Archive | Uncategorized RSS feed for this section

60. Information technology in diplomacy

10 May

Information technology in diplomacy

1. Technological advances have in recent times have led to dramatic changes in communication in the area of international relations. Clearly, current diplomacy is now re-sized to allow for the application of essential and effective tools, such as those provided by the information technology.

2. The exercise of “conventional” diplomacy through electronic means is called “digital diplomacy” (or “e-diplomacy”). The UK and the USA are leaders in this field; the former has a “Digital Diplomacy Department” in its Foreign Office while the latter has an “e-Diplomacy Office” in the State Department.

3. Digital diplomacy must be understood and embraced as a tool of communication and information relevant to the foreign service. However, it has to be regularly and comprehensively updated in tune with new technologies and also with the needs of the foreign service itself.

4. Exchanges of information between the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and diplomatic missions are normally conducted increasingly by email. However, email communication has issues that require special privacy and can also be easily breached by unauthorised persons.

5. The electronic media significantly affect not only the presentations themselves, but also in the way information is archived, allowing quick and efficient classification and also facilitating rapid and consistent access. Above all, these media today are essential to the effectiveness of monitoring and rapid reporting.

6. This electronic form of communication and also the information provided through it has its own risks. Therefore it is essential to implement a security system for the purpose of having the effective confidentiality in the information provided or required and also to ensure that it could be stored securely.

7. It is worthy to note that the violation of the confidentiality of the electronic information can lead to criminalisation since it is regarded as a breach of national or international law or both.

8. As part of the implementation and development of electronic media, the foreign ministries (as well as embassies and consulates) have established modern internet portals (websites) that maintain a constant flow of up-to-date information targeted to their own officials and foreign nationals, and to promote trade and tourism, among others.

9. “Intranet” systems (particular link between computers) allow, among other benefits, a comprehensive and effective communication between the Foreign Ministry and diplomatic missions in their country. Such initiatives are often framed in the “e-government projects” and the modernisation programmes of the foreign ministries.

10. “Instant media” have a significant role in this area, especially the “chats” and social media networks like Facebook, Skype and Twitter, which are used both by the foreign ministries to disseminate and receive data. Through these means, “virtual” communication can coordinate activities that once could only be made by physical time-consuming means.

11. Despite the persuasive impact of new media, they cannot be expected to replace private negotiations and personal exchanges. It is impossible to conclude agreements on a large scale through electronic chat rooms or in video conferences. Nevertheless, such agreements would be unsustainable without the aid, understanding and support of a changed world interconnected and empowered by information technology.

Editor’s Note: Credits to Amb. Manuel Morales Lama

59. Arbitration and diplomatic protection of investment

10 May

Arbitration and diplomatic protection of investment

1. In the field of international business, private investment abroad has historically enjoyed the diplomatic protection of the State of its nationality. However, today it is considered that such protection does not provide foreign investors sufficient legal guarantees especially when they operate in countries with little legal or political stability or both.

2. However, diplomatic protection remains an essential instrument for the international protection of the individual, essentially in the field of human rights.

3. It is common for companies located abroad, when circumstances so warrant, to seek the protection (or assistance) of the diplomatic and consular missions of the country of origin of the company, or its owners, with regard to investment in the host nation. It should be noted, however, that there generally exist many treaties in this field incorporating direct methods of arbitration that a foreign company or investor can “trigger,” when the circumstances require, against the respective host State. But such treaties may also contain clauses that prevent resort to diplomatic protection.

4. In addition, it must be taken into account that the signatory states of the WTO and free trade agreements can go to arbitration based on procedures they establish. Another mechanism used for settling such disputes is that of the World Bank’s International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes.

