After the second world war the ‘new diplomacy’ blossomed completely. ‘Old diplomacy’ faded into the background as multilateral diplomacy dominated. By the second half of the twentieth century, the international arena had become too large and complex for traditional bilateral diplomacy to handle. Multilateral diplomacy is defined as “the practice of including more than two nations or parties in achieving diplomatic solutions to supranational problems”(Kishore Mahbubani). This change towards multilateral diplomacy unleashed the drive to build international and regional organizations,such as the UN, with defined rules of procedure and permanently accredited diplomatic missions.
One of the most recent events of multilateral conference is the Paris climate change conference in 2015. In this conference the Paris agreement was negotiated, a global agreement on the reduction of climate change. This agreement was signed by 175 countries on April 2016. The importance of multilateral diplomacy was reinforced by the Paris conference. The biggest issue our generation has faced is the one of climate change, such a big issue cannot be solved by the ‘old diplomacy’ only by multilateral diplomacy and that is where the importance of this concept comes in. Multilateral diplomacy may have its limitations but in the world of today any other kind of diplomacy probably has even more limitations, bilateral diplomacy would have no effect on an international scale issue like global warming, a problem that affects the whole planet needs to be solved by more than just two countries. Like most things , diplomacy changes in accordance with the changes that go around in our world, with the phenomena of globalization diplomacy has needed to adapt and be more open and discuss issues at a much larger scale.
There has been many criticism over the speed of multilateral diplomacy problem solving, but there are many pros to multilateral diplomacy and conference negotiation, it facilitates partnerships, brings many voices into the decision making process and forms consensus which is key when needing to enforce international agreements. By facilitating partnerships we create a friendlier political environment between countries bringing everyone closer together rather than further apart. Most of the concerns in most countries today tend to be the same, climate changes, the economy, war so it only logical that if the concerns globally are the same then that all countries must come together through diplomacy to solve these issues.
Gathering many world leaders to discuss global problems gives us an opportunity to put pressure to our leaders in whichever country they find themselves, like the social movements before the Paris conference took place. This is a very important factor as with this tool the people, the citizens of the Earth, can use to make their voice be heard by the political elite and pressure them into coming to an agreement. Bilateral diplomacy doesn’t play much part in supranational problems, more countries must come into the picture, bilateral diplomacy can help the two countries that are part of the process but multilateral diplomacy can help the whole planet. The more globalised we become the more we care for everyone in this planet and what affects them and due to this we can help create a change through a more open diplomatic dialogue that includes everyone.
Barston. R.P. (2006) ‘Modern diplomacy’. Longman Paperback
James P.(2005) ‘Multilateral diplomacy and the United Nations today’. diplmacy.edu. Available at: https://www.diplomacy.edu/resources/books/reviews/multilateral-diplomacy-and-united-nations-today (Accessed the 19 of March 2017)
Unknown (2014) ‘Strengthening Multilateral Diplomacy and Sustainable Development’. unchronicle.un.org. Available at: https://unchronicle.un.org/article/strengthening-multilateral-diplomacy-and-sustainable-development (Accessed the 19 of March 2017)
Unknown (2015) ‘COP21 Climate change summit reaches deal in Paris’. bbc.co.uk. Available at: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-35084374 ( Accessed the 19 of March 2017)