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Global diplomacy index 2019

Published: 2nd Dec, 2019

The 2019 Global Diplomacy Index released by the Sydney-based Lowy Institute gives the latest statistics, marking how the world’s diplomatic networks are expanding and, in certain cases, shrinking.


The 2019 Global Diplomacy Index released by the Sydney-based Lowy Institute gives the latest statistics, marking how the world’s diplomatic networks are expanding and, in certain cases, shrinking.


  • The Lowy Institute Global Diplomacy Index visualises the diplomatic networks of all G20 and OECD nations
  • The Index covers 42 nations — the 19 nations that are members of the G20 and the 34 OECD member nations (11 nations are members of both organisations).
  • Posts are classified by type: embassy or high commission, consulate-general, consulate, permanent mission or delegation to multilateral organisations, or other representation type, including delegations to countries where there is no formal diplomatic relationship.
  • The size of a country’s diplomatic network is of course only one indicator of the effectiveness of its diplomacy.
  • According to a research over the past six years, around half of the developed nations in the OECD have reduced their diplomatic footprint over the past decade.

Key highlights of the report

  • China now has more diplomatic posts across the world than the US, a marker of its growing international clout and ambition.
  • China overtook the US in 2019 with 276 embassies and consulates worldwide, which is three more than the US.
  • China’s expansion in worldwide diplomatic presence has come partly at the expense of Taiwan, a self-governing democracy.
  • The next three spots are occupied by France, Japan, and Russia.
  • India is 12th among the 61 countries. India has 123 embassies and high commissions and 54 consulates globally.
  • Taiwan saw the biggest drop in diplomatic posts, down from 22 embassies in 2016 to 15 this year.

Nine Tracks of Multi-Track Diplomacy

Track One: Government, Official Diplomacy

  • Track One sets most of the agenda in the field and has leadership and authority over the peacemaking systems at the official level. Most political peace-building (the making of political agreements, decisions regarding use of force) is done by this track.
  • An issue for this track is that it tends to be elitist and thus hard to reach. It often shuts itself out from expertise and alternative voices in the field, such as NGOs, specialist groups, identity groups, formal and informal citizen groups. It is male dominated. Track One negotiators should be more prepared for dealing with this through multi-lateral negotiation skills training.
  • Examples of Track One organisations:States, official diplomats, the military, government-run development programs (Governmental Organisations), Inter-governmental organisations such as the UN, UNESCO, NATO, the EU, the OSCE, the WEU, The World Bank, The IMF, the FAO

Track Two: Nongovernmental/Professional and Peacemaking through Conflict Resolution.

  • This is the field of professional non-governmental actors and organisations that try to manage prevent and analyse conflict. They come from vastly different backgrounds. Individuals and organisations in this track do mediation, consulting, problem-solving workshops, conferences etc.
  • The single biggest challenge for this track is money.Funders are often looking for product, but conflict resolution specialists are often focused on nurturing a process. Examples are: Search for Common Ground (Conflict Resolution), The Institute for Multi-Track Diplomacy, Pax Christi, Life and Peace Institute.
  • Other professional organisations without a clear conflict resolution agenda are also included in this track like: Doctors without Borders (MSF), the Red Cross, Oxfam, Novib and other Development Organisations.

Track Three: Business, or Peacemaking trough Commerce

  • This is the business world with its potential for peace-building through commerce. The traditional business community is profit-oriented, competitive and conservative. But lately the business community has recognised that peacemaking activities can create more stable environments for business and safety for its employees.
  • Issues for the business community often include environmental responsibility and social responsibility for the countries in which it operates: How to balance profitability with responsibility.

Track Four: Private Citizens or Peacemaking through personal involvement

  • This includes all attempts by private citizens to do peace-building. This could be through citizen diplomacy (exchange programs), voluntary organisations and development programs, advocacy or special interests groups, professional interest groups and democracy-building organisations.
  • This track often includes a wide range of NGOs, local and international. These individuals have a tremendous amount of knowledge of what happens on the ground, although they often have difficulty finding connections with the rest of the peace building system.

Track Five: Research, Training, and Education or Peacemaking trough learning

  • This includes research,
  • academic departments, research institutes and think-tanks
  • Training, transfer of practitioner skills such as: mediation, negotiation, conflict resolution, third party facilitation
  • Education, from kindergarten to Ph.D. programs
  • One of the issues of this track is how to produce and transfer relevant information for practical use in conflicts.

Track Six: Activism, or Peacemaking through Advocacy

  • This track involves environmental and peace activism from disarmament to human rights and socio-economic justice issues. People involved in this track often try to change attitudes, policies or institutions. Most of their work is stated in terms of opposition to certain situations.
  • Often organisations in Track Six are one topic oriented, like Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch in regards to Justice and Human Rights.
  • An argument could be made for placing Amnesty International under track 2 as well. These organisations engage in a whole range of activities: education, advocacy, organising, supporting, witnessing and protesting.
  • Issues for this track include small NGOs relative lack of power, their reputation as 'peaceniks' and way of often defining themselves as 'anti' this or that, as opposed to constructive involvement.

Track Seven: Religion, or Peacemaking through Faith in Action.

  • This includes the efforts of religiously based communities and their efforts to make peace, from small church groups to larger religious communities of different denominations.
  • In many places they are involved in reconciliation processes with a long-term commitment and thus are very well placed as contacts and confidants of conflicting parties.

Track Eight: Funding or Peacemaking through Providing Resources.

  • These are the organisations that provide the financial support for many of the activities that take place on the other tracks, which is a persistent problem.
  • Many funding organisations look for measurable results within a limited amount of time (typical funding cycles are 2-3 years), which can be too little time in many peace-building processes.

Track Nine: Communication and the Media, or Peacemaking through Information

  • This is the realm where public opinion formation takes place through TV, radio, printed media etc. This track informs the public and engages it in issues of conflict and peace.
  • One of the problems related to this field is that the media has a preference for 'bad news' above 'good news'. A successful attempt at preventing an outbreak of conflict, for example the preventive diplomacy between India and Pakistan over Kashmir issue is often not considered 'news' and thus receive criticism in India.

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