Disaster Diplomacy Publications
in association with
Disaster Diplomacy Publications Index
Kelman and Koukis (2000)
Kelman, I. and T. Koukis (eds). 2000. 'Disaster Diplomacy', special section in Cambridge Review of International Affairs (edited by Charlotte Lindberg Clausen), vol. XIV, no. 1, pp. 214-294:
Preface in Kelman and Koukis (2000) (edited from the original with permission)
Do natural disasters induce international cooperation amongst countries that have traditionally been 'enemies'? This notion of Disaster Diplomacy has never been fully addressed despite its potential to significantly impact international affairs.
The occurrence or threat of natural disasters creates opportunities to facilitate better cooperation or relations amongst states in conflict through fostering linkages which otherwise might not have existed. The cooperative spirit generated from common efforts to deal with disasters--through either perceived necessity or choice from the humanitarian imperative--possibly overrides pre-existing prejudices, breaking down barriers which then may never be rebuilt. Even when the initiative derives from only the general populace, it could influence bilateral and multilateral relations in areas such as trade, environmental management, and cultural exchange.
As a result of this process, certain conditions may be created for economic, political, or ideological divides and conflicts to be gradually superseded by cooperative structures and mechanisms. 'Spillover' from merely technical or scientific collaboration or humanitarian assistance to successful diplomatic rapprochement could occur. Alternatively, perhaps nothing except changes at the highest level will ever eradicate deeply entrenched interstate enmity, with the inertia of Disastrous Diplomacy being the usual state of affairs.
This section embraces the challenge of examining which prerequisites and circumstances could yield a successful transformation, due to natural disaster, of international relations by investigating specific case studies covering three natural disasters--earthquakes, drought, and the El Niño phenomenon--on three continents in order to provide a valid empirical basis for hypothesising on the concept of Disaster Diplomacy. These case studies are then analysed in the context of a theoretical model which could assist in identifying when and why Disaster Diplomacy would occur.
"Greek-Turkish Rapprochement: The Impact of 'Disaster Diplomacy'?"
This article challenges the widely held view that the Greek-Turkish rapprochement of 1999 was the direct result of the collaboration following the earthquakes that hit both countries that year. The high-level political and diplomatic efforts which form the basis of the improved relations and which preceded the earthquakes are examined. The article goes on to provide a detailed account of the efforts at governmental and non-governmental levels to mitigate the effects of the disasters and illustrates the impact of the two disastrous events on public perceptions of the ‘enemy’ and on bilateral relations. In this context, the author warns against the simplistic assumption that diplomatic efforts should be causally linked with the occurrence of disasters. Instead, he asserts that disasters may have a multiplying and legitimising effect on diplomatic rapprochement.
For further material, see the Greece/Turkey case study.
"Climate-Related Disaster Diplomacy: A US-Cuban Case Study."
This article traces the history of climate-related cooperation between the US and Cuba as a possible example of disaster diplomacy. It identifies and analyses the areas of present interactions and conflicts, as well as potential diplomatically-sanctioned cooperation between the two countries, with particular respect to the ENSO cycle (El Niño-Southern Oscillation cycle, which incorporates El Niño and La Niña), and the extreme meteorological events that it spawns. Currently, US and Cuban government disaster collaboration is limited to the hurricane season and to monitoring and forecasting the development of storms in the tropical Atlantic. Based on careful examination of extensive empirical material, the article concludes that while disaster diplomacy may be successful in some regions, it has little chance of success in the US-Cuban context in the absence of a rapprochement between the leaders of these two political systems.
Michael Glantz presented "Disaster Diplomacy" at the seminar "Hurricanes Through Time: From Pre-Columbian Beliefs in the Caribbean to Modern Scientific Discovery" at the Smithsonian Center for Latino Initiatives on Friday 18 February 2000, held at the S. Dillon Ripley Center (Lecture Hall) at 1100 Jefferson Dr. SW, Washington, D.C., U.S.A., 20560. This seminar was a product of the Smithsonian Center for Latino Initiatives Hurakan Project.
For further material, see the Cuba/USA case study.
"Drought Emergency, Yes...Drought Disaster, No: Southern Africa 1991-93."
This article analyses the rapid political change and redefinition of a regional identity in southern Africa in the 1990s in the context of the severe drought which affected these countries 1991-92. As South Africa and its neighbours looked towards the normalisation of relations, concerted, regional, emergency actions prevented the drought conditions from producing a devastating drought disaster. These events not only served as a confidence-building measure demonstrating that southern Africa can coherently function as a region to avert crisis, but also provided the first opportunity for the former adversaries to successfully cooperate on (non-military) security matters. Nonetheless, although this case study illustrates that positive diplomatic initiatives can result from disaster relief efforts, the drought cannot be seen as the main driving force behind the normalisation of relations between South Africa and its neighbours.
"Disaster: Agent of Diplomacy or Change in International Affairs?"
Disaster is presented as a process of transition which changes relations both within and among states engaged in mitigation and response. The article advances the concept of complex adaptive systems (CAS) as an analytical tool that captures the high degrees of complexity and dynamics characteristic of potential or actual disasters. Consequently, the three case studies in this special section of the Cambridge Review of International Affairs which analyse critically the argument for disaster diplomacy as an opportunity to increase cooperation among rival states are re-examined in a CAS framework. Based on the application of CAS to the case studies, the article concludes that creative diplomacy for disaster reduction is most effective at the 'edge of chaos', that narrow region where there is sufficient structure to hold and exchange information, but also sufficient flexibility to adapt new alternatives to meet urgent needs.
Mandel, R. 2002. "Security and Natural Disasters". Journal of Conflict Studies, vol. XXXII, Fall 2002, pp. 118-143.
