Sustainable Development Diplomacy: On the Road to Achieving the SDGs
Sustainable development is one of the great challenges of our time. The unprecedented crisis that we cross today is a blunt reminder of the need for co-operation across borders, sectors and generations. More than ever international assistance is needed to deal with the COVID-19 crisis and its economic and social impacts.
According to the UN Food and Agriculture Organization, nearly 690 million people went hungry in 2019. These numbers will get worse as COVID-19 is pushing millions of people into extreme poverty, and is a serious setback for sustainable development.
This situation calls for a stronger approach toward aid assistance (i.e., development co-operation) and development diplomacy, particularly the co-operation between developed and developing countries. A new understanding of the required steps is needed to make the fight against poverty sustainable.
Both diplomats and practitioners in the field are crucial in making these changes, and they need a good knowledge of what development co-operation is and how it functions since their tasks may include the support to the formulation of policies and strategies, the mobilisation and allocation of funds, and negotiation and monitoring of development interventions.
Most diplomacy programmes cover development issues only briefly so the knowledge and skills offered to diplomats in this field are often limited. This sustainable development course aims to help close this gap.
The 10-week online sustainable development course explores aid assistance and sustainable development as important dimensions of international relations. It looks at various types of development co-operation at national, regional, and global levels from the perspectives of both donor and recipient countries.
The course covers the path to the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and its sustainable development goals (SDGs). New approaches are crucial for achieving the SDGs, especially in regard to COVID-19 and its impacts.
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Open for applications:
Credit: 9 August; Certificate: 6 September 2021
11 October 2021
Certificate: €690; Credit: €850; Scholarships available
Independent Senior Advisor in International Relations, Development Cooperation, and Capacity Development
Ms Dominique Hempel Rodas Independent Senior Advisor in International Relations, Development Cooperation, and Capacity Development
Ms Dominique Hempel Rodas is a Swiss lawyer with more than 25 years experience on issues related to international law, development, and private-public partnerships.
After several years in the private industry where she held different senior positions, including directing a consultancy services firm specialised in international legal and commercial fields, she joined the Swiss Ministry of Foreign Affairs in 1992. First as a legal counsel and programme and country officer for eastern countries, she then headed the Legal Division of the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) from 1994 to 2000.
She was further seconded by the SDC to international organisations and projects (World Health Organization (WHO); The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria; UNDP The Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition (GAIN); and Interpeace) where she occupied diverse leading functions both at the legal level as a senior legal counsel, and the operational level as a senior programme advisor with a focus on Latin America. She returned to the SDC headquarters in 2008 in charge of training programmes, and then became responsible for the topic of capacity development within the SDC and its partners. She is now acting as an independent senior advisor with participation in different institutions working in the development sector.
She is the author of various publications on development co-operation, notably on the right to development. In addition, she has conducted different face-to-face courses and seminars both in Switzerland and overseas on such subjects as democracy, human rights, and rule of law, as well as instruments of development co-operation. Dominique has supported Diplo’s activities since 2002, and participated in its creation as a foundation. She is pleased to join Diplo’s faculty as a lecturer on Sustainable Development Diplomacy.
Research Fellow, Centre for IP and IT Law (CIPIT), Strathmore University, Nairobi
Ms Grace Mutung’u Research Fellow, Centre for IP and IT Law (CIPIT), Strathmore University, Nairobi
Ms Grace Mutung’u researches on information and communications technology (ICT) policy in Kenya and Africa, with specialisation in digital rights, governance, and development. She has been involved in ICT policy development over the past ten years and has been engaged in various projects including Kenya’s country domain administration (.ke) dispute resolution policy; public participation for different policies and laws in the sector; legal compliance; and universal periodic review (UPR) reporting on ICT policies and digital rights in several African countries. She is particularly interested in the use of technologies to achieve the sustainable development goals (SDGs) and is currently studying how national digital ID programmes intersect with development and social justice. She has also worked in political mobilisation and community development, particularly during initial implementation of Kenya’s 2010 Constitution.
Grace is currently a research fellow at the Centre for IP and IT Law (CIPIT) at Strathmore University, Nairobi. She previously visited Berkman Klein Center for Internet and Society as a fellow studying use of the Internet for elections and served as founding trustee for the board of the policy think tank KICTANet. She also provides regular updates on Internet governance developments from Africa for GIP Digital Watch observatory and is participating in several working groups on AI for development. She holds a Master in Contemporary Diplomacy from the University of Malta. Grace is an ardent theatre fan and often seeks dialogue between African literature and digital development.
