Non-state actors in environmental diplomacy.

Not so long ago most diplomatic issues were taken over by state actors but as more and more issues have risen, such as environmental concerns like global warming, the importance of the involvement of not-state actors has increased.

To examine the significance of non state-actors in environmental negotiations first it is important to know what role they take in these talks. Non-state actors are entities that participate or act in international relations, they are organisations with sufficient power to influence and cause a change even though they  don’t belong to an established institution of a state. Non state actors have several important roles like aiding in the opinion building in international affairs, for example NGO’s influence in the Human Rights Council, or Princess Diana’s work on opinion building over the subject of land mines. Probably one of the most important roles that a non-state actors can take is the investigation and provider of expert information in some matters such as evidence of climate change and solutions on how to stop it. This last role has been taken on by many non-state actors, specially NGO’s such as Green Peace, in most of the environmental talks since the 90’s, and have been greatly influential in recent conferences like the one in Paris.

Non-state actors are also fundamental agents in helping to achieve both national and international development goals. In the Paris Agreement, representatives of regional bodies, organisations, consultants, researchers, academics and project developers all came together in meetings to examine the articles of the agreement and conclude on how to implement them nationally and internationally.

nonstate actors picis

In the image above we can see one of the dialogues that took place after the Paris agreement by different regional non-State actors regarding article 6 which talks about the reduction of green house gas emissions whilst still being able to develop as a country. All these dialogues that took place mostly in developing countries in 2016, show the power that Non-state actors can have in diplomatic missions especially when finding a way to implement certain articles in countries where it might be hard to do so.

Seeing how non-state actors take on very important roles on a national and international scale, it can be said that the significance of said actors is very important. NGO’s can shift global opinion on a matter, by providing evidence of their findings, specially on environmental problems. Other actors such as celebrities can also be very influential in the way people think which later might motivate people to pressure their governments into action, a great example of this is when they made Leonardo diCaprio  a UN messenger of peace, and became one of the biggest promoters of sustainable development, going as far as to interview the ex-president of the US, Barack Obama. Non-state actors can give reliable, extremely accurate information about environmental issues, that is why they are very important to diplomatic talks. They cans also influence the way people act so that a certain policy can be placed, and most importantly they take constant action to make sure that the goals are being followed and hold responsible those who do not follow.


leonardo nbp




NGO CLIMATE ACTION NETWORK INTERNATIONAL [online] NGO Participation working groups  (2016) Available at: (Accessed the 10 of May, 2017)

David Hone (2016) THE ENERGY COLLECTIVE. [online] Paris agreement: Developing Article 6. Available at: (Accessed the 10 of May, 2017)

UN: CLIMATE SUMMIT 2014 [online]. Secretary-General designates Leonardo DiCaprio as UN messenger of peace. Available at: (Accessed the 10 of May, 2017)

UN CLIMATE CHANGE: PARIS AGREEMENT [online] Non-state actors say how Paris can boost climate action. (2016) Available at: (Accessed the 10 of May, 2017)

Josh Busby (2015) DUCK OF MINERVA [online]. What role for non-sate actors in the new climate governance?. Available at: (Accessed the 10 of May, 2017)




The importance of Multilateral diplomacy.

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’. Available at: (Accessed the 19 of March 2017)

Unknown (2014) ‘Strengthening Multilateral Diplomacy and Sustainable Development’. Available at: (Accessed the 19 of March 2017)

Unknown (2015) ‘COP21 Climate change summit reaches deal in Paris’. Available at: ( Accessed the 19 of March 2017)













New Diplomacy. The rising stock of non-state actors.

Diplomacy has evolved a lot in the 20th century, from being exclusive and secret to inclusive and open. What we call the New diplomacy has many important dimensions, one of the most important is the rise of non-state actors in diplomacy. There is no doubt that non-state actors with independent means and personal agendas can affect the public discourse. People and non-state organisations can shape perceptions and even move governments to action. However theres a few big questions raised over this matter, such as, where do these non-state actors obtain the legitimacy in the eyes of the people and how do they change outcomes? The legitimacy question is one that is raised many times with this matter in particular, sometimes non-state actors take on diplomatic missions without the states approval something that would be unthinkable in the old diplomacy.

The reason this dimension of new diplomacy is so important is due to the fact that it is something that has very rarely been seen before in the realm of diplomacy. Many non-state actors explain that their legitimacy comes from the support of the general public whether or not the government agrees. The best example of this would be the international campaign in the 90’s to put a ban on landmines. The campaign was led by non-governmental organisations with the participation of Princess Diana. Despite the opposition of many strong states the goal was still met in most countries.