In this article, the author:
Kelman, I. 2003. "Beyond Disaster, Beyond Diplomacy". Chapter 7, pp. 110-123 in Pelling, Mark (ed.), Natural Disasters and Development in a Globalizing World, Routledge, U.K.
In this chapter:
The conclusion is that disaster management, international development, environmental management, and international affairs strongly intersect and interact, hence all must be considered at all spatial scales to develop appropriate solutions.
Kelman, I. 2005. "Tsunami Diplomacy: Will the 26 December, 2004 Tsunami Bring Peace to the Affected Countries?". Sociological Research Online, vol. 10, issue 1, http://www.socresonline.org.uk/10/1/kelman.html
Disaster diplomacy examines whether or not disasters induce international cooperation amongst enemy countries. The 26 December, 2004 tsunami around the Indian Ocean impacted more than a dozen countries, many with internal or external conflicts, thereby providing an opportunity to explore how the same event affects different countries in different disaster diplomacy contexts. Two groups of case studies are presented: those from which few disaster diplomacy outcomes are likely and those which warrant monitoring and investigation. Indonesian tsunami diplomacy is used as a case study for further discussion, in terms of both American-Indonesian relations and the conflict in Aceh. Further work is suggested in the tsunami's aftermath in order to understand better the disaster diplomacy outcomes which are feasible and why they rarely yield positive, lasting results.
For further material, see the Indian Ocean tsunami 26 December 2004 case study.
Weizhun and Tianshu (2005)
Weizhun, M. and Q. Tianshu. 2005. "Disaster Diplomacy: A New Diplomatic Approach?". Shanghai Institute For International Studies International Review, Spring 2005, pp. 111-124 (in Chinese).
Abstract (translated from Chinese)
Civilization and ingenuity are the inherent demands of diplomacy. As we are in a world where disasters occur frequently, it is on the agenda how to deal with the relations between the state hit by disasters and other states in order to stimulate the efficacy of diplomacy better. Disaster Diplomacy is an optional approach for both the state hit by disasters and others. The practice of Disaster Diplomacy has a great influence and actual values on improving national and international interests. Disaster Diplomacy is flexible and multiform yet uncertain and there are some restrictions in the process of diplomatic practice. Disaster Diplomacy can also promote the Chinese role "as a responsible and powerful country".
Revised and re-published as:
Weizhun, M. and Q. Tianshu. 2005. "Disaster Diplomacy: A New Diplomatic Approach? The Apocalypse of the Indian Ocean Earthquake and Tsunami". World Politics and Economy (Chinese Academy of Social Sciences), vol. 6 (in Chinese).
Abstract (translated from Chinese)
Civilization and ingenuity are the inherent demands of diplomacy. As we are in a world where disasters occur frequently, it is on the agenda how to deal with the relations between the state hit by disasters and other states in order to stimulate the efficacy of diplomacy better. Disaster Diplomacy is an optional approach for both the state hit by disasters and others. The practice of Disaster Diplomacy has a great influence and actual values on improving national and international interests. Disaster Diplomacy is flexible and multiform yet uncertain and there are some restrictions in the process of diplomatic practice. Disaster Diplomacy can also promote the Chinese role "as a responsible and powerful country". We would make an annotation according to the international activities after the Indian Ocean Earthquake and Tsunami.
For further material, see the China/Taiwan case study.
Barston, R.P. 2006. Modern Diplomacy, Pearson Education Limited, Harlow, Essex, U.K.
Chapter 9 Environmental diplomacy: case examples.
Chapter 8 Disaster and emergency diplomacy.
Kelman, I. 2006. "Acting on Disaster Diplomacy". Journal of International Affairs, vol. 59, no. 2, pp. 215-240.
Previous disaster diplomacy literature provides limited discussion regarding how disaster diplomacy might be operationalised; that is, how to turn the knowledge, theory, and experience which exists into action. This paper contributes to filling that gap by identifying pathways of disaster diplomacy which could occur or which could be selected. A set of possibilities is provided as a disaster diplomacy toolkit from which tools could be selected to develop action frameworks that are specific to each situation and to each actor's interests. The toolkit consists of pathways which either promote or inhibit disaster diplomacy.
After past work is summarised, disaster diplomacy theory is elaborated by providing a new typology and then the new theory is placed in the context of two recent case studies: India/Pakistan following the 8 October 2005 earthquake and Eritrea/Ethiopia from 1999 to 2002 during droughts. Next, practical ways of using or not using disaster diplomacy are described by exploring disaster diplomacy failings and how those failings could be overcome or exacerbated by using the disaster diplomacy toolkit. The paper concludes by summarising the limitations and prospects of disaster diplomacy. Overall, disaster diplomacy has a significant impact, but realistic expectations are necessary to understand what this process can and cannot do--and what it should and should not do.
Kelman, I. 2006. "Island Security and Disaster Diplomacy in the Context of Climate Change". Les Cahiers de la Sécurité, vol. 63, pp. 61-94.
This paper explores how inter-state relationships could be affected when extreme events exacerbated by climate change cause concerns for island security through potential evacuation. The focus is "disaster diplomacy", how disaster-related activities do and do not bring together enemy states, by examining the influence on inter-state relations of islander evacuation due to climate change. Two main areas are examined. First, possibilities are reviewed for re-creating island communities, either by becoming integrated into another state or by re-creating their island community on existing land or on newly created land. Second, the resulting operational ethics issues are explored, incorporating consequent legal questions. The ethical-legal themes covered relate to the responsibility, funding, decision-making authority, and prioritization of sovereignty for island evacuees.