5. The requirements for the implementation of international action of diplomatic protection are:

a)      Establishment of “the criterion of effective nationality.” A State cannot protect its national if it the national is guilty of wrongdoing. However, a State can make statements on behalf of companies holding the nationality of the applicant.

b)      No action of a State shall be admissible if the individual has not previously exhausted all remedies provided by the laws of the State concerned.

c)      An act that harms the compatriot should be unlawful in relation to international law (denial of justice, unjustified delay in its administration, or judgment against the law). Furthermore, another condition is the “right conduct” (“clean hands”) by the compatriot, i.e., the compatriot has not caused by his own behaviour the alleged damage.

6. With regard to commercial arbitration, it is evident that with rising frequency it is gaining ground as a flexible, fast, reliable and effective resolution of commercial disputes. Progress is evident in this field, especially in the Americas, where arbitration features within the constitution of several countries, through the incorporation of universal and regional treaties relating to arbitration and by the adoption of new laws or reform of existing laws that govern them.

7. This evolutionary process has been instrumental to the point that virtually all Latin American countries have conducted or have gone to international arbitration.

8. The major legal barriers that have traditionally prevented arbitration from becoming the most effective to resolve international commercial disputes in Latin America have now been suppressed. The process has finally found a solution consonant with the legal bodies of countries around the world, especially those most familiar with the practice of this effective dispute settlement procedure.


Editor’s Note: Credits to Amb. Manuel Morales Lama

58. Challenges to diplomatic representation

15 Apr

Challenges to diplomatic representation

 1. The international prestige of the country depends increasingly on the coherence of its foreign policy and the proper attitude of its officials in the foreign service, particularly their loyalty and their ability and talent to safeguard and promote the interests of their nation.

2. It is clear that a thorough knowledge of international relations coupled with prudence and consistency also generates authority and the necessary strength to defend the interests of the state itself.

3. The new international calls for a multidisciplinary approach to address contemporary challenges where coordination problems require diplomacy and strategy underpinned by internal consensus. An effective diplomacy requires clear and precise goals, in addition to the skilful use of modern means of communication and objective perception of the current international issues.

4. The State, by the same sense of responsibility, consonant with the public trust given to it by its citizens, should be represented abroad by its “more worthy” citizens who also are required to have proper training and experience in diplomacy, and also skills essential to ensure effective management.

5. Thus, a State can project an adequate and reliable image by effectively facilitating the understanding of the idiosyncrasies, culture and levels of social development of its nationals, essential for obtaining certain foreign policy objectives in the current era of knowledge and global information.

6. Aptly, the efforts of the economic thrust and trade today form an essential part of the diplomatic activity of a considerable number of countries, especially regarding trade promotion, to channel foreign investment into the country and also to provide protection and assistance of their nationals abroad in these fields.

7. In practical terms, to perform his tasks properly, the head of a diplomatic mission should be properly informed about the state of relations between the State he represents and the receiving State (or international organisation), and the results his State intends to derive from such relationships as a whole. Regarding specific issues, the mission must at least be provided with the general instructions that will guide all its actions in each particular case.

8. A streamlined foreign policy must be implemented with a highly professional foreign service accustomed to working with a consistent sense, and in accordance with strategic guidelines set out by the government. Those persons working in the foreign service must continue to develop themselves professionally and must inculcate qualities of discipline, order and persistence.

9. The safeguarding and promoting the interests of the country abroad and also its international image and prestige are delegated responsibilities of the foreign service. Without a duly established professional diplomacy, the diplomatic staff of a foreign mission tends to be an unpredictable diversity, with obvious consequences. These include the limited ability to effectively take advantage of opportunities and to adequately address the risks posed by the new international environment.

10. Modern diplomacy must keep in mind that mankind lives in the third wave, advocated by Alvin Toffler, in which the future is built from the resources of knowledge, human intelligence and technology.

Editor’s Note: Credits to Amb. Manuel Morales Lama

57. Diplomatic assistance and protection

4 Apr

Diplomatic assistance and protection

1. In contemporary international relations, actions that most often challenge diplomatic and consular representatives are undoubtedly those that relate to the protection function. These are particularly with respect the responsibility to care and protect their nationals residing temporarily or permanently in the receiving State, as established by international legal instruments and domestic legislation.

