This chapter evaluates the achievements and limitations of the United Nations (including the Conference on Disarmament) in the field of disarmament, emphasizing the UN’s role as part of broader efforts to control arms as a means to achieve international peace and security. It presents an overview of UN disarmament efforts and discusses specific cases where progress was achieved, such as the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC), the Arms Trade Treaty, and efforts to tackle the problems of anti-personnel land mines and small arms and light weapons. Finally, it draws out the implications for international relations of the UN experience with formal multilateral arms control, disarmament and security-building processes by evaluating its role as a negotiating forum, a norm setter, an implementing agency, or an instrument of great power security governance.
This article begins by discussing the four kinds of development that helped change the expectations, objectives, and conduct of modern disarmament diplomacy: (i) transformative advances in networked communications and weapons technologies; (ii) transnational criminals who include sensitive materials and weapons procurement among their trafficking activities; (iii) broader civil society networks linked transnationally and motivated by humanitarian, environmental, and anti-militarist concerns; and (iv) changes in public attitudes towards international security, warfare, and ‘acceptable’ versus ‘unacceptable’ means for achieving national and international policy objectives. This is followed by discussions of humanitarian-centred disarmament and integrative diplomacy, and distributive and integrative tactics in disarmament diplomacy.
Andrés Rozental and Alicia Buenrostro
Diplomacy is based on crafting ways to enhance relations among nations. Bilateral diplomacy determines when, where, and how a specific country-to-country relationship will become more relevant. This article discusses new contents, lines of action, and tools in bilateral diplomacy; new tasks in the construction of bilateral relations; policy development and implementation by ministries and missions; training the twenty-first-century bilateral diplomat; and bilateral diplomacy in service to the state and the new architecture of global governance.
The IMF and World Bank were created at the end of World War II to support economic stability, trade, and reconstruction around the world. Subsequently, they became strongly associated with globalization and the opening up of economies to trade, capital flows, and foreign investment. This ensured support from wealthy governments and business but sharp criticism about their impacts on inequality, environmental damage, and corruption. Each now faces a more existential challenge due to the shifting power and focus of their member states. What remains constant is the need for each to strengthen its legitimacy, refocus its mandate, and work better with other organizations.
The Catholic Church is the oldest and largest transgovernmental organization in the world; in particular, Pope Francis’s reign reveals interesting puzzles for international relations. In the social sciences it remains an underestimated and unexplored actor. In terms of social theory, it is difficult to grasp “the Church” (e.g., the body of believers, norm entrepreneur, state of Vatican City). This article places the Catholic Church and its international political activities in a theoretical framework of international relations, making observations that will help students of world politics understand and explain this multifaceted actor beyond a mere description. Displaying the levels of analysis leads to approaching the Catholic Church from different theoretical angles. The article provides an understanding of the Church on the individual (its members and their agency), unit (the institution), and international levels (the Holy See participating in the international system and society).
Andrew F. Cooper
This article begins with a discussion of the essential duality of diplomacy – the ‘nothing is or will be different now or in the future’ perspective and the enthusiastic search for ‘newness’ and innovation, the focused concern with foreign ministries with the diverse dimensions taking in the larger state structures as well as the array of societal components, the mix of embedded craft techniques and enhanced speed, tools and multiplied options, and the search for core priorities amid the range of normative demands and mass of technical details on an issue-specific basis. The discussion then turns to the added complexity in which states and other international actors communicate, negotiate, and otherwise interact in the twenty-first century; the pressures faced by the foreign policy establishment; the need to redefine the meaning of ‘diplomat’; the purpose of diplomacy; and opportunities and risks as diplomacy moves to become more ‘service’ oriented.
Climate change surpasses the ability of any state to tackle on their own and requires global collective action. As a universal political body, the United Nations is indispensable to addressing climate change. It provides the arena for member states to discuss, deliberate, and decide; the institutional apparatus to support negotiations; and the platform and incentives for many actors to engage in creating and implementing agreements. UN institutions were critical to the identification of climate change as a global concern and the development of a formal regime adopted and supported by member states. This chapter analyzes the institutional frameworks, discusses core factors for success, and outlines a potential trajectory for climate change within the UN and beyond.
High-level panels and commissions have become in recent decades a very busy second-track diplomatic industry. Since the 1980s, more than thirty commissions have come and gone, harnessing the collective talents of over five hundred individual commissioners and panelists to report on issues across the security, development, and general governance spectrum. The impact of the commissions and panels under review has varied enormously. Some have fundamentally changed the terms of international policy debate, but others have sunk utterly without trace. This article evaluates the utility and significance of ‘commission diplomacy’ overall, and explains why some commissions are successful and others are not.
This article begins by focusing on the development of conference diplomacy during the long nineteenth century. It then describes how global problems gave rise to global conferences, which begin to constitute a new element in the UN system. This is followed by discussions of the process of conference diplomacy and Gilbert Winham’s insights on negotiations. Conference diplomacy emerged from the pursuit of state interests by the great powers, in particular, in an international setting. This framework was largely predominant until 1970, but thereafter there has been a change of tone, whereby conference diplomacy has been much more concerned with the search for common interests in a multilateral and multilevel setting. The reason for this is primarily the growth of global problems, which are exacerbated by the process of globalization. In turn, global conferences have extended the UN system not only to enfranchise new actors, but also to take a fresh look at old problems.
This article argues that while not all consular activities involve a degree of diplomacy or international, high politics, the consular institution as a whole has been – and continues to be – constitutive of commercial and economic diplomacy, consular diplomacy, visa diplomacy, and, to a lesser extent, even political and public diplomacy. It is organized as follows. The first section briefly reviews change in the consular institution throughout the centuries, and considers its core concepts and context. This is followed by an analysis of the interrelationship between consular functions and diplomacy. Building on these findings, the third section, on consular governance and politics, considers foreign and domestic goals of consular affairs and discusses the changing role of the state. The article concludes with observations on the consular institution in relation to the theory and practice of diplomacy. It argues that foreign ministries in the years ahead need a forward-looking strategy to balance the tension between securing broad national interests and protecting the narrow interests of individual citizens – travelling, living, or doing business abroad.
This chapter surveys the institutions, mandates, norms, and rules that comprise UN action in the fields of crime prevention, criminal justice, drug control, and transnational organized crime. These measures have assumed more prominence on the international agenda over time, as member states have sought collaborative responses to common problems, while advancing their interests to influence the form and substance of cooperation. The UN’s contribution is vital given the persistent challenge that criminal non-state actors pose not only to states but also the international system. The overarching objectives of UN action on crime and criminal justice are not merely to prevent and suppress crime and punish offenders but also proactively to nurture the development of ‘responsible statehood.’
Patricia M. Goff
Cultural diplomacy springs from two premises. First, that good relations can take root in the fertile ground of understanding and respect. Second, cultural diplomacy rests on the assumption that art, language, and education are among the most significant entry points into a culture. Cultural diplomacy sits on a spectrum of ideational approaches to diplomacy. Alongside it on this spectrum one can locate soft power, branding, propaganda, and public diplomacy. Cultural diplomacy is on the soft-power side of the hard power–soft power equation, since it functions by attraction and not coercion. This article discusses the context of cultural diplomacy, the role of governments in cultural diplomacy, club and network diplomacy, ways to engage in cultural diplomacy, and the limits of cultural diplomacy.
Cyber threats have become a pre-eminent concern in international affairs. The security of cyberspace has become a condition of the survival of modern societies; yet the scale of the threats grows only larger with time. Some states have turned to the UN system to address cyber issues. These efforts are of two general sorts. One involves the management of conflict in the cyber domain, a realm of security competition in which the dangers of miscalculation abound. The other concerns Internet governance, which pits Russia and China against Western countries. This chapter examines these multilateral thrusts. It argues that none has gone far, for various reasons. Cyber threats challenge the legal and institutional orthodoxies of the UN system. Large member states clash over the meaning and priorities of cybersecurity. Before analyzing these problems the chapter reviews the origins and history of cyber threats.
Juan Emilio Cheyre
This article discusses the development of defence diplomacy. Defence diplomacy’s origins lie in the classic military diplomacy extant since ancient times and revived in the Napoleonic era. Its evolution, until the end of the Cold War, witnessed no major changes, being focused on military relations, and thus limited to the classic military field. In the 1990s, the dawn of a new era in international affairs, the steady rise of complex interdependence, the growing rise of new actors on the global scene, as well the emergence of public diplomacy, all made room for a new conception of defence diplomacy. An expression of network diplomacy, defence diplomacy links the implementation of foreign policy objectives to those of the defence sector. If managed properly, it can be an invaluable instrument of statecraft, by bringing to bear the manifold dimensions of both soft and hard power on any given issue. UN peacekeeping operations, which have undergone a dramatic increase in the post-Cold War era, are one of the best expressions of this.
W. Andy Knight
This chapter examines the UN’s role in promoting and encouraging democracy and good governance. The world organizations is in a pivotal position to help promote and strengthen the global norm that posits that democracy validates the quality of governance today. In order to be considered ‘democratic,’ governments should not only hold periodic free and fair elections and demonstrate the ability to govern inclusively and humanely. In addition, they should also respect human rights and the rule of law. Concurrently, the chapter argues that the UN should practice what it preaches and address its own democratic deficit, even as it helps to strengthen democracy at the national level.
Benjamin N. Schiff
The International Criminal Court (ICC) combines traditional ‘club’ diplomacy with ‘network’ interactions. Dedicated to the norm of anti-impunity for perpetrators of genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes, and aggression, it came into being because of a combination of civil society and interstate diplomatic efforts. This article first describes how the ICC came into being during what appeared to be an unusual historical period of reduced interstate tensions and increased attention to norms long championed by non-state actors. It then describes the ICC network and the range of roles played by Court officials and other major participants. The article argues that this new organization and its network demonstrate a decline in ‘club’ diplomacy and a rise in ‘network’ diplomacy, but concludes that states retain dominant leverage within this nexus of interaction.
Security became the most prominent value sought by governments in the twentieth century. The funds expended to achieve it, and the amount of time and money diplomats spend negotiating security arrangements, are the measure of this commitment. Contemporary states typically spend vastly more for defence against known and anticipated enemies or threats than they do on education, housing, and other domestic priorities. This article discusses unilateral responses to security threats; bilateral strategies for security; multilateral security plans and projects; external and internal wars; the state as security threat; and two new types of security threat, terrorist tactics, and the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction.
This chapter offers an overview of the ECOSOC since its establishment as one of the six principal organs of the United Nations. It explores its functions, structure, organization, working methods, and evolution over time. It also contains an analysis of ECOSOC’s impact, and especially the difficulties encountered over its lifetime to resolve an inherent tension with the General Assembly, given the overlapping in both of these organs’ remit and their ambiguous relationship. Those tensions were the drivers of numerous reform proposals over the years in the quest for greater relevance. Especially noteworthy is the outburst of initiatives since 2005 to find a firmer anchor to ECOSOC’s role in the wider governance structure of the United Nations, which suggest placing the ECOSOC decisively ‘under the authority of the General Assembly.’
This chapter argues that the decision to retain the institutional wisdom of the old External Affairs Department, as well as its predecessors, was taken quite deliberately, with a clear understanding of the problems this posed, as well as the advantages. The author argues that the arguments for retaining this structure were often advanced most persuasively by those who had the highest stakes in its continuance: bureaucrats and officials of the Indian Civil Service. These institutional memories continued to shape the foundational assumptions about both the conduct, as well as content, of Indian foreign policy, well after the transfer of power. Finally, it is argued, it is important to differentiate the various strands of political thought that went into constituting the often monolithically understood ‘Nehruvian foreign policy’: this was constructed by a variety of officials, politicians, and political lobbies who frequently differed with Nehru on the best approach to India’s foreign policy.
Leon Gordenker and Christer Jönsson
The UN system produces abundant, easily accessible information about itself and about the world at large. The statistics and databases compiled in the UN system help monitor progress on its goals for global economic and social development. Moreover, the UN contributes to knowledge through its training, education, and research initiatives. Academia remains a key producer of knowledge about the UN, and the introduction of the concept of global governance has stimulated a renewed focus on the organization. Today, electronic and social media are important sources of popular knowledge. Despite ‘scandals’ and negative publicity, the UN enjoys public support around the world. There seems to be no firm correlation between popular attitudes and knowledge.