WHAT IS SCIENCE DIPLOMACY? AN INTRODUCTION
Science Diplomacy, Innovation Diplomacy, Techplomacy, STI Diplomacy and SciTech Diplomacy are all different ways of referring to the same thing: the use of scientific, technological and academic collaborations among countries, regions and societies to address common issues and to build sound international partnerships. Experts use a wide variety of definitions for this concept, nevertheless, science diplomacy has become an umbrella term that includes several kinds of research-based, scientific, academic and engineering exchanges among nations and societies.
The most extended definition, set by the Royal Society and the American Association for the Advancement of Science in 2010, refers to science diplomacy as consisting of three linked strands:
- Science in Diplomacy: where scientific know-how and evidence is used to inform and support foreign policy objectives.
- Diplomacy for Science: where diplomatic efforts and resources are aimed at facilitating international scientific and technical cooperation.
- Science for Diplomacy: where scientific cooperation is used as a source of soft power to strengthen or foster foreign relations.
TOWARDS A CITY-LED SCIENCE DIPLOMACY
A new global order is emerging around cities rather than nation-states and their borders. Big cities are economic, political and innovation powerhouses discreetly transforming the international scene and increasingly bypassing nation-states to create city-centered global policies.
Cities are increasingly interacting with other major global actors and participating ever more in multilateral processes. City diplomacy has become an essential element of urban policy and major networks of cities have a growing relevance on the international stage.
BARCELONA: THE WORLD’S FIRST CITY TO IMPLEMENT A SCIENCE DIPLOMACY STRATEGY
In this exciting context, Barcelona has taken the lead. The Catalan capital, hosts a hundred foreign consulates, being the world’s 4th non-state capital city in terms of consular representation. It also hosts the headquarters of the Union for the Mediterranean, that gathers 43 countries from Europe and the Mediterranean Basin, and it is home of regional offices of relevant international organizations such as WHO Office for Health Systems Strengthening (WHO/Europe), UN-HABITAT City Resilience Profiling Programme (UN-HABITAT/CRPP), Global Water Operator’s Partnerships Alliance (UN-HABITAT/GWOPA), United Nations University Institute on Globalisation, Culture and Mobility (UNU-GCM), and hosts the global headquarters of Global University Network for Innovation (GUNI), European Forest Institute (EFI), and the headquarters of the main international networks of cities and regions such as United Cities and Local Governments (UCLG), Metropolis and MedCities, as well as home of numerous global NGOs and institutes working in international affairs.