2. The protection function of diplomatic representatives includes the responsibility to safeguard, promote and protect the interests and rights of the State they represent.

3. Significantly, the interests of a State must not to be confused with those of its nationals. Part of the obligations of the ambassador is to ensure respect for the dignity of the country he represents and this takes precedence over those of its nationals, whether individuals or businesses. Thus, no State may be obliged to defend the interests of an individual or a community to the detriment of the interests of the country as a whole.

4. Protection is recorded as a vital role in the diplomatic mission in the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations. Such protection is exercised both in the defence of the sending State and of its nationals, and also of the ships and aircraft flying the flag of the sending State.

5. A diplomatic mission may also protect the interests of those States and their nationals, ships and aircraft, for which the sending State has assumed international representation in the receiving State, as specified in the aforementioned Vienna Convention.

6. Historically, non-nationals were extended protection by certain diplomatic missions when in the receiving State there was no diplomatic representation of their State or of their nationality.

7. As a diplomatic function, the exercise of protection by the respective State means that is usually done by a permanent diplomatic mission, but also by special missions or through direct diplomacy with the appropriate authorities. The protection would be excluded as a diplomatic role when performed by other means with various possible international authorities, either from its inception, as well as a continuation of a first performance started by a diplomatic mission.

8. Consular protection, as reflected in the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations, is not limited only to extreme cases. It covers a variety of services offered to compatriots, such as the tasks of guidance, providing information and making representations to local authorities.

9. For the implementation of international action to protection nationals the action in the receiving State that harms the fellow countrymen should be unlawful in relation to international law, such as denial of justice, undue delay in its administration, or sentence against the law.

10. In addition, there should be established “the standard of effective nationality,” that is, there must be a genuine relationship between the individual and the State concerned. A State cannot protect one of its nationals if the person also has the nationality of the State in which he/she is guilty of wrongdoing.

11. A State through it diplomatic mission may also make statements or representations on behalf of companies registered in the said State of if the owners are its nationals.  Any exercise of protection will be acceptable if prior to the particular claim the companies have not exhausted all remedies offered by the law of the State against which a particular claim is filed.

12. A diplomatic representative can visit imprisoned nationals and may ensure their proper legal defence or request clarification from the local authorities, within the limits permitted by international law.

13. Legal protection is part of the international responsibility of States. International law establishes three forms of reparation for the national upon being cleared of all instituted charges. These are: restitution, compensation and satisfaction.

14. Obviously, a State cannot protect its nationals against the application of the law of another State if this application is made under equal conditions for all inhabitants of that country.

15. It is important to note that because of the complexity and importance, improvisations and mistakes that may occur during the protection exercise, unpredictable damage and other consequences may result to the detriment of relations between the concerned States.

Editor’s Note: Credits to Amb. Manuel Morales Lama

56. The Charge d’Affaires

22 Mar

The Charge d’Affaires

1. In the absence of a head of mission from the country of post, the mission appoints a charge d’affaires, a term used for preserving the tradition of using French for certain aspects of diplomacy.

2. In the field of diplomatic law there are two categories of charge d’affaires. These are the “ad hoc” and the “ad interim (a.i)”

3. The charge d’affaires ad hoc is a “permanent” head of mission unlike the charge d’affaires ad interim who, obviously, is a “temporary” head of mission.

4. A charge d’affaires ad hoc is appointed when the sending State desires to maintain a mission lower in category than a normal embassy for an extended period either for political reasons or protocol. This official is accredited by a letter signed by the Foreign Minister of the sending country to be delivered in a simple ceremony by the official to the Foreign Minister of the receiving State for accreditation. However, before the official travels to the receiving State, the sending State must first obtain the agrément from the former.

5. The diplomatic mission accredits a charge d’affaires a.i. temporarily in the receiving State or international organisation by sending a diplomatic note to the Foreign Ministry of the receiving State (or to the executive head of the international organisation). Due to the principle “non potest legatus delegare,” the charge d’affaires a.i. cannot transfer the position to another official in the mission.

