Independent Diplomat works to improve the diplomatic performance of its beneficiaries across the three pillars of modern diplomacy:
Independent Diplomat helps its beneficiaries navigate complex diplomatic processes by providing strategic political analysis and advice based on a thorough understanding of the diplomatic landscape.
Independent Diplomat’s first project was with the government of Kosovo, which we advised from 2004 to 2007. After the end of Serbian rule, Kosovo remained in legal limbo with no international agreement on Kosovo’s aspirations for an independent state. The process to determine its “final” status was highly charged and controversial and was marked by deep international disagreement. At a time when Kosovo had no foreign service at all, Independent Diplomat digested and relayed key information from the informal grouping of major powers (the “Contact Group”) which controlled diplomacy over the Balkans, helping Kosovo leaders to clearly articulate their needs when negotiating their independence.
ID helped foster Kosovar understanding of this crucial and difficult diplomatic process. It offered a detailed strategy to navigate complex negotiations over issues like cultural heritage, the international security presence and decentralization – which many viewed as essential to stability and the protection of a Kosovo state.
There is always a legal dimension to the diplomatic strategy that ID devises for its beneficiaries. It may be front and center of the strategy or deep background to ID’s advice. ID moreover requires that the groups it works with be committed to the rule of law. By doing so ID contributes to the peaceful resolution of disputes and respect for international human rights law and international humanitarian law.
For example, in December 2011 the Frente POLISARIO scored a significant legal victory when the European Parliament voted to reject the Fisheries Partnership Agreement (FPA) between the European Union and Morocco. This decision affirmed a basic requirement of international law – that any use of Western Sahara’s natural resources had to be with the consent of the Saharawi people. As a result, EU boats fishing off Western Sahara were withdrawn with immediate effect, and the European Commission was forced to reconsider its agreement with Morocco.
The Frente POLISARIO, with ID’s assistance, had laid the groundwork for this legal defense by declaring the maritime zones of the Saharawi Arab Democratic Republic in early 2009. A crucial new legal opinion by the European Parliament’s Legal Service followed several years of forceful and informed POLISARIO advocacy in Brussels which forced a series of votes in the European Council on whether to support a renewal of the fisheries agreement.
Public diplomacy and media strategy
ID works with its beneficiaries so that their public diplomacy strategy reinforces their policy goals. ID’s public diplomacy advice employs the broad array of media and digital tools, including strategic use of speeches and talking points, op-eds, interviews, background briefings, communiqués, statements, social media campaigns, NGO briefings, and events. ID helps the groups it works with to drive the narrative and shape policy.
For example, in the run-up to the 2014 UN General Assembly, ID worked with the Syrian National Coalition to define a diplomatic strategy that worked towards the larger objective of a political solution to the Syrian crisis. A public diplomacy strategy was woven into the diplomatic strategy and continuously and rapidly adapted depending on the outcomes of meetings or changing events on the ground, including the late-night launch of US-led coalition airstrikes in Syria.
Each public-facing opportunity, whether media interviews, speeches, Facebook posts, Tweets, or background conversations, was evaluated for its role in the overarching strategy. ID advised the Coalition on how to use each opportunity effectively and end the week with tangible results.
ID provides integrated advice across these three elements and so helps our beneficiaries to maximise the impact of their diplomacy. In addition, ID offers expert advice to countries and regions seeking to promote inward investment.