Categories
IFDT

Science Diplomacy Capacity Development: Where Do We Go From Here? (WebDebate #55)

Date: Thursday, 14th July, 13:00 UTC (09:00 EDT | 15:00 CEST | 21:00 CST)

For both diplomats and scientists, science diplomacy has become an important topic and practice. It is discussed as an important contribution to solving some of the most pressing global challenges of our time, such as climate change and the global pandemic. At the same time, science diplomacy is a contested concept and practice. It can mean a number of different, sometimes contradictory things, to various actors.

Beyond these divergences, many actors can greatly benefit from the tools and knowledge science diplomacy has to offer. Broadly speaking, it can help diplomats and scientists to reframe their work in useful ways to enable greater collaboration across boundaries. An example of this is ​​‘boundary spanning’, i.e. bridging the policy and the scientific spheres to facilitate research and increase policy impact.

If we agree that science diplomacy has the potential to be an extremely useful practice and concept, the question of capacity development in science diplomacy comes into an even sharper focus. We now need to ask:

  • How can various actors be enabled to benefit from what science diplomacy has to offer?
  • What content and what form should capacity development take?
  • How do we ensure that capacity development in science diplomacy has a longer-term impact and allows participants to become active shapers of policies and processes in their chosen fields?

For this discussion, we draw on the joint experiences of our speakers from the Geneva Science and Diplomacy Anticipator (GESDA) and the Geneva Science-Policy Interface (GSPI), and the experience of jointly working on and delivering the first Science Diplomacy Week, as well as Diplo’s Science Diplomacy online course.

Speakers

Dr Marga Gual Soler is a science diplomacy expert and founder of SciDipGLOBAL, a purpose-driven advisory, consulting, research, and training firm dedicated to building bridges between science, technology, and global policy. She is a senior advisor to the Geneva Science Diplomacy Anticipator (GESDA), founding member of the EU Science Diplomacy Alliance, and visiting professor at the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM).

Mr Nicolas Seidler is the executive director of the Geneva Science-Policy Interface (GSPI). He leads the GSPI’s mission to enhance scientific engagement with global governance actors within the Geneva ecosystem, with the objective to facilitate the emergence of effective, evidence-informed policies and solutions to complex global problems.

Mr Maxime Stauffer is co-founder and chief executive officer of the Simon Institute for Longterm Governance. His work focuses on the governance of low-probability, high-impact risks from emerging technologies and on the representation of future generations in policy processes. Previously, he was a senior science-policy officer at the Geneva Science-Policy Interface and a research fellow at the Global Studies Institute.

Dr Vid Nukala currently works at EMBO. He previously worked at the Office of Global Affairs (U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, US Embassy), the Wellcome Trust/DBT India Alliance, the Institute for Alternative Futures, and the Indo-U.S. Science & Technology Forum. Nukala is interested in biomedical science, technology and innovation, global health, ethics, policy, diplomacy, and community engagement.

Moderator

Dr Katharina E. Höne (Director of Research, Diplo)

Summary

Looking at the last few years, some trends in science diplomacy can be identified:

There have been a lot of developments at regional levels, especially in Asia.

Governments are increasingly focusing on science diplomacy and evidence-based foreign policy, for example, in climate change.  

Science and technology are gaining significance in foreign affairs given the move of global challenges and scientific issues such as environmental concerns from the sidelines to the centre.

Despite a growing nationalistic tendency in response to the global pandemic, there has been a definite increase in global science diplomacy activities and collaboration.

It is now clear that science diplomacy actors are diverse, including states and a host of non-state actors, and that science diplomacy is a multilayered governance ecosystem. Non-state actors might engage in areas where traditional diplomatic actors cannot reach.

 In terms of more recent trends:

It is important to recognise the role of cities in science diplomacy. Cities such as Barcelona, Spain have become increasingly active by appointing dedicated science diplomacy representatives and drafting related strategies.

