Capacity Development Programme for Pacific Island States (CD Pacific)


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Building on the success of CD Pacific, consult our project Capacity Development Programme in Multilateral Diplomacy (CD Multi).

The Capacity Development Programme for Pacific Island States (CD Pacific) was a project aimed to strengthen the participation of Pacific island states in International Geneva-related multilateral diplomacy.  The programme combined the convenience of tutored online learning and research for geographically dispersed participants with the immediate benefits of face-to-face coaching and policy immersion in Geneva. The programme was designed for diplomats and officials from Pacific island states, and had three phases:

CD Pacific was officially launched by the Swiss Minister of Foreign Affairs in Vanuatu, October 26th, 2013.
Please read the press release and see the photos.
  • A six-week interactive online learning phase focussed on topics governed by Geneva-based institutions of special relevance for Pacific island nations (trade, health, environment, etc.)

  • A four-week policy research phase, where participants investigated and analyse topics of particular relevance for their own countries, under the guidance of research tutors

  • A ten-day policy immersion phase in Geneva focussed on building skills for multilateral diplomacy and gaining deeper insight into the workings of Geneva-based institutions

Why was this programme needed?

The geographically remote Pacific small island states strongly depend on international order and law. For some nations, it is a question of their very existence: for example, without effective global action on climate change, states such as Kiribati may disappear because of the rise in sea level. Multilateral diplomacy conducted in International Geneva is particularly important for the social and economic development of Pacific small island states, as Geneva is the main governance hub for issues such as trade, climate change, health, and migration.

Small states with limited geographical, human and financial resources face the challenge of doing more with less: they need to employ all available methods to increase their representation, including networks and alliances, and information technology tools. In addition, diplomats from the Pacific island states often lack the experience and exposure to Geneva-based institutions and processes that would allow them to ensure that the interests of their nations are well represented.

Programme structure (three segments)

1. During the online learning phase, participants attended a six-week online training course delivered using Diplo’s collaborative online learning methodology. The course covered the main diplomatic issues of high relevance for Pacific island states that are governed by Geneva-based institutions:

2. During the online course, participants started planning their individual policy research projects. Each participant selected a topic of relevance to their country, and connected with the multilateral diplomatic scene in Geneva. Following the online course, participants continued their research under the guidance of a research tutor, and with access to expert consultants for advice as needed.

3. The policy immersion phase in Geneva, for the 10 top participants from the online course, include visits to international organisations in Geneva, meetings with officials working on small state issues, discussion of the diplomacy of small island states (main issues and challenges in multilateral diplomacy), and an introduction to International Geneva (main players, approaches, plans). It also had a skill-development element, including a simulation exercise on multilateral negotiations, training on drafting and use of language, and consultancy on the relevance of Geneva’s diplomatic activities to the multilateral diplomacy of the participants’ countries (e.g. the relevance of WTO for Vanuatu).

See photos from the policy immersion at this link.


Jan – Feb 2014

Online learning phase

Feb – Mar 2014

Policy research phase

June 2014

Policy immersion in Geneva (10 days visit to Geneva)
One-day event in Geneva: ‘Effective participation of the Pacific island states in Geneva-based multilateral diplomacy’

July 2014

Project completion – final report

Diplo and small island states

Diplo is informally considered the ‘diplomatic academy of small island states’. Due to physical remoteness, many small island states use Diplo’s online programmes to supplement their own diplomatic training. Diplo has a well-established online course on Diplomacy of Small States and a number of faculty members from small states, including high-level Maltese diplomats with extensive experience in small state diplomacy. Diplo supports research and publications on small state diplomacy (available in the resource repository) and an active network of alumni from small island states, particularly in the fields of climate change diplomacy and Internet governance.

Events held during the policy immersion phase:

Internet as a critical resource for Pacific island states. Event summary now available.

Join us in Bern on 23 June: Development and humanitarian challenges for small island developing states

Publication: Capacity Development Programme in Multilateral Diplomacy for Pacific Island States

CD Pacific in the media

Cook Island News: Cooks’ Trio Learning Diplomacy

PICISOC: Pacific Diplomacy Students in Geneva

Gekocht wird in Genf und serviert in New York

Les îles du Pacifique menacées par le climat jouent leur sort à Genève


For more information about the CD Pacific please contact Dr Tereza Horejsova, Project Coordinator

Email: / Skype: terezahorejsova

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