The results lead to four interlinked conclusions. First, islands can lead to significant inter-state concerns and deserve more prominence than they usually receive. Second, the discussion applies beyond extreme events exacerbated by climate change, suggesting that climate change is only one component within all island security concerns. Third, disaster diplomacy continues to yield mixed results, with disaster-related activities rarely creating new diplomacy, but providing a potential for catalyzing existing diplomatic processes. That potential is not always realized. Finally and overall, climate change compounds already-existing security threats facing islands and forces those threats onto inter-state relations with mainly failures in subsequent disaster diplomacy; however, climate change exacerbated extreme events do not introduce new or unique island challenges.
Kelman et al. (2006)
Kelman, I., M. Davies, T. Mitchell, I. Orr, and B. Conrich. 2006. "Island Disaster Para-diplomacy in the Commonwealth". The Round Table: The Commonwealth Journal of International Affairs, vol. 95, no. 386, pp. 561-574.
Reprinted as I. Kelman, M. Davies, T. Mitchell, I. Orr, and B. Conrich, 2009, "Island Disaster Para-Diplomacy in the Commonwealth", Chapter 6, pp. 73-86 in G. Baldacchino and D. Milne (eds.), The Case for Non-Sovereignty: Lessons from Sub-National Island Jurisdictions, Taylor and Francis, London, U.K.
This paper presents a first exploration into disaster paradiplomacy for sub-national island territories, conceptualising the notion and its actual execution. Following a brief theoretical background, an overview of the legal parameters and actual practices is provided by means of case studies in island disaster paradiplomacy drawn from the Commonwealth. De facto instances of island disaster paradiplomacy occur, but opportunities for doing so are often not pursued, even when encouraged by easier logistics or by inadequate assistance from the island’s governing state.
Kelman and Gaillard (2007)
Kelman, I. and JC Gaillard. 2007. "Disaster diplomacy in Aceh". Humanitarian Exchange, No. 37 (March 2007), pp. 37-39.
This paper summarises disaster diplomacy in Aceh after the 26 December 2004 earthquake and tsunami.
For further material, see the Indian Ocean Tsunami 26 December 2004 case study.
Le Billon and Waizenegger (2007)
Le Billon, P. and A. Waizenegger. 2007. "Peace in the Wake of Disaster? Secessionist Conflicts and the 2004 Indian Ocean Tsunami". Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers, vol. 32, no. 3, pp. 411-427.
This paper explores the impact of 'natural' disasters on armed conflicts, focusing on the evolution of secessionist conflicts in Aceh and Sri Lanka following the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami. Most studies suggest that 'natural' disasters exacerbate pre-existing conflicts. Yet whereas conflict did escalate in Sri Lanka within a year of the tsunami, in Aceh hostilities unexpectedly ended within eight months. Drawing on a comparative analytical framework and semi-structured fieldwork interviews in Aceh, the study points to the importance of spatial dimensions in explaining diverging political outcomes in Aceh and Sri Lanka, focusing on the reshaping of governable spaces following the tsunami.
For further material, see the Indian Ocean Tsunami 26 December 2004 case study.
Kelman, I. 2007. "Hurricane Katrina Disaster Diplomacy". Disasters, vol. 31, no. 3, pp. 288-309.
Hurricane Katrina struck the United States at the end of August 2005. The consequent devastation appeared to be beyond the US government's ability to cope with and aid was offered by several states in varying degrees of conflict with the US. Hurricane Katrina therefore became a potential case study for 'disaster diplomacy', which examines how disaster-related activities do and do not yield diplomatic gains. A review of past disaster diplomacy work is provided. The literature's case studies are then categorised using a new typology: propinquity, aid relationship, level and purpose. Hurricane Katrina and its aftermath are then placed in the context of the US government's foreign policy, the international response to the disaster and the US government's reaction to these responses. The evidence presented is used to discuss the potential implications of Hurricane Katrina disaster diplomacy, indicating that factors other than disaster-related activities generally dominate diplomatic relations and foreign policy.
For further material, see the Hurricane Katrina case study.
Brancati, D. 2007. "Political Aftershocks: The Impact of Earthquakes on Intrastate Conflict". Journal of Conflict Resolution, vol. 51, no. 5, pp. 715-743.
Although many scholars, policy makers, and relief organizations suggest that natural disasters bring groups together and dampen conflicts, earthquakes can actually stimulate intrastate conflict by producing scarcities in basic resources, particularly in developing countries where the competition for scarce resources is most intense. Capitalizing on a natural experiment design, this study examines the impact of earthquakes on intrastate conflict through a statistical analysis of 185 countries over the period from 1975 to 2002. The analysis indicates that earthquakes not only increase the likelihood of conflict, but that their effects are greater for higher magnitude earthquakes striking more densely populated areas of countries with lower gross domestic products as well as preexisting conflicts. These results suggest that disaster recovery efforts must pay greater attention to the conflict-producing potential of earthquakes and undertake certain measures, including strengthening security procedures, to prevent this outcome from occurring.
Response to this paper
Kelman, I. 2007. "Letter to the Editor". Journal of Conflict Resolution, vol. 51, no. 6, p. 973, full text (38 kb in PDF) available as per the copyright agreement with the journal.
Gaillard et al. (2008)
Gaillard, JC., E. Clavé, and I. Kelman. 2008. "Wave of peace? Tsunami disaster diplomacy in Aceh, Indonesia". Geoforum, vol. 39, no. 1, pp. 511-526.
