Friday, 20 May 2011

Multi-Track Diplomacy

Multi-track diplomacy stemmed from the inefficiency of pure government mediation. It is an extension of Track I and II diplomacy which has been widely used in conflict resolution for decades. By the 1990s as intrastate conflicts worsened the ineffectiveness of solely employing Track I diplomacy in obtaining international cooperation or conflict resolution became apparent. Hence, former diplomat Montville developed Track II diplomacy in order to include citizens with variety and skills into the mediation process.

Basically, Track I diplomacy is official government-to-government diplomatic communication and interaction whereas Track II diplomacy is the unofficial interaction and intervention of individual persons or bodies acting independently of a state or government. After realizing that grouping all Track II activities in one category did not encapsulate the convolutedness or scale of unofficial diplomacy, the co-founder of the Institute for Multi-Diplomacy (IMTD) Dr. Louise Diamond invented the term “multi-track diplomacy”. By 1991 both McDonald and Diamond had extended the number of Tracks to IX, take a closer look at Tracks III-IX by clicking on the image below:

According to the IMTD, the benefits of Tracks II to IX diplomacy is that they aid create an atmosphere that will welcome positive change carried out by Track I diplomacy and they ensure that government decisions are executed as they should be. The IMTD highlights that no one track is more important than the other. Each track has its own resources, principles, and methods, but they are all connected and function more effectively when they are coordinated. For instance, IMTD use its systems-based-approach by acknowledging that deep-rooted conflicts cannot be solely left in the hands of government officials. Non-governmental actors, civil society and other unofficial routes must be included in order to achieve long-term change. The IMTD carry out numerous projects worldwide and since 1992 have instigated and enabled a variety of conflict resolution and transformation projects in Europe, South Asia, Sub-Saharan Africa and the Middle East. Have a look at some of their open, general and closed projects here:

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