Emerging technologies are increasingly at the forefront of science diplomacy policies and cooperation. They pose a unique challenge in unknown risks and national security implications. We have seen rising tensions between states in discussions about emerging technologies and dialogue has become all the more important regarding artificial intelligence and the use of autonomous lethal weapons.

The discussion in the chat also pointed out possible shifts resulting from increasing mistrust between different actors, the effects of mis- and disinformation, and the spread of fake news.

 Science diplomacy in times of tension and in times of conflict:

It is important to distinguish between science diplomacy in times of tension and in times of active conflict. Science diplomacy in times of tension, such as during the Cold War, can be instrumental in facilitating relationships and building trust and long-term engagement. However, the role of science diplomacy in times of active conflict is, less clear and has yet to be unravelled.

The war in Ukraine, for example, poses a monumental challenge to science diplomacy actors in terms of questions around continued collaboration with Russia. CERN was mentioned as an example: The organisation decided to suspend Russia’s observer status but continue collaboration with Russian scientists.  

In times of tension between countries and situations in which diplomatic ties are severed, science diplomacy has a vital role to play. Examples include strains between  Cuba and the USA,  and North Korea and Western countries. In cases like these, however, science diplomacy also faces the challenge of navigating sanctions regimes.

Considering recent development, some chat participants wondered whether science diplomacy has lost its innocence and whether we should let go of the notion of creating a more peaceful world via science diplomacy. The debate also highlighted that the vagueness of the term science diplomacy itself might pose a challenge going forward, if it is not clear what is at stake, and what common objectives are. Overall, science diplomacy seems to work best when it focuses on shared challenges, such as climate change. Especially then, it offers powerful tools to build and maintain relationships and trust while investing in the long-term improvement of relationships.

About our WebDebates

Our WebDebates on the future of diplomacy are live-streamed on the first Tuesday of every month. They are organised by Diplo within the framework of the International Forum on Diplomatic Training (IFDT). Learn more about our WebDebates series.

About our WebDebates series

 Our WebDebates on the future of diplomacy are live-streamed on the first Tuesday of every month. They are organised by Diplo within the framework of the International Forum on Diplomatic Training (IFDT). Learn more about our WebDebates series.

Categories
IFDT

Science Diplomacy in 2022: More Cooperation or More Division? (WebDebate #54)

Date: Tuesday, 5th April, 13:00 UTC (09:00 EDT | 15:00 CEST | 21:00 CST)

Science diplomacy offers many tools to foster collaboration among states and other stakeholders. In this way, the practice can lead to increased mutual understanding and ultimately to more peaceful international relations. 

History is full of examples of unexpected cooperation between rival countries. Despite the ongoing Cold War and the ‘space race’ between the USA and the Soviet Union, the two countries also managed to cooperate in space, leading to the famous ‘Apollo–Soyuz handshake’. Another more recent example is SESAME (Synchrotron-Light for Experimental Science and Applications in the Middle East), an experimental facility in Jordan, whose founding members include Bahrain, Cyprus, Egypt, Iran, Israel, Pakistan, the Palestinian Authority, and Turkey. 

Yet, practitioners and scholars have pointed out that science diplomacy does not automatically lead to more peaceful relations between countries, and that international cooperation to reach common goals cannot be taken for granted. 

Together with our speakers, Dr Kimberly Montgomery (Director of International Affairs and Science Diplomacy, American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS)) and Mr Alexis Roig (CEO, SciTech DiploHub), we want to unpack this debate and explore expectations for 2022. We will discuss:

  • What are the current trends in science diplomacy?
  • What actors, topics, and challenges are becoming more relevant in 2022?
  • Will we see more cooperation or more divisions? 
  • What/how can the practice of science diplomacy contribute to

Speakers

Dr Kimberly Montgomery (Director of International Affairs and Science Diplomacy, American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS))

Mr Alexis Roig (CEO, SciTech DiploHub)

Moderator

Dr Katharina E. Höne (Director of Research, Diplo)

Summary

Looking at the last few years, some trends in science diplomacy can be identified:

There have been a lot of developments at regional levels, especially in Asia.