This paper uses the disaster diplomacy framework to address the impact of the 26 December 2004 tsunami disaster on the decades-long conflict between the Free Aceh Movement (GAM) and the Government of Indonesia. This framework enables the identification of a couple of micro-factors of great importance to secure field momentum for the peace talks. These factors include informal networks being created plus disaster relief and diplomacy occurring at multiple levels through multi-way processes and the position of GAM dedicated to reconstruction activities. This paper further shows that, in the case of Aceh, the disaster had a deep influence on the peace talks between GAM and the Indonesian government and on the eventual implementation of the peace agreement reached. However, the tsunami disaster should not be considered to be the sole vector of peace in Aceh, but only as a powerful catalyst of diplomatic talks since negotiation between both sides were ongoing before the disaster and were favoured by recent changes in the political environment. Twenty-eight months after the tsunami catastrophe, it is actually non-disaster and internal political factors which are likely to have a more significant impact on the long-term resolution of the Aceh conflict. One important outcome is that it appears that the slow, unequal and often poor reconstruction process is not hindering, or even threatening, the peace process because tsunami disaster related factors are less important for peace than non-tsunami disaster related factors, a finding in line with previous disaster diplomacy case studies.
For further material, see the Indian Ocean Tsunami 26 December 2004 case study.
Enia, J. 2008. "Peace in its Wake? The 2004 Tsunami and Internal Conflict in Indonesia and Sri Lanka". Journal of Public and International Affairs, vol. 19, spring 2008, pp. 7-27, full text (129 kb in PDF).
Almost every recent natural disaster that has occurred within a zone of conflict has been followed by expressions of hope from both diplomats and journalists that the disaster might somehow lead to peace. In order to assess whether the concept of "disaster diplomacy" has any merit, more systematic comparative research is needed, contrasting cases where disaster diplomacy seems to have been present with cases where it has not. As a step in this direction, this article explores the differing outcomes with respect to the separatist conflicts in Indonesia and Sri Lanka that followed the 2004 tsunami. In each of these cases, the tsunami provided an opportunity for separatist groups to supply critical public and private relief goods and thereby send a powerful signal about the functional legitimacy of their respective claims to autonomy. In this way, the tsunami affected the separatists’ relative bargaining strength, creating an atmosphere more inclined toward peace in Indonesia and renewed civil war in Sri Lanka. The differing narratives suggest that the world pay more attention to post-disaster conflict zones given their positive and negative dynamic potential.
For further material, see the Indian Ocean Tsunami 26 December 2004 case study.
Nel and Righarts (2008)
Nel, P. and Righarts, M. 2008. "Natural Disasters and the Risk of Violent Civil Conflict". International Studies Quarterly, vol. 52, pp. 159–185.
Does the occurrence of a natural disaster such as an earthquake, volcanic eruption, tsunami, flood, hurricane, epidemic, heat wave, and/or plague increase the risk of violent civil conflict in a society? This study uses available data for 187 political units for the period 1950–2000 to systematically explore this question that has received remarkably little attention in the voluminous literature on civil war. We find that natural disasters significantly increase the risk of violent civil conflict both in the short and medium term, specifically in low- and middle-income countries that have intermediate to high levels of inequality, mixed political regimes, and sluggish economic growth. Rapid-onset disasters related to geology and climate pose the highest overall risk, but different dynamics apply to minor as compared to major conflicts. The findings are robust in terms of the use of different dependent and independent variables, and a variety of model specifications. Given the likelihood that rapid climate change will increase the incidence of some types of natural disasters, more attention should be given to mitigating the social and political risks posed by these cataclysmic events.
Second Annual Convention of the Consortium of Non-Traditional Security Studies in Asia, 10-11 November 2008, Conference Hall, Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, Beijing, China, Panel on Disaster Diplomacy:
Akcinaroglu et al. (2008)
Akcinaroglu, S., J. M. DiCicco, and E. Radziszewski. 2008. "Avalanches and Olive Branches: Natural Disasters and Peacemaking between Interstate Rivals". A 2008 update of a paper prepared for the Annual Meeting of the International Studies Association, February 27 - March 3, 2007 in Chicago, Illinois, full text (229 kb in PDF) posted here with the kind permission of Elizabeth Radziszewski.
Do natural disasters pacify rival states? If so, how? Natural disasters are hypothesized to serve as catalysts of peacemaking when public support for improved relations is activated by compassion for the rival. Compassion is more likely in the absence of routine, rival-related violence, including communal violence, because the presence of such violence serves only to reinforce fear and intolerance of the rival. When violence is not present and catastrophe strikes, ordinary people may respond with compassion and tolerance toward the rival, creating an impetus for rapprochement. Disaster events, then, are shocks that create opportunities for a warming of relations between rivals, but rapprochement remains elusive unless there is a willingness to make peace – a willingness that can arise only in the absence of violence. Content analysis and time-series analysis are utilized to demonstrate the extent to which natural disasters effect rivalry change in two cases, the India-Pakistan and Greece-Turkey rivalries. Novel data analysis demonstrates support for the disaster-induced rapprochement phenomenon, but only in one of two cases. Comparative case study analysis demonstrates that the presence of violence in the India-Pakistan case helps account for the divergent outcomes.
The following paper emerged from this work:
Akcinaroglu, S., J. M. DiCicco, and E. Radziszewski. 2011. "Avalanches and Olive Branches: A Multimethod Analysis of Disasters and Peacemaking in Interstate Rivalries". Political Research Quarterly, vol. 64, no. 2, pp. 260-275.
Multimethod analysis of earthquakes’ effects in two enduring rivalries demonstrates that natural disaster can promote rapprochement, political steps toward warmer relations that make it difficult for interstate rivalry to continue. Public expression of compassion and support for rapprochement create audience costs for leaders who otherwise would maintain hostile policies toward the rival state. However, routine violence, including communal violence, discourages public support for postdisaster cooperation and rapprochement. Content analysis and time-series analysis of rivalry change in two cases, India–Pakistan and Greece–Turkey, demonstrate these phenomena, and comparative case study analysis shows that communal violence helps account for divergent outcomes between the two cases.
