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Evaluate and Examine How Climate Diplomacy in SAARC Acts as a Powerful Tool for Cooperation


Regional cooperation has emerged as a trait sensation of post-world war two. In addition, the notion of collective self-reliance, by more significant economic and collaboration, has developed at the region and Sub-regional levels. The initial formation and launching of the regional cooperation system in south Asia were established in the early 1970s, which continuously developed as the South Asian Association for regional cooperation in 1985(Iqbal, 2006). SAARC is composed of the nations like Bangladesh, Bhutan, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Afghanistan, and India. Furthermore, South Asian countries experience common challenges like climate change, hunger, poverty, and underdevelopment. Thus there is an element of distrust and suspicions among the nations. This has been common specifically in regions like India and Pakistan (Cohen, 2002). To eliminate the structural problems and encourage cooperation among the South Asian region, the diplomatic channels.

As far as diplomacy evolved, it was to be practiced officially by heads of the states. Nevertheless, the role of diplomacy as a tool for cooperation today is practiced by non – states participants as side-by-side forces to gain control (Sharp, 1999). However, the most effective form of diplomacy seems to focus much on dialogue, guided by people initiatives that do not only depend on the current rules, but these exceptions act beyond the governments (Rao, & Rao, 2010). Diplomacy is composed of individuals and groups looking across national boundaries, aiming to develop constituents for peace and togetherness among the nations. Climate diplomacy is the policy in an area that tries to build international cooperation, and working together on the bigger image is more vital and uniquely possible (Joshi & Finance, 2021). Thus the institutions or organizations within the climate diplomacy in SAARC regions lay the ground for social cohesion and peaceful management of conflicts and disputes that may arise from the climate-associated problems.

Diplomacy and SAARC policies fulfill the cross-cutting task of overseeing the international relations and cooperation’s in the associated policy field such as peace and dispute management, humanitarian and development cooperation, and climate policy (Pieper, 2012). The main task of the foreign policies in climate diplomacy is to reduce systematic risk transfer, stability, and states security and contribute to international cooperation to achieve its objectives (Purvis & Stevenson, 2010). The discussion the climate diplomacy in the SAARC when tackling climate risks may highlight the role that these climate diplomacy policies are working on the bigger image as a tool for cooperation across the geographical and cultural boundaries. This paper focuses on Climate diplomacy in the SAARC region as a tool for collaboration in the south Asian region.

Literature review

South Asia states are vulnerable to climate change and the related challenges that call for regional climate diplomacy services. Different actors need to cooperate to share actions for climate information so that the SAARC regions will benefit .climate diplomacy in the south Asia regions may be a vital tool for cooperation among the different areas across and beyond the south Asia region.

Climate diplomacy act as a tool for cooperation through the following:

Downscaling and upscaling of climate information programs

The South Asia states face various climate security problems, which range from high floodings to heatwaves. Thus some of these climatic challenges influence social, economic, and political factors for different states and regions. In such cases, climatic diplomacy comes up with downscaling and upscaling of climate information. Furthermore, this has been challenging in nations where climate services are weak because of limited resources, country capacities, and even demand (Sembiring, Caballero-Anthony, & Gong, 2019). Regional actors, through climate diplomacy they have put efforts to construct regional climate services like the south Asian climate outlook forums. Have made some efforts to build regional climate services, such as the South Asian Climate Outlook Forum, which bring together the different regions in the SAARC to solve their common problems on climate. The collaboration of the climate information policies frameworks ensures better climate information plays a significant role in bringing the nations together. Thus, the Diplomatic climate policies in SAARC regions are seen as a tool for regional cooperation.

Another important climate diplomacy policy in the SAARC is the Global Framework for Climate Services (adopted by the World Meteorological Organization). This has been successful in ensuring that it brings together diverse states and stakeholders from the South Asian states to prepare the “consensus” for the different seasons and share the information with users sectors like agriculture (Dhanasree, 2020). The primary aim for this Global framework for climate services is to ensure that the social and environmental system is resilient to climate vulnerability and change. This mechanism is significant in ensuring cooperation among the nations since such tools help address and implement a preventative means to tackle climate challenges in the region( Das, & Bandyopadhyay, 2015). Climatic diplomacy has enhanced the need to get into a regional approach to climate services and integrate social science into the climate sector, which was undertaken in the 6th International Conference on Climate Services (Dhanasree,2020). These climatic diplomacy moves are more significant and contribute to the cooperation among the regions as they safeguard and solve the climatic rigidities in particular.

Community-based initiatives

Climatic diplomacy promotes community-based initiatives that enhance the cooperation of the South Asian states. Community-based initiatives aim for people to come together by focusing on diverse activities that include the real-time situations they face to find a solution (Gruber, 2010). Hence, organizations such as the International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development have enhanced the cooperation of the regions as they enhance the implementation of climate services in the Hindu Kush-Himalayan region through trans boundary cooperation. ICIMOD main objective is to create a regional program that will improve sharing of knowledge and collaboration on science and provide chances for the South Asian regions to curate and share the data that will help them improve climate services in the different areas (Dhanasree,2020).

