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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2.3.5 The Madrid Declaration on Science Diplomacy

In December 2018, a group of worldwide high-level experts on science diplomacy gathered in Madrid to celebrate the 1st S4D4C Global Networking Meeting “EU science diplomacy beyond 2020”. As a result of their discussions, they endorsed the publication of “The Madrid Declaration on Science Diplomacy”.

This document aims to foster agreement and raise awareness about the need to strengthen science diplomacy strategies and practices world-wide for the support of universal scientific and democratic values. Including science and technology as key dimensions of foreign policy and international relationships at different political levels would undoubtedly bring benefits for the joint scientific endeavour, but also to broaden political and societal objectives.

The Madrid Declaration refuses to strictly define the concept of science diplomacy. Instead, it understands it as “a series of practices at the intersection of science, technology and foreign policy” and highlights its growing importance on a global level.

The endorsers of the declaration firmly believe that:

  1. Science diplomacy is often not fully exploited at all levels of governance, and especially at supranational levels;
  2. More explicit science diplomacy strategies at national and supranational levels would allow for more effective alignment of interests and more efficient coordination of resources.


The Madrid meeting also concluded that the potential of science diplomacy is yet to be fully harnessed, citing the following unrealised science diplomacy benefits:

  1. Actions to address global challenges
  2. To achieve more productive and sustainable international relations at multi and bilateral levels
  3. The use of evidence-informed foreign policies to base on substantive and resilient international agreements, treaties and policies
  4. The improvement of conditions for scientific activities due to the contribution of foreign policy agendas
  5. An improved interface between scientists, policy-makers, diplomats and civil society to remove barriers and foster collaboration, leading to better public policies


Lastly, the Declaration focuses on the principles to foster science diplomacy worldwide:

  1. Value for citizens: governments, diplomats and researchers are encouraged to acknowledge and demonstrate science diplomacy as a fundamental and universal tool to improve international relations in general
  2. Methodological diversity: not all relevant science diplomacy practices are labelled as such, assigning the label is a strategic choice
  3. Demonstrable impact: to the measurement and recognition of the potential effect or impact of science diplomacy activities
  4. Evidence-informed foreign-affairs policies: which can either be content-related (e.g. climate change), context-related or process-related
  5. Collaboration and inclusion: the need to recognize the role of multiple stakeholders in science diplomacy beyond the classical nation-states, which brings new governance and coordination mechanisms that need to be considered
  6. Capacity building: all stakeholders would benefit from exchange and suitable capacity building activities fostering cutting-edge, interdisciplinary and intergenerational spaces.
  7. Independence of science: where science autonomy is respected and not distorted by ideological goals

Endorsing the declaration

Two years after the celebration of this conference, over 165 experts across the globe had endorsed the Madrid Declaration on Science Diplomacy and the document has stirred public and policy debate to deploy better science diplomacy approaches (Cassis 2019). You may learn more about this conference and S4D4C vision of science diplomacy in the topic 3.1.2 The S4D4C approach to science diplomacy: A multi-stakeholder endeavour.

Read more about the Madrid Declaration on Science Diplomacy here:
– S4D4C (2019). The Madrid Declaration on Science Diplomacy. Madrid: S4D4C. (Link)
– Cassis, Ignazio (2019): “Science diplomacy as an innovative tool in our international relations.” Opinion article on Swissinfo.ch #20yearsSWI, 8 Nov. (Link)

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