Governments are increasingly focusing on science diplomacy and evidence-based foreign policy, for example, in climate change.  

Science and technology are gaining significance in foreign affairs given the move of global challenges and scientific issues such as environmental concerns from the sidelines to the centre.

Despite a growing nationalistic tendency in response to the global pandemic, there has been a definite increase in global science diplomacy activities and collaboration.

It is now clear that science diplomacy actors are diverse, including states and a host of non-state actors, and that science diplomacy is a multilayered governance ecosystem. Non-state actors might engage in areas where traditional diplomatic actors cannot reach.

 In terms of more recent trends:

It is important to recognise the role of cities in science diplomacy. Cities such as Barcelona, Spain have become increasingly active by appointing dedicated science diplomacy representatives and drafting related strategies.

Emerging technologies are increasingly at the forefront of science diplomacy policies and cooperation. They pose a unique challenge in unknown risks and national security implications. We have seen rising tensions between states in discussions about emerging technologies and dialogue has become all the more important regarding artificial intelligence and the use of autonomous lethal weapons.

The discussion in the chat also pointed out possible shifts resulting from increasing mistrust between different actors, the effects of mis- and disinformation, and the spread of fake news.

 Science diplomacy in times of tension and in times of conflict:

It is important to distinguish between science diplomacy in times of tension and in times of active conflict. Science diplomacy in times of tension, such as during the Cold War, can be instrumental in facilitating relationships and building trust and long-term engagement. However, the role of science diplomacy in times of active conflict is, less clear and has yet to be unravelled.

The war in Ukraine, for example, poses a monumental challenge to science diplomacy actors in terms of questions around continued collaboration with Russia. CERN was mentioned as an example: The organisation decided to suspend Russia’s observer status but continue collaboration with Russian scientists.  

In times of tension between countries and situations in which diplomatic ties are severed, science diplomacy has a vital role to play. Examples include strains between  Cuba and the USA,  and North Korea and Western countries. In cases like these, however, science diplomacy also faces the challenge of navigating sanctions regimes.

Considering recent development, some chat participants wondered whether science diplomacy has lost its innocence and whether we should let go of the notion of creating a more peaceful world via science diplomacy. The debate also highlighted that the vagueness of the term science diplomacy itself might pose a challenge going forward, if it is not clear what is at stake, and what common objectives are. Overall, science diplomacy seems to work best when it focuses on shared challenges, such as climate change. Especially then, it offers powerful tools to build and maintain relationships and trust while investing in the long-term improvement of relationships.

About our WebDebates

Our WebDebates on the future of diplomacy are live-streamed on the first Tuesday of every month. They are organised by Diplo within the framework of the International Forum on Diplomatic Training (IFDT). Learn more about our WebDebates series.

Categories
IFDT

Science diplomacy: The road ahead in 2022 [WebDebate #53]

Date: Tuesday, 1st March, at 13:00 UTC (08:00 EST | 14:00 CET | 21:00 CST)

Over the last couple of years, science diplomacy has become an increasingly important concept and practice. Many institutions and individuals have turned to science diplomacy to describe their work. As a concept, science diplomacy gives meaning to activities at the intersection of policy, diplomacy, and science. Science diplomacy practices are crucial to addressing climate change and the COVID-19 pandemic, and to achieving the sustainable development goals (SDGs). The term has been used to galvanise support and give hope in the face of tremendous global challenges. 

Observers, however, have cautioned against some of the hype surrounding science diplomacy and argued for a more clear-eye approach that: first, develops a clear evaluative framework to measure the success of science diplomacy and, second, takes into account geopolitical realities instead of seeing science diplomacy (Flink, 2021).