Community-based initiatives, for instance, in northern Bangladesh, on the Teesta River banks, focus on the village disaster management committee, which has continuously promoted the adaption of the bank practices to solve climate challenges like floods and droughts(Dhanasree, 2020). Hence through participating in these initiatives, it enhances cooperation with the local and government. In Nepal, different community initiative groups, such as disaster reduction, agricultural cooperatives, and women groups, have adapted measures using that participatory design. One of these significant initiatives is the community forest-based Adaption plan action, which helps the communities in the south Asia regions manage forests and water catchments(Lim,2005). The initiative as climate diplomacy acts as a tool of cooperation. It has enhanced the creation of a platform where women interact, discuss, and raise funds to address climate problems. Hence, these interventions have significantly influenced the adaptive capability of the communities in the SAARC region, such as the Panchase Mountain Ecological Region. This has also enhanced the cooperation and participation of the marginalized communities in the South Asia regions

Joint climate-related risk assessment

Climate diplomacy has influenced South Asia states to take part in the disaster responses due to climate problems. Climate-associated disasters go beyond the natural hazards, and through climate diplomacy, they were broadly emphasized in the 14th SAARC summit declaration in 2007, with the different head of states expressing their main idea of global climate change and the continuous rise in sea levels and its effect on the live hoods in those nations (Dubey, 2007). This summit called upon cooperation among south Asia states on climate actions that include early warning and enhanced coordination through sharing knowledge to pursue climate sustainability in the south Asia region. This was developed in 3 years SAARC Action Plan on Climate Change in 2008 that focuses on seven main objectives of the cooperation, whereby adaptation, response, and management of the effects and risk focus with climate associated risks (Das, 2015). For instance, through climate diplomacy, India was the first in the SAARC to hold disaster management activities. Thus for the first time, the nations of South Asia had to embrace the initiative to develop interconnection among the SAARC states to ensure that they took part in the joint disaster response operation through cooperating and coordinating together(Belis et.al2018). Thus the main focus of these actions is to emphasize the effective utilization and quick adaption of search and risqué teams for emergency disasters(Shaw,2010). Hence these responses have enhanced the collaboration between the South Asia states.

Environmental problems are associated with climate change, and they are described to help the states identify the common agenda problems. This is more applicable in the countries set in which geographical proximity plays a significant role. For example, the effects of disasters like floods are not just localized because of the interconnection of the geoeconomic realities in the international regions (Hassan, Afridi,& Khan,2017).In addition, the need for South Asia states to adopt preventive measures against both the gradual changes like climate change causing droughts and floods, since these changes are emerging to be very common in the SAARC region and across the world. This is the critical driver for South Asia states to come together and cooperate and thus the formation of the Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief. When the earthquake struck Nepal, India was the first nation to take action to help. Throughout the response phase, it left remarkable cross-border cooperation, and this shows clearly that through response actions, climate diplomacy act as a tool for collaboration between the nations in the South Asia region (Modi, & Venkatachalam,2021).

The climate diplomacy idea to enhance joint efforts among the diverse agencies in advance for climate-related risks, like disasters (Shaw,2010); thus, it can be viewed as a tool for coordination among the SAARC nations. Apart from the cooperation between the different agencies that deal with the climate issues, at national or the regional levels, climate diplomacy has contributed to linking with other international agencies for pooling resources and actions for climate-related risk in south Asia nations( Tänzler,& Carius,2013,). For example, some of the small regions in South Asia, to be specific: Napel, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, and Bhutan, have created their climate cooperation’s at the local levels and through non-governmental organizations(Karmpe, 2018). One of these many initiatives is the Asian disaster preparedness center that ensures that it brings together all the national disaster management groups of the various nations in the SAARC region to enhance climate risk measures.

Research aims and objectives

This research aims to evaluate and examine how climate diplomacy in SAARC acts as a powerful tool for cooperation.


  • To provide a comprehensive review of climate diplomacy policies in SAARC
  • To develop a constraint classification approach of how climate diplomacy in the SAARC is a tool for cooperation in the south Asian states
  • To review past and current circumstances that climate diplomacy has enhanced cooperation in the South Asian regional Associations.

The rationale of the research

This research is more concerned with analyzing the climate diplomacy in the SAARC region as a tool for cooperation. Climate diplomacy has been outlined as vital for bringing together domestic, foreign and international climate policies (Pieper, 2012). Since according to the existing literature, a mixture of climate and foreign policy and climate diplomacy act as the catalyst between national interest topics and international cooperation on climate issues (Elliott, 2013). The notion is that climate diplomacy strives to accurately evaluate other nations’ interests and intentions while creating ground for agreement and cooperation (Modi,2021). was the primary factor that influenced the need and urges to evaluate and conduct research on how climate diplomacy in the SAARC region has been a tool for enhancing regional cooperation. This study is significant since it will improve understanding of how the ultimate goal of collaboration has been achieved in South Asia nations through climate diplomacy at both the national and international levels.