DiploFoundation (attn Tanja Nikolic)
Anutruf, Ground Floor, Hriereb Street
Msida, MSD 1675, Malta
In 1990, the UN Development Programme (UNDP) described the concept of human development and well-being based on three main pillars: health, education, and standard of living, which directly lead to the elimination of poverty and hunger.
Countries affected by poverty are also likely to be severely affected by crisis and global challenges such as climate change and wasted public resources, which discourages private investment. These circumstances deny the poor the right to education, excluding them from political power, thus perpetuating the cycle.
The fight against poverty and its underlying causes must become sustainable, not temporary. The issues are not just a financial and economic problem, but must encompass social, political, environmental, and cultural elements.
Most diplomats will, sooner or later in their careers, deal with development issues, whether working in a UN mission, an international organisation, an embassy, or a project in a developing country.
There is a growing interdependence between aid assistance and other important foreign affairs topics, both traditional ones (security and trade) and newer ones (including health, environment, water, food security and nutrition, sustainable energy, and migration).
By the end of this sustainable development course, participants should be able to:
Describe major issues and dilemmas in international development co-operation (including the COVID-19 crisis) from the perspectives of both donor (provider) and recipient (partner) countries
Understand the strategies, forms, and principles for facilitating co-operation among partners and implementing programmes
Assess development needs and co-operation opportunities
Argue for and defend the role and potential of aid assistance in today's international relations
Understand the new skills and tools available to development professionals
Advise on the preparation of an ‘aid request’ to be submitted to a donor, and assess co-operation proposals submitted by partner governments or local organisations
Select the most appropriate type of donor for different activities (bilateral, multilateral, or private sources)
Support the monitoring and evaluation of development projects and recommend changes if needed
Understand the scope of the SDGs, the roles of different parties in achieving them, and the societal changes required to meet them
Foster the win-win aspects for both developed and developing countries
Introduction: rationale for the course; goals and structure; definitions and basic concepts (including sustainable development, poverty alleviation, and participation); overview of important modes of bilateral, multilateral and private co-operation.
Types, Forms and Instruments of Development Co-operation: definitions and characteristics of humanitarian aid, development aid, and economic measures, including the interplay among them; analysis of the main methods for each of these forms.
Multilateral Development Co-operation and Diplomacy: main characteristics of multilateral development co-operation; multilateral actors and stakeholders; the roles of multilateral development institutions at country, regional, and global levels; governance of multilateral development institutions; provider and partner country perspectives; recent trends and challenges.
Partner and Provider Country Perspectives: reasons for both partner countries and for public and private providers to implement development programmes; positive and negative consequences of development co-operation; expectations for improvements.
The Role of Diplomats in International Development Co-operation - Tasks and Tools: the specific tasks of a diplomat in development co-operation activities; introduction to some simple tools to assess development co-operation projects and evaluate implementation; reflections on possible dilemmas between traditional diplomatic tasks and those of development co-operation activities.
The Main Principles of the 2000s. From the millennium development goals (MDGs) to the Post-2015 Development Agenda and the sustainable development goals (SDGs): evolution of development since its inception; MDGs progress and shortcomings; the way forward for setting a global development agenda post-2015; new technologies and their impact on and potential for sustainable development.
The Post-2015 Development Agenda and the SDGs: the main principles and characteristics of the SDGs; similarities and differences between the MDGs and the SDGs; progress towards the SDGs; the role of civil society and the business sector in advancing global development; planning, finance and societal change required to meet the SDGs.
The Debate on Development Aid: the question of whether international co-operation works; the most important challenges of development co-operation and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
This course will be of interest to:
Practising diplomats, civil servants, and others working in international relations who want to refresh or expand their knowledge under the guidance of experienced practitioners and academics.
Postgraduate students of diplomacy or international relations wishing to study topics not offered through their university programmes or diplomatic academies and to gain deeper insight through interaction with practising diplomats.
Postgraduate students or practitioners in other fields seeking an entry point into the world of diplomacy.
Journalists, staff of international and non-governmental organisations, translators, business people and others who interact with diplomats and wish to improve their understanding of diplomacy-related topics.