6. On the return of the ambassador, the position of charge d’affaires terminated, and the usual practice is for the mission to send a diplomatic note to the Foreign Ministry of the receiving State informing of the ambassador’s presence at post.

7. The charge d’affaires a.i. is a member of the diplomatic staff of the mission who occupies the position of head of the Mission during the ambassador’s temporary absence, whether for vacation or official travel, or in the period between the final departure of the ambassador and the presentation of credentials of his successor. In certain cases, a charge d’affaires a.i. may also be appointed when the ambassador is absent for a lengthy period due to illness, even though he is not away from the host State.

8. This type of charge d’affaires, despite its interim nature, may perform functions for long periods, especially when the sending State has “called home” the ambassador for an undetermined period (to express displeasure or because of significant disagreement with the receiving State) among other reasons.

9. For countries with a rigorous diplomatic service, the position of charge d’affaires a.i. is usually performed by the official of the Mission holding the rank just below the level of ambassador, by the career official with the highest ranking in the mission. However, there have been cases of governments appointing “politically loyal” officials in missions to such positions even though they might not have held the highest ranking.

10. A military attaché is not usually appointed to the position as charge d’affaires a.i.

Editor’s Note: Credits to Amb. Manuel Morales Lama

55. External Action of the State

6 Mar

External Action of the State

1. Progress and effectiveness in the rules and procedures applied in the external action of the State have been the result of an ongoing evolutionary process in the field of international relations.

2. Its principles represent the accumulated experience of successive generations of notable writers and eminent foreign policy implementers (professional diplomats) who have managed to demonstrate the advantages of consensus versus confrontation in preserving and promoting national interests as they implement the foreign policy of their country.

3. What differentiates diplomacy from other forms of external action is the use of negotiation and other peaceful means as opposed to the use of force as an instrument of foreign policy.

4. The emergence of open diplomacy, breaking the “myth of state secrets,” has created a scenario that allows the participation of various factors that influence the formulation and monitoring of the actions of the foreign policy, such as the public and the media. The latter now have an essential role in the “new” practice of public diplomacy. No doubt, enlightened and convinced public opinion can help to strengthen the State’s foreign policy and its diplomatic skills.

5. The international projection of a country is determined, inter alia, by the quality of its diplomacy, the proper selection of representatives abroad and the strengthening and professionalization of the officials in the foreign service (and the Foreign Ministry).

6. Effective diplomatic representation requires special qualities such as being a genuine representative of the country by being faithfully committed to defending the fundamental interests of the nation. The representation is also required to be equipped with the vocation of service which shall provide, as appropriate, adequate protection of nationals abroad.

7. Most importantly, it must be properly trained to carry out negotiations (at various levels) and, equally essential, to promote and develop of economic, trade, cultural and scientific relations. It must also have the skills for monitoring and reporting within the limits permitted by international law.

8. In assuming responsibility in a foreign post, a diplomat is required to follow the faithful observance of principles, rules and procedures that provide consistency and respectability in conducting his activities. This will assist in consolidating affinities, overcoming differences and encouraging cooperation.

9. The duties of the head of a diplomatic mission include the establishment of management controls that are intended to ensure that officials under his charge faithfully discharge their responsibilities. He may be required to produce annual management plans which should clearly define the objectives and actions as well as programmes on every aspect of their responsibility and jurisdiction. These will allow both the Mission and Foreign Ministry to coordinate easily with each other with respect to the former’s programme.

10. Effective diplomacy requires clear and precise goals and adequate perception of the current international context as well as consistent knowledge of the interests of the nation and how to comply effectively with the obligation to safeguard and promote them.

Editor’s Note: Credits to Amb. Manuel Morales Lama

54. Challenges of today’s diplomatic language

20 Feb

Challenges of today’s diplomatic language

1. Diplomacy is an instrument of performance in promoting the foreign policy of the State. It is an activity whose efficacy, since ancient times, has required an intelligent, thorough and timely action on the part of the diplomatic agents.