Snyder, A.J. 2008. Is There a Silver Lining? Long-Term Changes in International Cooperation Levels After a Natural Disaster. Masters dissertation, University of Georgia, Athens, Georgia, U.S.A., full text (392 kb in PDF)
A majority of previous studies on disaster diplomacy has been limited to short-term case studies. This study advances disaster diplomacy by increasing the number of disasters investigated, as well as incorporating international relations cooperation theoretical arguments to test possible consequences of offering aid to an afflicted state. Using Joshua Goldstein's conflict-cooperation scale, the thesis compares the average cooperation level one year pre-disaster and average cooperation levels post-disaster over a two year time period. This is done to determine if disaster-related assistance by a donor state to an afflicted (recipient) state leads to greater long-term cooperation between the recipient and the donor state. Fifty-five cases are drawn from natural disasters that occurred from 1992 to 2002 in which at least 50,000 people were left homeless. Preliminary results suggest that the offer of aid increases the probability of future positive average cooperation levels.
Fink and Redaelli (2009)
Fink, G. and S. Redaelli. 2009. Determinants of International Emergency Aid Humanitarian Need Only?. World Bank Policy Research Working Paper WPS4839, East Asia Human Development Department, Social Protection Division, The World Bank, Washington, D.C., U.S.A.
The authors use an original data set covering more than 400 recent natural disasters to analyze the determinants of international emergency aid. Although humanitarian need is a major determinant of emergency relief payments, the results imply that political and strategic factors play a crucial role in the emergency aid allocation. On average, donor governments favor smaller, geographically closer, and oil exporting countries, and display significant biases in favor of politically less aligned countries as well as toward their former colonies. The authors also test and reject the independence of donors' aid decisions, finding strong evidence for bandwagon effects in humanitarian assistance.
Gaillard et al. (2009)
Gaillard, JC, I. Kelman, and M.F. Orillos. 2009. "US-Philippines Military Relations After the Mt Pinatubo Eruption in 1991: A Disaster Diplomacy Perspective". European Journal of East Asian Studies, vol. 8, no. 2, pp. 301-330.
This paper explores the impact of the 1991 Mt Pinatubo eruption on the US-Republic of the Philippines military relations through the lens of disaster diplomacy. Disaster diplomacy focuses on how and why disaster-related activities (e.g. mitigation, prevention and response) do and do not yield diplomatic gains, looking mainly at disaster-related activities affecting diplomacy rather than the reverse. Disaster diplomacy 'pathways', identified in previous studies, help to explain how the Filipino and US governments approached the negotiations for renewing the lease of the US military facilities in the Philippines in the context of two bases being damaged by a volcanic eruption. The paper further addresses six underpinning questions of disaster diplomacy for this case study. These questions assist in answering this paper's central research question: how much did the 1991 eruption of Mt Pinatubo influence US-Philippines military cooperation due to the concurrent diplomatic talks between the two governments regarding the lease renewal for the US bases in the Philippines? The answer is that disaster-related activities due to the Mt Pinatubo eruption had a short-term impact on US-Philippines diplomacy. This impact was seen in the context of significant connections already existing, through the long-standing US-Philippines military links. Over the long-term, non-disaster factors had a more significant impact on US-Philippines military diplomacy than Mt Pinatubo, adding to the list of case studies for which disaster diplomacy's impact was limited.
Perry et al. (2009)
Perry, C.M. with M. Travayiakis, B. Andersen, and Y. Eisenberg. 2009. Finding the Right Mix: Disaster Diplomacy, National Security, and International Cooperation, Institute for Foreign Policy Analysis, Cambridge, Massachusetts, U.S.A.
Yim et al. (2009)
Yim, E.S., D.W. Callaway, S. Fares, and G.R. Ciottone. 2009. "Disaster Diplomacy: Current Controversies and Future Prospects". Prehospital and Disaster Medicine, vol. 24, no. 4, pp. 291-293.
In this editorial, the authors rightly point out that "disaster diplomacy lacks a formal definition of principles, metrics of success, a strategy for integration into formal diplomatic efforts, and a dedicated training program for humanitarian agents planning to engage in this form of diplomacy". They then provide some insightful suggestions for moving forward.
Ganapti et al. (2010)
Ganapti, E., I. Kelman, and T. Koukis. 2010. "Analyzing Greek-Turkish Disaster-Related Cooperation: A Disaster Diplomacy Perspective". Cooperation and Conflict, vol. 45, no. 2, pp. 162-185.
This article contributes to the disaster diplomacy literature in examining the conditions under which disasters can lead to long-term disaster-related collaboration (e.g. in disaster response, recovery or risk reduction) at both governmental and non-governmental level among states in conflict. In particular, the article focuses on the role of the 1999 earthquakes in enhancing such collaboration between Greece and Turkey over the past decade. While acknowledging the diversity and complexity of disaster diplomacy situations, the article suggests that disasters can lead to long-term disaster-related cooperation among states in conflict when: (1) one party providing disaster relief to another party is followed by a similar reciprocal gesture (i.e. tit-for-tat diplomacy); (2) there is a realization and acceptance that neighbours should come to each other’s assistance in times of disaster; and (3) there is an enabling broader context (e.g. a rapprochement process) conducive to sustaining the long-term cooperation.
Waizenegger and Hyndman (2010)
Waizenegger, A. and J. Hyndman. 2010. "Two solitudes: Post-tsunami and Post-conflict Aceh". Disasters, vol. 34, no. 3, pp. 787-808.
