1. How to Get Started?
2. What Is Science Diplomacy?
3. Who Are the Science Diplomacy Stakeholders?
4. How Does the EU Practice Science Diplomacy?
5. What Are the National, Regional and Thematic Approaches of Science Diplomacy?
6. What Set of Skills Do I Need to Be a Good Science Diplomat?
7. Hands On! Case Studies
8. How Can You Dive Deeper into Science Diplomacy?
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5.4 How to Design a Science Diplomacy Approach

In this module we have shown very different approaches, partly predetermined by the historical circumstances and by political currents in individual countries. In part it is also the regions in which the countries are located which determine the sense and purpose of individual science diplomacy measures. For African countries as well as for some countries in Southeast Asia, completely different approaches are needed to solve certain problems than we need in other highly industrialised countries. Science diplomacy must therefore adapt to the prevailing conditions in order to be effective and of long-term benefit.

Several S4D4C reports (see also Module 7) and science diplomacy scientific papers show that certain aspects of science diplomacy are always recurring. These include

  1. the orientation towards global goals that have been decided upon by many countries and on the basis of international agreements, such as the Agenda 2030 with the SDGs;
  2. the cooperation of countries in international institutions that have been created specifically for this purpose, or the cooperation of national institutions in global or transnational contexts;
  3. the relevant institutions, be it diplomatic or scientific, that are existing at the level of the individual countries or are assigned science diplomacy tasks by political institutions or decision makers;
  4. a number of countries send scientists to diplomatic institutions, form advisory bodies, link the work of scientific think tanks with the political work of decision-making institutions, etc.

All these approaches make a lot of sense, but they are by no means self-evident. The tenor is not yet that science diplomacy is a suitable means and medium for tackling problems in international policy. For the combination of science and politics, which can be very diverse, a certain conviction and spirit are needed.

The decision making process, which goes from an idea to a concrete approach, has many phases. At the beginning there is good will and a good concept, which is documented and institutionalised by the work of many experts and which has a clear and well thought-out objective.

In the S4D4C report “Governance framework report, recommendations, process descriptions and chart” (2020) the authors outline a set of twelve procedural and infrastructural principles that need to be considered to create transformative science diplomacy interactions. Not all are applicable to every situation, but it will be useful to consider combinations of principles in most instances. Depending on the specific situation, it can be possible that several of the principles need to be balanced with each other and that sometimes trade-offs between them are inevitable. The next two topics present an overview of each principle, including their description, key questions and an example.

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