Over the last decades Advocacy and Diplomacy have been transformed in useless tools for change paradoxically, under a global framework of a democratic model that search for reducing gaps among countries and people. A disempowered citizenship and a public sector crisis have as a result a less democratic system within more vulnerability for armed conflicts, corruption and biased private interests. Is not a coincidence that more than ever representatives of the business sector are turn their strategies towards private development investment, change of cultural codes of consumption and aid funding. The public sector leading by a no transparent political leadership is making the switch to alternatives that exposure their ineffectiveness and –in many cases- total inaction. (Israel-Palestine, Syria, Iran, Afghanistan, climate change, migration crisis, financial crisis, etc.)
Is precisely this ineffectiveness that force individuals to see Advocacy not as just a tool for a democratic exercise but as a driver to boost policies that makes a change. Indeed, current public institutions are trying hard to change current “establishment” and drive the world into isolationism, which actually means keeping the same status quo. Using Diplomacy for there own goals not global and inclusive as established by SDGs . Particularly SDG 16 and 17 are very clear on their political goal of searching an “establishment” of peace, justice, strong institutions and global partnerships. Which goes directly against a goal of isolationism, dismemberment of global institutions and international relations based on bilateralism.
Diplomacy is not what it used to be and diplomats are not the same as in the past. The decadence of the Diplomatic system is it also the decadence of a global model that is claiming for changes: getting rid of bilateralism, anti-global goals, isolationist strategies and prominent role of no diplomatic leaders. A global strategy on Human security is basically a matter of a skillful use of Diplomacy as a tool for delivering stability and moving beyond Mediation. Indeed, under current global model, crises –as Middle East- are not isolated from the rest of the world but part of an international machinery of “doing politics” that is creating dangerous roots around instability, violation of IHL, Human Rights and no accountable military presence/attacks that go beyond a national conflict.
Is it part of the incapacity from global and national leaders or just a lack of political will? Whatever is it, citizens must advocate for a change and demand a committed political action towards national armed conflicts that threat the own legal framework of IHL or Human Rights and impacts Global Human Security.
Is in this sense that also humanitarian leaders are accountable of tackling conflicts by an active work on Diplomacy. In the case of the ICRC its paramount to reshape the Neutrality principle and create commitments up to current challenges, moving forward from global institutions that have exposure their weakness to guarantee the own delivery of humanitarian aid.
Diplomacy is intentionally missed* because is it the real driver for breaking with current status quo and enter into new levels of sustainability that threat private interests. When other interests, rather than the welfare of the citizens entered in politics it creates turmoil of revolving doors that impact all sectors, from the financial to the humanitarian sector.
We could not expect that traditional institutions –particularly global- would be able to advocate, although is a must that they do it at institutional and leadership level. Under the shape of Lobby, Diplomacy, Partnership, Social Media, etc. the tool used is the less important but the effectiveness and power of their message. (Reflecting about Syria and a weak humanitarian sector)
Middle East crisis is also a product of Western policies leading by U.S. in the last decades and not a matter of culture, religion or internal divisions. Lets think for a moment on a stage of Middle East with 0 foreign military presence… do you really think that it would be the same?
Extremism and constant violation of IHL and global rules are driven the citizenship to make decisions and take the lead, also from institutional platforms as in the case of armed conflicts and the humanitarian aid sector.
Diplomacy is not working as a results-driven tool because it becomes a threat for isolationists and their agenda and only a revolutionary citizenship engagement could make the difference: Advocacy.
Citizens must advocate for a new Diplomacy and transparent leaders to deal with it. Not as now in which Advocacy is a matter of activism and Diplomacy an institutional property of politics with or without representation from citizens interests.
Under current global political framework, Diplomacy has become a “weak tool” that doesn’t work as a real influencer. Many global leaders are trying to “sell” a world based on political friendship more than solid structure in which there is international joint action against multiple crises.
A revolutionary swift of the system comes from changing leaders by a strong and innovative citizenship engagement under a results-driven strategy in which once leaders are elected and fail on accountability there would be replaced immediately. Simply Democracy.
Advocacy is the missing art that is not being used in its potential because of citizens that do not feel empowered and Diplomacy is the intentionally missed art from political leaders and institutions that are impeding a global change. The two are big tools in which citizens, civil society and institutions could really implement innovative policies and build consensus around the world.
That is the power of good negotiations: building resilient international relations trough individuals and institutions that work as drivers for peace building and guarantors of political stability.
Advocacy and Diplomacy: two sides for the same goal: Human Security
*Diplomacy: the art that is intentionally missing https://thesustainabilityreader.com/2017/04/26/diplomacy-the-art-that-is-intentionally-missing/
* Diplomacy as a results-driven strategy