In August 2005, after the devastating tsunami in the Indian Ocean Basin, a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for the cessation of hostilities was signed by Aceh’s longstanding adversaries--the Government of Indonesia and the Free Aceh Movement (GAM). The tsunami was a major catalyst for 'disaster diplomacy'--international political pressure, which, this paper argues, was an important ingredient in creating conditions for the MoU, although the situation within Aceh also shaped the peace process. Based on interviews conducted in 2006 and 2007 with government officials, GAM representatives and fighters, and non-governmental organization staff in Aceh, this paper finds that assistance for tsunami survivors far exceeds that available for conflict survivors and ex-combatants. The formation of these two solitudes--the tsunami-affected and the conflict-affected—compounds challenges for sustaining peace in Aceh. This research points to an enduring lack of livelihoods for former fighters and conflict victims that may threaten a sustainable peace.
Nelson, T. 2010. "When disaster strikes: on the relationship between natural disaster and interstate conflict". Global Change, Peace & Security, vol. 22, no. 2, pp. 155-174.
This article asks under what circumstances natural disaster can lead to interstate conflict initiation. Through an analysis of all major earthquakes, floods, storms, and tsunamis between 1950 and 2006, I find that serious disaster increases the general likelihood of conflict initiation, and I reach two key conclusions about the specific causal mechanisms driving post-disaster conflict. First, I show that there is not a single instance of a rival or opponent state taking the opportunity to initiate military conflict in the aftermath of serious disaster. This finding supports the developing literature on 'disaster diplomacy'. Second, there are, however, cases in which states with a recent history of significant civil disruption initiate such conflicts themselves. In these situations, disaster can contribute to the conflict environment and can make conflict initiation significantly more likely. I find that, counter-intuitively, it is the very states most vulnerable and most weakened by disaster that are likely to initiate conflict in a post-disaster environment.
Nelson, T. 2010. "Rejecting the gift horse: international politics of disaster aid refusal". Conflict, Security & Development, vol. 10, no. 3, pp. 379-402.
This is a study of the increasingly common phenomenon of developing states refusing some or all international aid following serious natural disaster. Aid refusal by the Myanmar junta following a 2008 cyclone is only the most recent prominent example of this practice, and I present here an original dataset of all cases of disaster aid refusal occurring between 1982 and 2006. Through quantitative analysis, I show that although poorer states are indeed less likely to refuse aid than wealthier states, recipient need does not alone drive the decision-making process. Nor are autocratic regimes any more or less likely to refuse aid than democratic regimes. Rather, just as recently transitioned states have been shown by other scholars to be particularly likely to engage in military conflict, I find that they are also particularly likely to publicly and explicitly refuse aid and insist on their own ability to handle disaster relief and recovery. Aid refusal, much like aid provision, is at its core a political act.
Kelman, I. 2010. "Tying Disaster Diplomacy in Knots". Chapter 3, pp. 59-73 in G.T. Overton (ed.), Foreign Policy in an Interconnected World, Nova Publishers, Hauppauge, New York, U.S.A.
Disaster diplomacy (http://www.disasterdiplomacy.org) examines how and why disaster-related activities, such as preparedness before a disaster or response after a disaster, do and do not reduce conflict and induce cooperation. The wide variety of case studies has led to efforts to create typologies for them in order to seek a predictive model indicating the circumstances under which various forms of disaster diplomacy will and will not manifest. The most common outcome is that, for influencing diplomacy, disaster-related factors are dwarfed by non-disaster factors. That is, the main observation is that disaster diplomacy rarely succeeds, leading to the main prediction that disaster diplomacy is unlikely to have many successes.
A key element in the general failure of disaster diplomacy so far, and the challenge of robust predictions beyond the overarching conclusion of the general failure, is the number and diversity of the influences on disasters, on diplomacy, and on their interconnectedness. In particular, disaster diplomacy prior to a disaster tends to fail because the parties dealing with disaster risk reduction prefer to separate their work from diplomacy. That is, they wish to reduce interconnectedness. In contrast, disaster diplomacy following a disaster tends to fail due to too many disaster-related and diplomacy-related players with multiple relationships at multiple levels. That is, too much interconnectedness exists to permit the development and maintenance of strict links between disaster-related activities and diplomacy.
Overall, hope seems to be misplaced in disaster diplomacy to resolve either disaster or diplomacy challenges. Even so, optimism is still feasible for disaster-related activities providing a useful connection point to pursue long-term reduction of enmity. Foreign policy in an interconnected world means that disaster diplomacy might rarely be at the top of the foreign policy or disaster risk reduction agendas, but the extensive interconnectedness nonetheless leads to opportunities for positive disaster diplomacy results.
Olson and Gawronski (2010)
Olson, R.S. and V.T. Gawronski. 2010. "From Disaster Event to Political Crisis: A '5C+A' Framework for Analysis". International Studies Perspectives, vol. 11, no. 3, pp. 205-221.
Why is it that some authorities, governments / administrations, and even entire regimes emerge from disasters more popular and politically stronger, while most appear to emerge less popular and politically weaker, sometimes fatally so? This paper argues that the often problematic political consequences of disasters can be understood more fully by seeing them as "Maslowian Shocks" with strong revelatory components where public estimation of government disaster response may be analyzed along six "5C+A" dimensions: capability, competence, compassion, correctness, credibility, and anticipation. The paper then illustrates the 5C+A framework with a set of cross-national examples and public opinion data from a 2001 post-earthquake survey in El Salvador.
Régnier, P. 2011. " The emerging concept of humanitarian diplomacy: identification of a community of practice and prospects for international recognition". International Review of the Red Cross, vol. 93, no. 884, pp. 1211-1237.