The use of NGO’s to influence the outcome or to start diplomatic missions is an efficient strategy, in the case of the ban on landmines this strategy was highly successful. With the inclusion of non-state actors comes new elaborate strategies such as the inclusion of celebrities (Diana, Bono,Leonardo dicaprio and many more). Politics and diplomacy sometimes seems like something far from the grip of the general public and so to include non-state actors the rest of the people feel a little more represented and interested which as we have seen works quite well.


The involvement of non-state actors opens the door to more diplomatic participation and more pressure for governments to keep their promises and meet their goals. If it wasn’t for the fact that non-state actors have such influence, issues such as coming up with a solution for global warming wouldn’t have the same urgency they have today. However many people dispute that what these non-state actors are doing is not actually diplomacy although they do achieve diplomatic ends. NGO’s are a great example of a non-state actors achieving diplomatic ends such as reducing the Green house gas emissions, feeding the poor and giving medical attention to people during conflicts.

The definition of diplomacy is not so clear however if we take the conventional definition, whereby diplomacy is something only states can do then by definition NGO’s don’t actually have any diplomatic power but they do have the tools to influence people which then affects the government in such a way that they can get their way. This dimension of new diplomacy is incredibly important, other dimensions such as the technological advances or public diplomacy (‘nation branding’) do have their importance in helping to achieve diplomatic ends however the inclusion of non-state actors doesn’t only help in achieving the goals but they help create diplomatic missions and move millions like we have seen in Global warming marches and treaties and to help shift public opinion of conflicts between countries.








Carlson, Bryan (2014) ‘Non-state actors’. Available at: (Accessed the 18 of march 2017)

Dodds, Felix. ‘NGO Diplomacy'(2007). Available at: (Accessed the 18 of march 2017)

Geraud, Andre. ‘Diplomacy, old and new’. Available at: the 18 of march 2017)

Pachios, Harold C.(2002) ‘The new diplomacy’. Available at: (Accessed the 18 of march 2017)

Unknown. ‘Treaty status’. Available at: (Accessed the 18 of march 2017)
















Triumph for Diplomacy

On October, 1962 the world stood at the brink of a nuclear war for 13 days, when the US found out that  the Soviet Union had placed ballistic nuclear missiles in Cuba, just 90 miles away from their country. The threat was unexpected and required immediate attention, a nuclear war between the two most powerful countries in the Earth was going to be extremely destructive, because of this, the issue required a diplomatic solution. The US president at the time, John F. Kennedy resisted the pressure from his advisors to not cede anything to Moscow and opted for a more compromising attitude. Kennedy opted for what would now be one of the biggest characteristics of crisis diplomacy, secrecy through ‘back channels’.

The role of diplomacy in this crisis was key. Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy met secretly with the Soviet Ambassador and created a pathway of information between John F. Kennedy and the Soviet Union. Washington would reject the invasion of Cuba, and Krushchev would withdraw the missiles from Cuba. What would be the decisive move to end the crisis was the withdrawal of the Jupiter nuclear missiles that the US had placed in Turkey.This event showed us the importance of compromising in diplomacy, both countries came out loosing their nuclear missiles in Cuba and Turkey but they avoided a war. But before all of this could be possible an elaborate diplomatic strategy had to be put in place.

Kennedy limited the knowledge of the crisis. This reduced the role of the state department and consequently the diplomats with closest access to the kremlin leadership. In a meeting on the 16 of october Kennedy discussed the need for utmost secrecy and designated what group of people would be allowed to have information on the unfolding events. Kennedy excludes from this group all members of the U.S. Foreign service with the exception of former ambassadors of the U.S. to the Soviet Union, Thompson and Bohlen, who would serve as the main sources of diplomatic perspective for Kennedy. Bohlen would be the one to put the idea forward of communicating with Krushchev before things could get even more out of hand, he stated that “No one can guarantee that this can be achieved by diplomatic action – but it seems to me essential that this channel should be tested out before military action is employed. If our decision is firm I can see no danger in communicating with Khrushchev privately worded in such a way that he realizes that we mean business.”

The Bohlen plan was to send a letter to Krushchev and depending on the answer the U.S. would airstrike the Soviet Union or to put a blockade. The plan was later dropped by Kennedy,Thomson and Robert Kennedy suggested responding to the letters that Krushchev had sent and in the end sending Robert Kennedy to negotiate with Dobrynin and inform him that the Jupiter missiles would be removed. Knowledge of the arrangements between Robert Kennedy and Dobrynin was limited to Kennedy, which pressured the Soviets to keep things secret or else President Kennedy would reject the deal. The deal was met and everyone did their part.

