The Case for Science Diplomacy: Q&A with Daryl Copeland

“You can’t call in an airstrike on a warming climate,” said Daryl Copeland, former Canadian diplomat and author of Guerilla Diplomacy, in outlining what he sees as the major challenges facing the multilateral system today.

“You can’t garrison against the encroachment of pandemic disease, and you can’t send out an expeditionary force to occupy the alternatives to a carbon economy.”

Copeland said science and technology-related issues such as these were greater threats than religious extremism and political violence for the United Nations and other multilateral organizations.

Speaking with Global Observatory Editor Marie O’Reilly, he said today’s diplomats weren’t equipped with the skillsets to deal with these types of challenges and argued for the adoption of “science diplomacy.” This would see diplomats working together to advance scientific goals, scientists overcoming strained relations between countries to advance their work, and scientific evidence informing key decisions made by policy makers and politicians.

The conversation was part of a series of interviews done on the sidelines of the inaugural retreat of the Independent Commission on Multilateralism (ICM) on February 19-20.

Listen to the interview: