Sub-State Diplomats and the VCDR Lessons from Scotland and Wales
Sub-State entities are not party to the VCDR, but they often engage in State-like diplomacy. The lack of an international legal framework to cover their activities is the cause for ambiguity concerning the evaluation of their work, but also the source for innovative practices. This chapter addresses questions arising from this situation and asks, in particular, whether sub-State governments might be better able to carry out diplomatic tasks precisely because of the lack of diplomatic authority, or whether they benefit from ‘free-riding’ on the diplomatic resources of the host State. It also explores the extent to which sub-State governments can adopt practices of conventional diplomacy. Based on field research from Wales and Scotland, the author analyses difficulties faced by sub-State governments and asks whether the existence of a tier of governmental ‘diplomats’, operating outside the VCDR, may be detrimental to the diplomatic system itself.
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