These events show us how important and useful diplomacy really is and how big of a role diplomacy has on major crises wether through secrecy or publicly. There are still many disputes to wether issues like this should be resolved through secrecy, but something so important like crisis diplomacy could be damaged through public opinion. However acting through secrecy may not always be a good idea, not all leaders are like Kennedy who ignored many of his advisors to do what was right.






Ivan Kurilla (2014) ‘Cuban missile crisis-A lesson in diplomacy’. Available at: (Accessed the 17 of march 2017)

Lois Farrow Parshley(2012) ‘The 9 most important lessons of the cuban missile crisis’. Available at: (Accesssed the 17 of march 2017)

Peter Orsi(2012) ‘Cuban missile crisis was a triumph of diplomacy, not brinkmanship’. Available at: (Accessed the 17 of march, 2017)

Unknown (2013) ‘Embassy Moscow: A Diplomatic Perspective of the Cuban missile Crisis’. Available at: (Accessed the 17 of march 2017)

Unknown ‘Cuban missile crisis’. Available at: (Accessed the 17 of march 2017)




Public diplomacy through twitter (Russian embassy uk and President Trump)

The revolution of information and of communication technology that we have undergone in the past few years has really opened peoples eyes towards the situation in other countries. This has affected some country’s public diplomacy and have had to evolve and adapt to the changing times. Many countries have hit the social networking sites to give out a good view of their country and to promote it.

Russia is no stranger to this change in public diplomacy. Before, most things could be kept behind closed doors but with information travelling faster than ever Russia has seen itself worried and pressured to clarify many allegations and to give an outstanding view of their country. Twitter has given many world leaders the chance to respond to diplomatic issues instantly.


Where as most organisations would use twitter as an informative tool of current events in their countries, Russia uses it to give an idyllic view of their country and to justify or clarify events involving Russia, such as the war in Libya (can be seen in tweet below). This shows the importance of public diplomacy, the image of a country can be tainted by the media, and when many states are against your country’s policies, such is the case of Russia, a tool such as twitter is very useful for an instant response. The view that the general public has of your country is extremely important so it is necessary that you promote your country well.

The russian embassy in the UK use twitter very aggressively and are always defensive of their country, some people may even call it propaganda. Whether we can call it actual diplomacy, one thing is certain and that is that twitter and other social networks provide the opportunity to respond to diplomatic issues in an instant.  The use of twitter for diplomatic issues can also be a curse, as I said before some information can be taken as propaganda and this could damage your image, or sometimes twitter could be used in the heat of the moment and cause trouble as we have seen happen many times with Mr President Trump’s tweets.


Twitter is not only used to promote one’s country but to promote oneself or an ideology. If   there is someone worth talking about in the twitter realm that someone is the president of The United States of America, Donald J. Trump. A diplomatic approach through twitter with no protocol  whatsoever, many people call it a political strategy to show that Trump is not like the other politicians and others just say that it is Trump’s lack of knowledge and vocabulary, whatever it is, it has certainly had it’s effect. However, President Trumps lack of diplomatic skills show us just how important public diplomacy is, there are just some situations where you can’t avoid being politically correct and when speaking about another country it is certainly one of those moments that you can’t avoid using such tools.


A simple tweet such as the one that Mr Trump wrote about Iran could just make tensions worse between the countries and from a diplomatic point of view this could be very problematic. Also making false allegations or uninformed allegations against other american politicians can also affect american citizens by dividing the country even more through unnecessary comments.

By analyzing these two twitter accounts we can see the importance of public diplomacy and just how influential the general public’s opinion can be that political personalities have connected into the web to promote a better view of the country or the government. Public diplomacy is important, by addressing issues publicly the people can see that the leaders are taking action on the matter and to do so there are protocols to follow, if those protocols are not followed, accounts, like Trump’s twitter account, can cause quite a bit of tension. Just because something is written on a social network site doesn’t mean it looses importance, that’s why organisations, governments and  politicians should be careful with what they say.



-Alex Hern ‘Twitter users volunteer to be Russia’s latest weapon in the information wars‘(online) Available at: (Accessed the 16 of march 2016)

-Andrew Weisburd(2016) ‘How Russia dominates your twitter feed to promote lies’ (online) Available at: (Accessed the 16 of March 2017)

-Mark Fahey(2017) ‘Donald Trump’s twitter engagement is stronger than ever’ (online) Available at:

-Unknown (2016) ‘Russia launched ‘cyberwar and propaganda campaign’ against UK-media’ (online) Available at: (Accessed the 16 of march 2017)

-Twitter(2017) Russian Embassy, UK (online) Available at: (Accessed the 16 of march 2017)

-Twitter (2017) Donald J. Trump (online) Available at: (Accessed the 16 of march 2017)