In recent years the term ‘humanitarian diplomacy’ has become fashionable among humanitarian organizations in general, and within the Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement in particular. However, the very idea of ‘humanitarian diplomacy’ is not uncontroversial, owing to the imprecise and contested nature of the term, and to its unclear operational application. The present article proposes to explore the definitions and scope of action of humanitarian diplomacy, as well as some of the challenges that it faces, with a view to preparing the way for its eventual recognition by the international community.
Rodella-Boitreaud and Wagner (2011)
Rodella-Boitreaud, A.-S. and N. Wagner 2011. 'Natural' Disaster, Conflict and Aid Allocation. Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies Working Paper, No: 09/2011, The Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies, Geneva, Switzerland.
This paper looks into aid allocation in the response to multiple crises, focusing more specifically on the cases of concomitance between so-called 'natural' hazard/disaster and conflict situations. Over 150 natural disasters have occurred alongside complex political crises in the past seven years alone. Yet, the fields of conflict and disaster research remain largely isolated from one another, and in fact, no aid related research has addressed the issue of the concomitance of conflict and disaster. We exploit a large panel dataset that includes official development aid, and information about the victims from natural disasters and conflicts for 112 developing countries over a period of 35 years. For eight different donor countries and groups of donor countries we find that while conflict does not affect their aid allocation patterns, the occurrence of natural disasters does. The econometric analysis demonstrates that aid allocation needs to be analyzed in a disaggregated fashion - for each donor individually- as donors clearly have different agendas. Applying GMM techniques we account for the endogenous nature of the control variables such as per capita GDP. In addition we use the relative size of the youth cohort as exogenous instrument for conflict.
Callaway et al. (2012)
Callaway, D.W., E.S. Yim, C. Stack, and F.M. Burkle, Jr. 2012. "Integrating the disaster cycle model into traditional disaster diplomacy concepts". Disaster Medicine and Public Health Preparedness, vol. 6, no. 1, pp. 53-59.
Disaster diplomacy is an evolving contemporary model that examines how disaster response strategies can facilitate cooperation between parties in conflict. The concept of disaster diplomacy has emerged during the past decade to address how disaster response can be leveraged to promote peace, facilitate communication, promote human rights, and strengthen intercommunity ties in the increasingly multipolar modern world. Historically, the concept has evolved through two camps, one that focuses on the interactions between national governments in conflict and another that emphasizes the grassroots movements that can promote change. The two divergent approaches can be reconciled and disaster diplomacy further matured by contextualizing the concept within the disaster cycle, a model well established within the disaster risk management community. In particular, access to available health care, especially for the most vulnerable populations, may need to be negotiated. As such, disaster response professionals, including emergency medicine specialists, can play an important role in the development and implementation of disaster diplomacy concepts.
Maciver, C. 2012 (December). Disaster Diplomacy: A Brief Review, Strategic Applications International, Washington, D.C. U.S.A.
This report is a solid critical analysis summary of disaster diplomacy work up until then.
Nelson, T. 2012. "Determinants of disaster aid: donor interest or recipient need?" Global Change, Peace & Security, vol. 24, no. 1, pp. 109-126.
This article examines the motivations behind the provision of disaster aid. Is this aid provision driven more by ‘humanitarian’ variables such as the severity of the political or natural emergency in the recipient state or 'political' variables such as the economic or strategic interest of the donor state? Through a statistical analysis of the aid activity of 22 donor states between 1997 and 2008, it is found that, contrary to much of the literature on humanitarian aid in general, humanitarian variables are consistently significant predictors of disaster aid provision. However, certain political variables are also significant, in that donor states provide more disaster aid to trading partners, former colonies, and military allies.
Eastin, J. 2012. "Combat Eruptions: Natural Disasters and the Risk of Civil Conflict". Prepared for the University of Washington International Security Colloquium, 9 March 2012, University of Washington, Seattle, Washington, U.S.A.
Kreutz, J. 2012. "From Tremors to Talks: Do Natural Disasters Produce Ripe Moments for Resolving Separatist Conflicts?". International Interactions: Empirical and Theoretical Research in International Relations, vol. 38, no. 4, pp. 482-502.
This article suggests that natural disasters can produce a ripe moment for conflict resolution because governments faced with the demand for effective disaster relief have incentives to offer concessions to separatist challengers. An analysis of the prevalence of new negotiations, ceasefires, and peace agreements during 12-month periods before and after natural disasters for separatist dyads 1990–2004 reveal some support for this proposition. Natural disasters increase the likelihood that parties will initiate talks or agree to ceasefires but have less effect on the signing of peace agreements. In line with the proposed mechanism, these results are particularly strong in democracies and following more severe disasters where the need to provide relief is most acute.
Mavrogenis and Kelman (2013)
Mavrogenis, S. and I. Kelman. 2013. "Perceptions of Greece-Turkey Disaster Diplomacy: Europeanization and the Underdog Culture". Balkanistica, vol. 26, pp. 73-104. Full text (136 kb in PDF).
This paper supplements disaster diplomacy work on Greek-Turkish rapprochement following the 1999 earthquakes by examining perceptions of post-earthquake developments in the process. Semi-structured interviews in Greece and Turkey identified two new elements influencing Greece-Turkey disaster diplomacy, with the role of non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and the media being highlighted. First, for the political élite in both countries, Europeanization since 1996 formed a foundation supporting post-earthquake policy changes in Greece-Turkey bilateral relations. Second, at the grassroots level, the earthquakes catalyzed social change, overcoming perceptions of being an underdog that had bred mistrust within both sides. These two elements formed the root cause of the rapprochement that was permitted to move forward due to the opening created by the earthquakes, confirming previous work that the earthquakes did not create the diplomacy.