Others have analysed science diplomacy’s contribution to addressing the COVID-19 pandemic. Looking at science attaché networks, they have made concrete suggestions to be better prepared for the next global crisis, and to leverage the potential of already existing networks (Lemay et al., 2021). Will suggestions, such as to ‘increase cross-country collaboration and communication across networks’, become a reality in 2022?

Keeping these perspectives in mind, this WebDebate explores what lies ahead for science diplomacy in 2022. In doing so, we look at:

  • lessons learned from the COVID-19 pandemic
  • suggestions for supporting the practice of science diplomacy
  • expectations for the future of science diplomacy

This WebDebate marks the start of a series of WebDebates that explore the theory and practice of science diplomacy with leading practitioners and academics. 

Speakers

Dr Jean-Christophe Mauduit is a lecturer in Science Diplomacy at University College London (UCL) in the Department of Science, Technology, Engineering and Public Policy (STEaPP). He joined UCL STEaPP in September 2019 and focuses on issues at the intersection of science and diplomacy. Prior to joining UCL, he was most recently a visiting scholar at the American Association for the Advancement of Science in Washington DC, as well as an associate director at the Science Diplomacy Center at the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy (Tufts University, Boston, USA).

Mr André Xuereb is Malta’s ambassador for Digital Affairs within the Ministry for Foreign and European Affairs. A physicist by training, he read for a BSc in Mathematics and Physics at the University of Malta, an MA in Entrepreneurship at the University of Malta, and a PhD in Theoretical Physics at the University of Southampton, UK. André is associate professor and head of the Department of Physics at the University of Malta. He founded and leads the quantum research group Quantumalta at the University of Malta.

Moderator

Dr Katharina E. Höne researches, writes, and teaches on a number of issues in the area of diplomacy, global governance, and the impact of technology on international relations. In the past few years, she has focused on research at the intersection of diplomacy and technology. She holds an MA in Diplomatic Studies (University of Leicester, UK) and a PhD in International Politics (University of Aberystwyth, UK). In her work, she is driven by her aim to level the playing field at international negotiation tables through capacity development.

About our WebDebates

Our WebDebates on the future of diplomacy are live-streamed on the first Tuesday of every month. They are organised by Diplo within the framework of the International Forum on Diplomatic Training (IFDT). Learn more about our WebDebates series.

Categories
IFDT

[WebDebate #50] Training cyber diplomats: Tools, gaps, and opportunities

Diplomats need to be ready to address digital topics adequately and to harness the challenges and opportunities brought about by digitalisation and emerging digital technologies. Whether we are talking about security, commerce, health, or human rights, digitalisation and new digital technologies play an increasing role. 

Training and capacity development are crucial tools for preparing diplomats for these exciting and challenging new topics. What capacity development opportunities exist, and what gaps remain?

One of the main findings in Diplo’s study titled Improving the Practice of Cyber Diplomacy is that cyber diplomats are often unaware of the many capacity development training and tools which exist

It does seem counterintuitive that in this age of instantaneous and widespread communication possibilities, lack of awareness is one of the major barriers in the take-up and use of training and tools. So how did this come about?

Using the findings from Diplo’s study as a backdrop, during our discussion we will take a closer look at:

  • Existing training and tools to support the practice of cyber diplomacy
  • How challenges in cyber capacity development compare to challenges in other areas of diplomatic practice
  • Emerging issues which cyber diplomacy training and tools need to tackle

About our WebDebates

Our WebDebates on the future of diplomacy are live-streamed on the first Tuesday of every month. They are organised by Diplo within the framework of the International Forum on Diplomatic Training (IFDT). Learn more about our WebDebates series.

Categories
IFDT

#Diplomacy: Internet and social media [A historical journey #10]

In the November episode of Diplo’s History of Diplomacy and Technology series, we will analyse the impact the internet and social media have on diplomacy. Register to attend!