This course is conducted entirely online over a period of ten weeks. Reading materials and tools for online interaction are provided through an online classroom. Each week, participants read the provided lecture text, adding questions, comments and references in the form of hypertext entries. Lecturers and other participants read and respond to these entries, creating interaction based on the lecture text. During the week, participants complete additional online activities (for example, further discussion via blogs or forums, quizzes, group tasks, simulations or short assignments). At the end of the week, participants and lecturers meet online in a chat room to discuss the week’s topic. To complete the course successfully, participants must write several essay assignments. Courses are based on a collaborative approach to learning, involving a high level of interaction.
This course requires a minimum of five to seven hours of study time per week.
Watch Olga Algayerova (State Secretary, MFA of the Slovak Republic) talk about practical skills she acquired attending the Development Diplomacy course.
All course applicants must have regular access to the Internet (dial-up connection is sufficient, although broadband is preferable).
Applicants for certificate courses must have:
An undergraduate university degree OR three years of work experience and appropriate professional qualifications in diplomacy or international relations.
Sufficient ability in the English language to undertake postgraduate level studies (including reading academic texts, discussing complex concepts with other course participants, and submitting written essay assignments of up to 2500 words in length).
Applicants for accredited courses must meet University of Malta prerequisites:
Bachelor's degree in a relevant subject with at least Second Class Honours.
English language proficiency certificate obtained within the last two years (minimum requirements: Internet-based TOEFL (iBT) – 95 (with a writing score of at least 24); IELTS: 6.5 (with a minimum of 6.0 in each element); Cambridge: Advanced Certificate with Grade C or better). Please indicate on the application form if you are still waiting for your English language proficiency results.
Course fees depend on whether you wish to obtain university credit for the course:
€850 (University of Malta Accredited Course)
€690 (Diplo Certificate Course)
Applicants must pay full fees upon official acceptance into the course. The fee includes:
Access to all course materials online, via Diplo’s online classroom
Personal interaction via the online classroom with course lecturers, staff and other participants
Online technical support
University of Malta application fee (for University of Malta Accredited Courses only)
Access, via the Internet, to the University of Malta e-journal collection (University of Malta Accredited Courses only)
For Diplo Certificate Courses, postgraduate level e-certificate issued by DiploFoundation on successful completion of course requirements (interaction and participation, all assignments) which can be printed or shared electronically via a permanent link
Alumni members are eligible for a 15% discount on course fees.
Discounts are available for more than one participant from the same institution.
A limited number of partial scholarships are available for diplomats and others working in international relations from small and developing countries, through support from the Government of Malta.
To apply for a scholarship please upload your CV and a motivation letter with your application. The motivation letter should include:
Details of your relevant professional and educational background.
Reasons for your interest in the course.
Why you feel you should have the opportunity to participate in this course: how will your participation benefit you, your institution and/or your country?
As Diplo's ability to offer scholarship support is limited, candidates are strongly encouraged to seek scholarship funding directly from local or international institutions.
Complete application packages must be received by specified application deadlines in order to be considered.
University of Malta application form filled out in full (download form). You do not need to complete Section F.
Certified copies of original degree(s) and official transcripts.
English translations of degree(s) and transcripts if they are not in English, signed and stamped by translator.
English language proficiency certificate: * TOEFL iBT Certificate. Home-based test. More info: https://www.ets.org/s/cv/toefl/at-home/ (minimum requirements: 90 overall with a writing score of at least 24, obtained within the last two years). * Academic IELTS Certificate (minimum requirements: 6.0 overall and 6.0 in the reading and writing components). The University of Malta will accept Academic IELTS certificates obtained in the last five years. * Cambridge English Proficiency Advanced Certificate (minimum requirements: Grade C or better, obtained within the last two years).
Please indicate on the application form if you are still waiting for your English language proficiency results.
If your undergraduate study programme was taught entirely in English, this may be considered to fulfil the University of Malta’s English language requirement. You must present an official statement from the institution where you studied confirming that the language of instruction and assessment throughout the whole programme was English.
Photocopy of personal details pages of your passport.
If you are requesting partial financial assistance, please include your CV and a motivation letter (300 – 400 words) with your application. The motivation letter should include details of your relevant professional and educational background; reasons for your interest in the course; and why you feel you should have the opportunity to participate in this course, i.e. how will your participation benefit you, your institution, and/or your country. Please note that all financial assistance is partial. We do not offer full scholarships. Financial assistance is only available to applicants from developing countries.
Anutruf, Ground Floor
Msida, MSD 1675, Malta
Diplo reserves the right to cancel this course if enrolment is insufficient. In case of cancellation, Diplo will notify applicants shortly after the application deadline. Applicants who have paid an application fee may apply this fee towards another course or receive a refund.