long way it took him to become a diplomat.

Sunday 16 January 2011

My understanding of diplomacy today

The simplest way to absorb daily information is to believe in everything that media makes public. However, the study of new diplomacy reveals hidden, complex, mysterious relations of political activity, certainly, diplomacy plays a crucial role. The more you study diplomatic art, the more suspicious world seems to be. This perhaps is the most important character making diplomacy more than the prestigious, intellectual political art or practice of conducting international relations, as in negotiating alliances, treaties, and agreements etc., but, at the same time, the dangerous, sceptical, self-centric, manipulative ever evolving arena, which requires special tact and skill in dealing with people. More than ever before, the century of globalisation holds new challenges which make diplomatic missions go beyond its limits, involving governmental and non-governmental activities of wide concerns. Nevertheless, public opinion building seems to be crucial succeeding in the missions across the globe, which suggests that society is an important player whichever way, in action or in silence, it will affect governmental policy - decision making.

All in all, diplomacy is very interesting, significantly powerful art of politics which affects us all unconsciously. Despite the hidden, dark channels of diplomatic practises (eg. propaganda, secrecy, spying, self-centric, often immoral activities ect.), I hope, that the future diplomacy will remain and strengthen its major aim - negotiating and cooperating for its own people; guaranteeing social, economic, environmental developments for more peaceful, equal, trustworthy, hatless world with less disease of nationalism, competition and secrecy. No doubt, that in the process of learning more about diplomacy we can increase our consciousness concerning international relations, peace and conflicts, governmental missions etc., we can also increase our respect towards diplomats by recognition of their complex and skilful role. However, in some cases, it leads to have a lack of respect concerning the fact that many of diplomatic missions are not fallowing ethical grounds. For this reason, NGOs might be more favourable or alternative diplomats in many ways, concerning the fact that their goal is 'humane', international, less political, profitable and nationalistic, which makes a good sense.

Finally, diplomacy is evolving process, looking back in history we can see many differences in its agenda and practises adopted to changing environment (geographic, social, political, economic, scientific, cultural etc.). However, at the same time, diplomacy kept its origins equal to its very beginning. It is still a process of maturity; teaching to cooperate, listen, understand, appreciate, tolerate, search for compromises, learn to negotiate in mature manner leaving egos behind, and very importantly, opening for consciousness and recognition of others, differences, rights, etc., Indeed, it is a wise process which requires wise, mature individuals, I would compare it with a process of growing old.

My understanding of diplomacy today

Before doing this module, I had a very basic understanding of diplomacy and a lack of insight into the multi-dimensional dynamics of contemporary diplomacy. I assumed that a diplomats job was basically to spy in a foreign country and safeguard their national interests. It is true that diplomats safeguard their national interests but I now know more about the complex nature of the job and the crucial role it plays in foreign relations. I've learned that with the evolution of diplomacy, contemporary diplomacy requires new methods of approach to achieve the objective of peace and and the idea of peace has changed to mean much more than just the absence of war. For example, I mentioned in my earlier blog that Obama recorded a Diwali message for Indian's celebrating the festival all over the world and it was very well received. But some of the new approaches aren't necessarily good for diplomacy as we have seen recently with UN Envoy Jan Pronk in Sudan over comments he made about the Sudanese government on his personal blog. He wrote "The morale in the government army in North Darfur has gone down. Some generals have been sacked; soldiers have refused to fight... Security Council resolutions which forbid armed mobilisation are being violated." The Sudanese government accused him of psychological warfare and he was ordered to leave the country. This situation also shows how much diplomacy has changed from when it was a discrete profession. The BBC said of his blog “His blog was startlingly detailed, the kind of information that is normally sent back, encoded, only to national capitals. Sometimes in a one-on-one talk, a journalist can get something similar from a lively envoy, but to get it in the raw on the internet is an innovation.” I also learned that more multi lateral diplomacy is carried out than on a bilateral basis and that this has allowed for new actors such as Non Governmental Organisations to play an important role in international organisations and this also meant that the exclusivity of overseas knowledge to the old diplomats came to an end.Overall, I have learned a few interesting things and especially that being a diplomat isn't all about champagne receptions.

Monday 10 January 2011

Few interesting videos for diplomatic wonders: Can one person make a difference?

"RSA Animate – Empathic Civilisation" - Very interesting video which might be useful describing the psychology of diplomacy:


"Can One Person Make A Difference":


"We Are All One" - the inspiring short film to watch concerning environmentalism:


Monday 20 December 2010

The significance of non-state actors in trade negotiations

It is argued that 3rd world debt is rooted in trade. According to the World Development movement, “if industrialised countries had not stacked the terms of trade so heavily in their favour, Southern countries would not have fallen so deeply into debt.” Many commentators believe it is a great injustice that instead of correcting the imbalance in world trade, northern governments have added more problems to the dilemma. For instance, in the past, northern countries have encouraged poor countries to export raw material to the west, ensuing in their further integration into debt. This was initially seen by many economists to be the best way for all the developing countries to produce wealth for the reason that commodities make up a large section of their income. However in practise this in fact had the opposite effect of the theory. Its major disadvantages included, poor countries having to rely on one or two basic exporting products since they were rarely allowed a range of difference thus resulting in dangerous economic affects if their major commodities were traded at low prices. This particular theory was dependant on consistent supply and demand and failed to take into account the inevitable drop in commodity prices hence making it a short term solution. Furthermore, raw materials do not produce as much wealth as manufactured goods.

NGOs now play a very important role in influencing trade negotiations and the World Development Movement (WDM) is an NGO that has campaigned on trade issues since 1995. In 2004 they stopped the UK and EU passing an agreement in the WTO which would have meant developing countries being forced to allow private countries taking over vital services such as water and banking. Ethical trading is also another significant focus of many NGO's and trying to make sure that companies adhere to internationally agreed labour standards. Another one of their past campaigns saw WDM campaign for the rights of Costa Rican workers on a banana plantation. The workers were “victimised” for joining free trade unions and after WDM supporters sent thousands of letters and organised events such as dumping a tonne of banana skins in front of the Del Monte office in the UK, Del Monte were put under enough pressure to sign a historic agreement allowing an independent trade union to freely organise on the plantation. These campaigns are examples of just how important the role of NGOs have become in international policy making and policy implementation.