Different diplomatic tracks to disarmament

Timothea Turnbull

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


    Canada and Australia championed a negotiation process that led to international treaties to respectively ban landmines and regulate the arms trade. Yet they have also sought to block progress on another treaty, on cluster munitions. These parallel yet distinct negotiating tracks suggest the question, when do states actively engage in treaty-making? To address this, this paper analyzes ten turning points across three phases in each of three multilateral negotiation cycles to compare and contrast the conditions under which Canada and Australia at times contributed to, and at times impeded, treaty negotiation processes. This paper finds that the championing of processes occurred when political leadership, substantive expertise and diplomatic resources were all present. When states attempted to slow down progress or to hollow out the substance of treaties, political leadership was noticeably absent. These findings indicate that negotiations should be analyzed within multi-layered internal and external contexts, from the streets to the world to capitals and over the threshold into diplomatic venues and the corridors, rooms, and tables. Each layer adds meaning and understanding to how treaties are born. The links between layers provide a complete picture that accurately reflects when and how championing and blocking strategies are adopted by these two states. By examining parallel negotiating tracks, this paper provides insights on the conditions under which multilateral treaty-making on the manufacture, use and trade in conventional weapons is shaped by Westminster parliamentary democracies. With many gaps to fill in this area of international regulation, these insights may help smooth the path towards further multilateral treaties
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)21-38pp
    Issue number29
    Publication statusPublished - 2018


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