Regional diplomacy


Regional diplomacy

Regional diplomacy refers to the conduct of relations between countries that belong to an identifiable geographic region. Regional diplomacy (RD) has become a strong force in international relations. Globalization and interdependence have made all states aware, that neighborhood cooperation works to mutual benefit. Small countries see the benefit of numbers, for economic and political advantage. Many regions attempt to emulate successful exemplars, such as the EU, and ASEAN, with varying degrees of success.

We may also call regional diplomacy a form of multilateral diplomacy that is practiced within a closed circle of neighboring states. Of course the term 'region' used in international affairs is a geography-based political construct. No a priory reason exists to determine the contours of a region, and the way a region is defined depends on those that run a particular regional organization. For instance, should Sri Lanka be included in ASEAN? ASEAN beleives that Sri Lanka lies outside what it defines as south east asia, but this is a matter of interpretation. The same applies to the question whether Myanmar (or Burma) belongs to SE Asia or South Asia; it is a member of ASEAN because the members of that organization have so chosen.

Regional diplomacy is of special interest today because in many parts of the world, regional organizations have mushroomed, driven by an urge to pursue stronger economic links, and to use this to improve mutual political understanding, and gain in mutual security. The European Union (EU), now consisting of 27 member states, is the world's most advanced practitioner of regional diplomacy, and a role model in most parts of the world.


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