2. In no way diplomacy could be a simple free exchange of friendly words and procedures. Much more than that, it is essentially the application of intelligence and tact to the conduct of relations among States. Consequently, the diplomat must be an effective negotiator and, according to contemporary requirements, an effective commercial developer, among other functions inherent in his responsibilities.

3. Unlike other communication systems, the network of diplomacy by its nature cannot be neutral in the service of the respective interests, skills and even occasional rivalries. In this context, it is clear that a genuine representative of a State, acting professionally, cannot compromise in any way on the very existence of his nation.

4. In practical terms, effective diplomatic communication involves interpretation of messages and words, and even of the “signs” and gestures. The diplomat has to be able to understand the meaning of the interruption of communication, silence and withdrawal of the other party in a discussion, and even the exaggeration of his compliments.

5. The so-called “professional language of diplomacy” is basically a cautious form of expression that gives the opportunity for the diplomat to remain calm and unruffled when that proceeding is in the interest of his State. This language has proved to be the only tool that allows, through cautious gradations, a properly formulated serious warning to his counterparts without using unnecessary threatening words.

6. An agreed “diplomatic style” of communication is used in oral and written presentations of that character. For centuries, in a gradual process, the exercise professional diplomacy has been creating expressions, idioms and literary terms required to interact properly, not only in the diplomatic task, but also in diverse international settings.

7. There is always the need for tact in the execution of diplomacy by using a number of conventional phrases in diplomatic communication. Thus, when a president, a foreign minister or head of diplomatic mission informs another that his government “cannot remain indifferent” to certain international controversy, it is clear he means that his government will intervene in that dispute. If his letter or speech uses phrases such as “the government of my country is disturbed,” or “view with grave concern,” then it is obvious that the government he represents intends to take an aggressive stance in that particular case.

8. By cautious gradations, the diplomat can properly make an important caveat in speaking with a representative of another State on very serious security matters. There are even times when he can raise his voice without being impolite and non-conciliatory. If he says, “My government would be inclined to carefully reconsider its position,” this means that friendship is about to break. When he says “the government of my country feels obliged to express reservations with respect to . . .” a particular situation, he actually means that “the government of his country will not allow” that situation to continue.

9. The expression “in that case my government will be forced to consider its own interests” or “to declare itself free of commitments” means that the other side must expect a deterioration in the relationship. If a foreign government is put on notice that a certain action on its part would be considered “as an unfriendly act,” that government must interpret the words as an unspoken threat to action, a fact recognized by the international community. In that sense, when a government says it “is compelled to decline all responsibility for the consequences,” this means it is about to cause an incident that will lead to action of enforcement. And if a government asks, in terms of the most exquisite politeness, for an answer, for example, “before noon on the tenth day,” its communication is then considered an ultimatum.

10. There is no doubt that diplomatic language is correct and successful when used carefully and selectively. If this procedure is neglected, it can aggravate and even generate new levels of “unforeseeable consequences.”

Editor’s Note: Credits to Amb. Manuel Morales Lama

53. Challenges of the peaceful settlement of conflicts

29 Jan

Challenges of the peaceful settlement of conflicts

1. Although by its very nature the international legal order is evolutionary, it is now necessary for international law to generate new rules and mechanisms to ensure an effective response to the new phenomenon of the threat to state security by terrorism which some describe as worse than the wars of the past.

2. The new forms of terrorism cause massive damage to human life and property aim their attacks on centres of political and economic power of global society and in some cases their actions actually receive the support of certain States.

3. New technologies have placed in the hands of small groups a destructive potential previously only available to some States. This new form of terrorism can be described as “the privatisation of war.”