Diplomats use the internet for meetings,  sharing information, negotiating, and communicating. Even ‘corridor diplomacy’, which was strongly linked to traditional diplomacy, has been replaced by emails, Twitter, and Zoom meetings

Social media has drastically changed what can be achieved at the negotiation table, as internet users and the public affect the process and outcome of negotiations.

We will analyse:

  • How has diplomacy adjusted to the changes brought about by the internet? 
  • Is the internet a diplomatic revolution, or simply another stage in the evolution of diplomacy?

To find out more, join us for our November masterclass with Jovan Kurbalija, ‘#Diplomacy: Internet and social media’, on Thursday, 25th November, at 14:00 CET.

Categories
IFDT

[WebDebate #51] International organisations: Independence under threat?

Event date: Tuesday, 2nd November, 13:00 UTC (09:00 EDT | 14:00 CET | 21:00 CST)

International organisations have always been faced with two very different tasks. On the one hand, they serve as a venue for states to shape the global agenda, and to discuss and negotiate issues that no state can solve in isolation. On the other hand, secretariats are actors in their own right. They work on implementation but also provide independent reports and analyses. In doing so, they have the power to shape global agendas and significantly impact the behaviour of states and other actors.

This raises two questions:

  • How much independence and freedom of manoeuvre should international organisations have in relation to states?
  • How can their independence be protected, especially in regard to the undue influence of states and other actors?

Questions of independence and the freedom of manoeuvre vis-à-vis states are often raised when it comes to the role of the UN secretary general (UNSG). Some former UNSGs, most prominently Mr Dag Hammarskjöld, have interpreted their role with substantial freedom of manoeuvre. Others, such as Mr Ban Ki-moon, have adopted more of a quiet role. Looking at the current UNSG, we might ask: What now, António?

 

WebDebate 51 International organisations

 

Regarding undue influence, there is a very recent example. The World Bank is currently facing critique for alleged manipulations of data in their Doing Business 2018 report. In particular, concerns have been raised that the rank of China has been manipulated based on pressure from World Bank leaders. Similar allegations of manipulation of how countries are ranked in the report have been raised in the past. Observers are worried about the possible implications for the reputation of the World Bank.

Hence, in our November 2021 WebDebate, we ask: Is the independence of international organisations under threat? 

Join us on Tuesday, 2nd November, at 13:00 UTC (09:00 EDT | 14:00 CET | 21:00 CST).

Speakers

Amb. Petru Dumitriu is a Romanian diplomat who joined the Joint Inspection Unit (JIU) of the United Nations system in 2016 as inspector, elected by the General Assembly. He earned his doctorate with a thesis on United Nations reform. He has published extensively on various UN topics, including a book on United Nations reform.

Amb. Asoke Mukerji’s diplomatic career spans 37 years, from 1978 to 2015. As India’s ambassador and permanent representative to the UN in New York (2013–2015), he oversaw India’s negotiations on the 2030 Agenda on Sustainable Development, focusing on prioritising the use of technology for achieving the SDGs. He represented India in the intergovernmental negotiations that recommended a text-based outcome for UN Security Council Reforms in September 2015.

About our WebDebates

Our WebDebates on the future of diplomacy are live-streamed on the first Tuesday of every month. They are organised by Diplo within the framework of the International Forum on Diplomatic Training (IFDT). Learn more about our WebDebates series.

Categories
IFDT

[WebDebate #50 summary] Training cyber diplomats: Tools, gaps, and opportunities

Author:

DiploFoundation

The discussion started by clarifying what cyber diplomacy is. For our purposes, cyber diplomacy described all diplomatic activities related to digitalisation and information and communications technology (ICT). Wallace highlighted three broad areas of cyber diplomacy.

