SOTP2016 - The New Pacific Diplomacy

The New Pacific Diplomacy panel at SOTP2016 conference. Image SSGM

In recent years, there has been growing policy and academic interest in what some view as a resurgence of diplomatic agency or a ‘paradigm shift’ by Pacific island states in global and regional politics. The ‘New Pacific Diplomacy’ thesis explores new developments in Pacific diplomacy at various sub-regional, regional and global levels, and in key sectors of global negotiation for Pacific states: from fisheries, trade, climate change and sustainable development to name a few. These developments are influencing Pacific islands foreign policy practice and behaviour: whether it be through nontraditional bilateral, plurilateral or multilateral partnerships, complex networks of actors in the diplomatic space, the use of innovative tools of diplomacy, and the greater participation of civil society and private sectors. At the same time, the Melanesian Spearhead Group, as recently as last year seen by some as enjoying a renaissance, has come under severe internal stress. Where is the New Pacific Diplomacy headed?

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