4. Based on the nature of international crime that is represented by global terrorism and the uniqueness of the international responsibility that combating it entails, it can be inferred that fighting it will require adaptation of the international legal system to the new situation. This is urgently necessary since there are still significant aspects of law not covered by the international legal instruments governing the prosecution of perpetrators and supporters of global terrorism.

5. Without doubt, the international legal order established in San Francisco in 1945 has changed. The Charter of the United Nations continues to be the regulatory framework with which the use of force in modern times is applied by the international community. But it should be noted that the principle of prohibiting the use of force as enshrined in the Charter does not provide an effective response against this new threat of global terrorism.

6. One of the great challenges of the international community has been and still is today, to achieve by peaceful means the effective resolution of conflicts or disputes that frequently arise between States. In this regard, in the present international legal order the use of weapons is permitted only for self-defence, individually or collectively – that is to say that war has “no reserve” in the current international legal order.

7. The UN Charter has established the most desirable methods of peaceful settlement of international conflicts, while authorising its member States to choose the system that they feel are most appropriate. There are two kinds of arrangements: the “diplomatic-political” and legal. In the first, which is the oldest, the methods of solution most frequently used are: direct negotiation or settlement, the good offices, mediation and conciliation, commissions and research. On the other hand, the legal means are arbitration and judicial settlement.

8. According to Article 39 of the United Nations Charter, the Security Council is the body responsible for taking measures to remove threats to peace, breach of it, or qualify an act of aggression.

9. If all peaceful methods are exhausted, the situation opens the possibility of using coercive means. Methods that have been established as coercive in nature and based on collective decision include: retaliation, foreclosure, closing of borders, boycott, the rupture of diplomatic relations, and retaliation.

10. Advances in the field of peaceful settlement have been augmented with advances in related fields, such as disarmament and collective security. Furthermore, a State’s recognition and respect for fundamental human rights assists in this process.

11. The methods of peaceful settlement, in general, are proposed to solve the problem or dispute before it causes major consequences for the affected States and to world peace. Based on the fact that the fundamental mission of international law is to establish order and justice in international relations, it is essential that international law preserves the tendency to subordinate a State or a group of States that threaten world peace to the political power and force of the international community.

Editor’s Note: Credits to Amb. Manuel Morales Lama

52. The conclusion of treaties

28 Jan

The conclusion of treaties

1. In the practice of international relations, the treaty has gained primary importance. The process for the conclusion of treaties has been the result of persistent work, which for centuries has gradually forged the foundations of the present procedure aimed at achieving the required effectiveness in implementing the key international legal instruments.

2. The 1969 Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties specifies that “every State possesses the capacity to conclude treaties.” The conclusion of treaties is enabled by the power of State sovereignty. (The power to conclude treaties is also extended to public international organisations.) Under its sovereignty, the State determines the internal organs and legal procedures to be involved in negotiating treaties in the international arena.

3. The conclusion of treaties is the result of understandings freely entered into between two or more States (or between these and other subjects of international law with the capacity to do so, or between such other subjects) to voluntarily consent to negotiations aimed to create, define, establish, modify or terminate a legal relationship  between them.

4. The validity of a treaty depends greatly on the ability (and consent) of the parties to conclude an agreement and implementation it. In essence, treaties are the legal instruments of the highest contract between States.

5. The procedures for the conclusion of treaties have both internal and external aspects. External procedures include negotiation the project, drafting the final document, the signing and exchange of ratifications (or the deposit of ratifications, in the case of a multilateral instrument) and registration. The internal procedures involve legislative approval, ratification of the Executive and the publication in the Official Gazette.

6. In practical terms, it should be noted that the staff assigned to participate in the negotiation phase of the conclusion of a treaty must have full knowledge of the issues to be negotiated. In accordance with the particular complexity and importance of the negotiation techniques, it is expected that the negotiators are adequately trained in those methodologies and, of course, must be firmly committed to defending the fundamental interests of the nation. In this phase outside consultants may also participate, and in some cases, representatives of civil society whose expertise and experiences have a direct bearing on the issues that are negotiated.