  • First, this includes multilateral efforts in and through international organisations and also efforts to reduce tensions and conflicts. Prominent examples of this are the UN Group of Governmental Experts (GGE) on Advancing Responsible State Behaviour in Cyberspace, and the Open-ended Working Group on Developments in the Field of ICTs in the Context of International Security (OEWG).
  • Second, many topics in diplomacy are impacted by digitisation and ICT, including health, commerce, human rights, and many others.
  • Third, diplomats need capacities and knowledge to engage with other countries on cyberthreats.

From this picture, it is clear that diplomats need additional expertise. Barriers to entering this field need to be addressed. Providing the right kind of information, training, and capacity development are crucial elements on this journey.

In this regard, it is important to ask:

  • What are the available training and capacity-development opportunities and tools?
  • How widely are they used?
  • What is still missing and what are some of the remaining challenges?
  • What are good practices to learn from?

The study Improving the Practice of Cyber Diplomacy: Training, Tools, and Other Resources (Phase I) addresses these questions. It was commissioned by the GFCE and received financial support from the Government of Canada. Lead researcher Borg Psaila introduced the methodology and main findings. She also highlighted that the annex of the study makes the database available for further research and follow-up.

When it comes to barriers to capacity development in cyber diplomacy, three key findings stand out:

  • Lack of awareness
  • Lack of funding
  • Lack of time

Despite living in an age of information overload and search engines, lack of awareness remains an issue. The discussion showed that there are differences in terminology, and not all terms resonate with or are known to the intended audience. The GFCE’s Cybil Portal has started to address this issue and offers a broad overview of available training options. Audience members also highlighted that they are concerned about biases in capacity development, and find it challenging to identify high-quality offers.

The discussion also showed that lack of funding for cyber-diplomacy capacity development is something that needs addressing. In order to address increasing inequalities between countries, additional commitment from donor agencies is needed.

The research conducted as part of the study showed that lack of time is a key barrier for cyber-diplomacy capacity development. Borg Psaila suggested that a shift in the organisational culture of foreign ministries and other organisations is needed. Practitioners need to be able to dedicate time during their working hours towards capacity development. This shift requires the realisation that cyber diplomacy demands regular on-the-job training, and that capacity development needs to be seen as an integral part of career advancement.

Based on her research on internet governance capacity development in African countries, Maciel underscored the need for stronger institutional support for capacity development. She also highlighted that online training offers additional flexibility and can be a decisive factor in enabling practitioners to take further training.

In conclusion, our speakers made three appeals to the audience and those interested in the topic. First, for those providing capacity development, feedback is crucial. There needs to be a continuous process of updating and improving the available information and training. Second, practitioners can support capacity development by spreading the word in their communities and on social media. Third, it is crucial to understand cyber-diplomacy capacity development as a process. New topics are emerging constantly and practitioners are called upon to keep training on the job.

Event description

Diplomats need to be ready to address digital topics adequately and to harness the challenges and opportunities brought about by digitalisation and emerging digital technologies. Whether we are talking about security, commerce, health, or human rights, digitalisation and new digital technologies play an increasing role.

Training and capacity development are crucial tools for preparing diplomats for these exciting and challenging new topics. What capacity development opportunities exist, and what gaps remain?

One of the main findings in Diplo’s study titled Improving the Practice of Cyber Diplomacy is that cyber diplomats are often unaware of the many capacity development training and tools which exist.

It does seem counterintuitive that in this age of instantaneous and widespread communication possibilities, lack of awareness is one of the major barriers in the take-up and use of training and tools. So how did this come about?

Using the findings from Diplo’s study as a backdrop, during our discussion we will take a closer look at:

  • Existing training and tools to support the practice of cyber diplomacy
  • How challenges in cyber capacity development compare to challenges in other areas of diplomatic practice
  • Emerging issues which cyber diplomacy training and tools need to tackle

About our WebDebates

Our WebDebates on the future of diplomacy are live-streamed on the first Tuesday of every month. They are organised by Diplo within the framework of the International Forum on Diplomatic Training (IFDT). Learn more about our WebDebates series.