Kelman and Conrich (2013)
Kelman, I and B. Conrich. 2013. "A Framework for Island Disaster Para-Diplomacy". Chapter 9, pp. 192-217 in Sensarma, Suman Ranjan and Atanu Sarkar (eds.), Disaster Risk Management: Conflict and Cooperation, Concept Publishing, New Delhi.
Island disaster para-diplomacy refers to non-sovereign islands dealing with state governments other than their governing state and international agencies for disaster-related activities, covering pre-disaster actions and post-disaster actions. Based on past island-related disaster diplomacy work, this chapter details three case studies in which island disaster para-diplomacy has had potential: Nevis in the Caribbean, Tristan da Cunha in the South Atlantic, and Tikopia and Anuta in the Pacific. Based on these case studies, six issues important to non-sovereign islands are highlighted to provide a starting framework for analysing further case studies: sovereignty, transportation access, natural resources, population size, ability to engage in para-diplomacy, and loyalty to the governing state. Then, the future of island disaster para-diplomacy is suggested as being most relevant for creeping environmental changes within the context that all forms of disaster diplomacy tend to show disaster-related activities catalysing, rather than creating, diplomatic activities.
Warnaar, M. 2013. "Shaken, Not Stirred: Iran's Foreign Relations and the 2003 Bam Earthquake". Chapter 11, pp. 238-267 in Sensarma, Suman Ranjan and Atanu Sarkar (eds.), Disaster Risk Management: Conflict and Cooperation, Concept Publishing, New Delhi.
This chapter analyses Iran/USA relations in the context of the 2003 Bam, Iran earthquake.
Chan, H.-y. 2013. "Crisis Politics in Authoritarian Regimes: How Crises Catalyse Changes under the State–Society Interactive". Journal of Contingencies and Crisis Management, vol. 21, no. 4, pp. 200-210.
Most studies and research on crisis management and government crises focus on nations that are advanced and democratic. Through the institutionalized mechanism of voting, the public can respond to a government’s handling of a crisis without destabilizing the democratic system of government. However, the consequences of crises, particularly governance crises, in authoritarian regimes have not been adequately addressed. Drawing upon different frameworks in the field, this paper proposes a heuristic crisis development ladder and a state–society interactive framework more relevant for studying crisis management in authoritarian nations such as China. By focusing on the catalytic effect of crisis that accelerates reforms and changes, this paper argues that critical crises are politically powerful and decisive in authoritarian systems, especially in the context of an increasingly proactive civil society. This paper illustrates the crisis provoking politics that influences decision-making under non-democratic rule.
Hollis, S. (2014) "The global standardization of regional disaster risk management". Cambridge Review of International Affairs, vol. 27, no. 2, pp. 319-338.
Natural disasters have become a heightened security issue in the last decade. Mitigating and responding to disasters, such as the 2004 tsunami in Southeast Asia and the 2011 earthquake in Japan, reflect a new security agenda that has spread across the globe and infiltrated most regional organizations. At first glance, the creation of regional programmes on disaster risk management (DRM) appears to be driven by the functional preferences of states. However, a comparison of ten regional organizations reveals some curious ambiguities. Despite different threat perceptions, financial budgets and geographical environments of regional organizations, a majority of states have formed DRM programmes that exhibit highly standardized features in terms of language, the referent points of protection and the apparent motivations for cooperation. World society theory is used to explain these striking similarities with reference to the global cultural system. This article also illustrates the analytical purchase of world society theory in understanding cooperation through regional organizations.
Streich and Mislan (2014)
Streich, P.A. and D.B. Mislan. 2013. "What follows the storm? Research on the effect of disasters on conflict and cooperation". Global Change, Peace & Security, vol. 26, no. 1, pp. 55-70.
In the last decade the concept of disaster diplomacy has drawn interest to the links between major natural disasters and international conflict. This paper reviews the disparate set of works covering this relationship. This body of work, which draws on multiple disciplinary traditions extending over three generations, holds vast potential for political scientists that seek to understand the intersection of ecological catastrophe and politics. The latest wave of publications has the greatest potential to yield valuable and generalizable insight into political phenomena as well as to produce practical knowledge for disaster-related organizations and agencies, policymakers, and citizens. This paper reviews the three generations of literature and then makes suggestions along three lines of argument: (1) refining definitions of variables, (2) refining the concept of 'disaster diplomacy', and (3) using existing theories and concepts of interstate conflict.
Ghimire et al. (2015)
Ghimire, R., S. Ferreira, and J.H. Dorfman. 2015. "Flood-Induced Displacement and Civil Conflict". World Development, vol. 66, pp. 614-628.
Large, catastrophic floods intensify environmental scarcity and can lead to mass displacement from affected areas. The sudden and mass influx of migrants could increase the risk of social tensions in receiving areas. In this paper, we analyze the impact of the displacement induced by large floods on civil conflict using historical data for 126 countries during 1985-2009. Our results suggest that while the displacement caused by large floods did not ignite new conflicts, it fueled existing conflicts. This effect was larger in developing countries and it receded with time, vanishing five years following the flood.
Kelman, I. 2016. "Catastrophe and Conflict: Disaster Diplomacy and Its Foreign Policy Implications". Brill Research Perspectives in Diplomacy and Foreign Policy, vol. 1, no. 1, pp. 1-76.
Examines how and why disaster-related activities (disaster response and disaster risk reduction) do and do not lead to diplomatic endeavours. With respect to foreign policy implications, the main question examined here is: Under what circumstances could disaster diplomacy be actively made to succeed or not to succeed? Previous case studies are summarised followed by new case studies of disease diplomacy and climate change diplomacy. From the case studies, disaster diplomacy could succeed when those in power decide that they want it to succeed and then use their power for that goal. This situation is not likely to arise because of only disaster-related activities. Instead, pre-existing interests supporting diplomacy are needed.
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