7. Those involved in the conclusion of a treaty must be fully aware of the provisions contained in the Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties (1969) which governs the matter essentially between States, including the rules of interpretation and appropriate parameters for the prevention and resolution of conflicts arising from the implementation of treaties.

8. They must also have an adequate understanding of the Vienna Convention of 1986 governing all matters relating to other international instruments between States and international organisations or between the latter. They should also be fully aware of the discipline known as the Law of Treaties (the universe of public international law), containing among other relevant aspects, the principles, standards and procedures for the conclusion of treaties.

9. While the generic term commonly used to refer to this category of international commitments is “treaty,” it can assume different names in accordance with certain aspects recognised by international law, without altering its legal or ethical powers these. Consequently, the treaty can be called: convention, agreement, union, pact, partnership, agreement, protocol, proceeding, concordat, exchange of notes, exchange of letters, “modus vivendi,” among others.

10. Undoubtedly, treaties have become a means of limiting international randomness, consecrate the conciliation of interests, stabilise the balance of power and provide assurances within a fluid and changing environment.

11. Treaties, currently the most objective source manifesting the consent of States, must be in writing in accordance with the principles and rules established by international law to which they are all legally bound.

Editor’s Note: Credits to Amb. Manuel Morales Lama

51. Economic Diplomacy

20 Jan

Economic Diplomacy

1. As part of the State’s foreign policy, economic affairs and trade are now being given greater priority. Indeed, these areas are now key factors in the development of contemporary international politics.

2. “Economic diplomacy” has become an inseparable part of the conventional diplomacy. Actually, a diplomacy that does not promote economic development risks having its role devalued in the modern State.

3. While traditionally the cooperation and the maintenance and strengthening of international peace and security have been and still are today essential objectives of diplomacy, it is clear that economic and commercial aspects are fundamental parts of the diplomatic activity of a considerable number of countries. This activity is essentially related to investment, exports, the role of protection and assistance in these areas, and also the promotion of tourism.

4. In the field of modern diplomacy, globalization and the technological revolution demand change and effective adaptation of the traditional roles and responsibilities of the Ministries of Foreign Affairs. These should be based on the necessary professionalization of the diplomatic function, and include the task of reconciling, through institutional mechanisms, actions that formerly belonged exclusively to them with other ministries (or governmental agencies ) that handle areas such as economic matters and trade.

5. Links should also be established with non-State actors including business executives, civil society representatives and NGOs with the aim of maintaining a constructive dialogue and cooperation in order to achieve economic objectives linked to national interests.

6. For a State, its economic power, the dynamism of its trade and its presence in global markets, allow alliances and resolve conflicts much easier than if it did not have such clout. However, the political benefits of an active trade diplomacy are not instantaneous, nor are there always economic dividends arising from political friendships.

7. The political power of a State does not rest solely and directly on economic parameters.  A State must coherently combine the capacity to trade with operations in other fields and all must be linked to greater social cohesion. It is the versatility and the synthesis of all these factors which provide the political clout of a State.

8. Professional diplomacy is most suitable for this synthesis, to the extent that it can use its political weight in favour of businesses and investments and bring political and economic benefits to its nationals abroad.

9. In practical terms, within the framework of the Foreign Ministries, central management of these actions is usually the competence of a deputy minister. While in the embassy is run by the ambassador, often there is an attaché who is exclusively responsible for these functions. This officer could be designated as “adviser” to give more relevance to his work, which consists essentially of advocacy, analysis and evaluation, and the duty to inform, assist and advise.

10. Clearly, economic and commercial diplomacy should be a key State project that requires a strong background of the diplomats from a multidisciplinary perspective. Their specialised work, to be effective, requires constant updating of knowledge and techniques and procedures. It is also essential for them in this exercise to ensure appropriate consistency in the identification of sustained national economic interests abroad in order to allow for effective economic diplomacy outside of the State.

Editor’s Note: Credits to Amb. Manuel Morales Lama