Nevertheless, the research has some limitations, and thus some gaps can be identified for future research. The study focuses on a broad topic of climate Diplomacy in the SAARC region, which comprises eight independent nations. Furthermore, most of the literature review findings depend mainly on particular areas of SAARC like India, where there is little existing literature on other small South Asia. Thus there is a lack of sufficient capacity to engage actively in climate diplomacy as a tool of cooperation which is not even well established in some of these south Asia states. Finally, further study can focus on a similar research topic focusing on climate diplomacy as a tool for cooperation with other departments in SAARC regions.


Considering that research is a planned investigation and study of phenomena to reach a conclusion and develop fact. Selecting the research design is vital for a logical study process. Under this section, the researcher aims to present the research methods and data collection and describe the research designs used to conduct the research. To undertake a high level of climate diplomacy analysis in the SAARC region as a cooperation tool, the researcher will use some specific research designs . Both qualitative and quantitative research designs will be applied to gather the primary data (Bryman, 2006). This research approach will be involved in a systematic inquiry from the data evidence on the literature review, and this might influence new ideas and more accurate information (Burns and Burns, 2008). The researcher decided to use the mixed method since the qualitative research design will search only for an idiographic causal relationship between climate diplomacy and cooperation. First, the Qualitative research approach will look at real-life experiences, understanding, meaning, and its more general and less specific (Hennink, 2020). Since the qualitative research may not answer how climate diplomacy causes cooperation, the researcher is trying to find how climate diplomacy acts as a tool for collaboration, thus using the quantitative approach.

Data collection is defined as the act of gathering information, facts, and ideas; the data collected is evaluated, analyzed and from this, conclusions can be made (Matthews and Ross, 2010). Mathew (2010) reveals that in research, one needs to know elements of data collected to help the researcher study a problem. In this study review, the data will be organized and managed through the survey approach. The survey study will use the strategic high level of face-to-face dialogue and workshops. A combination of emails, fax, face-to-face, and telephone (Couper, 2017), engaging with different actors the climate diplomacy, development, political, environmental, and disaster management organizations across the SAARC nations to develop a comprehensive analysis and insight of how climate diplomacy is a tool for cooperation in South Asia states. The survey will integrate both the qualitative and quantitative data collection approaches. The survey questions will help the researcher collect the information on the participants’ opinions, facts, and views based on their personal experience on climate diplomacy in SAARC as a tool for cooperation. Finally, the data collected will be analyzed and interpreted. The statistical analysis will be used to analyze the data collected through the survey to conclude if there is a relationship between climate diplomatic policy and the concept of cooperation in South Asia states.


According to the findings and results of the literature review, it is evident that climate diplomacy in the SAARC region, in one way or the other it has contributed to the cooperation in a different dimension. One climate diplomacy in the south Asia region has promoted collective agreement and collaboration in the various sector through Downscaling and upscaling of climate information programs. Hence through the cooperation of the climate information policies frameworks, ensure there is better climate information that plays a significant role in bringing the nations together. Adapting the new information policies framework by the individual department’s communities and governments as they seek to cope with climate-related issues enhances cooperation. The adaption mechanism of the information policy integrates different sectors like agriculture, water resources, environment, and others. Secondly, the study has also revealed that climate diplomacy in the SAARC region has enhanced cooperation through community-based initiatives. Community-based initiatives focus on processes where people come together to address issues that are crucial to them. Climate diplomacy in SAARC through counties developing plans for how they can deal with the issue of climate in South Asia, which is a significant problem, has enhanced cooperation by joining hands. Finally, climate diplomacy in SAARC has played a substantial role as a tool for collaboration through the joint climate risk assessment policies. The main focus of the collective risk assessment is to take collaborative actions to emphasize effective utilization and quick adaption responses (Shaw, 2010) and risk management to risk and disasters associated with climate.


Currently, climate diplomacy in SAARC reflects policy challenges. Its role is to develop a good and timely international regime to ensure effective operation and cooperation while addressing climate rigidity in south Asia. Climate diplomacy has proved to be a crossing point for collaboration between national and international interests. While considering the volatility in SAARC regions, there is political and border rivalry and mistrust among the nations. Nevertheless, the climate vulnerabilities that pervade those states do not recognize boundaries. These have been viewed as the critical drivers of cooperation between the countries that have otherwise been hostile to each other on many accounts. Thus the climate diplomacy policies are being seen as a tool toward boosting collaboration among SAARC nations. However, according to the study, at some point, climate diplomacy has been inactive and ineffective in some of the south Asia regions due to challenges like political faults that hinder any climate diplomacy joint proposal. Thus it’s recommended climatic diplomacy should be reestablished in each state in south Asia.


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