What are the challenges of consular collaboration in the 21st century and how does it apply to the UAE?
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The last several decades could be characterized by the increased tension in international relations. There are numerous cases for the escalation of violence or the appearance of other sophisticated situations in different parts of the world. Additionally, the clash of the interests of the leading states also preconditions the rise of the opposition at the international level. These concerns result in the increased importance of diplomacy as one of the main tools to reconcile conflict and avoid usage of military force or other line targets. The expansion of diplomacy also makes the position of consuls more powerful as they become the main agents who should act on behalf of a certain state and protect its interests, trying to achieve the best possible result. However, the nature of their work supposes numerous challenges that might appear during negotiations and which should be solved to attain success.
Traditionally, the government appoints consuls resting on the existing perspectives or the role a country should play at the international level. Thus, the main task of any consul who represents a state is the preservation of its interests and protection of all citizens who need assistance. A consul is obliged to help a person, protect him/her from any potential danger, provide shelter, and assure that he/she will be able to return home. The complexity of the consular functioning is captured in the international legislation and is supported by the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations. The given document highlights the rights and duties of any consul and introduces immunity to provide an efficient tool for protection. For these reasons, they remain important actors the functioning of which might contribute to the improvement of the states image at the international level and protection of its citizens interests.
Thus, despite the existing code that is accepted to improve relations on the consular level, numerous challenges still appear. There are several most complicated areas like costs, risks, responsibilities, etc. that gave rise to numerous concerns in consular intercourse. Yet, being one of the members of different international organizations, and accepting the international laws, the UAE also devotes great attention to the improvement of this aspect of its functioning. At the moment, it recognizes the existence of a new sophisticated problem related to security and crime as globalization, refugees, and terrorism introduce the great necessity of the collaboration to be able to face these challenges and create an efficient solution.
Besides, the UAE is in a diplomatic relationship with 189 countries and has 82 embassies in different parts of the world. The state is focused on the further development of its relations with other states as it might serve as the guarantee of the economic stability needed for further evolution. Besides, it is now looking for new and efficient ways to improve the efficiency of the relations at the consular level and protect its citizens that are in need. For instance, in case some emergent situation appears, a consul might ask for assistance from the government of a state where he/she works. According to the international statutes, it is obliged to satisfy a consular request and investigate the main causes for the appearance of any threat to a citizen of another state. It could be considered the ground of the relations at that level. However, Claire Smith in her lectures states, that there still might be some problems because of the changes in the consular assistance or tense relations between the UAE and a state where the interests of a citizen are discriminated against. Furthermore, the task becomes more complex when a consul has to act in a state that is characterized by civil, military, or other conflicts that might cause death. There are numerous UAE citizens in the war-struck regions. However, the Kingdom continues to improve its diplomatic relations with these states to ensure people that they will be able to ask for help.
At the moment, the UAE collaborates with other states in the most important areas like security and economy, trying to satisfy its people’s needs. For this reason, there is also a specific risk assessment plan that suggests a certain set of tools needed to predict any possible problem and provide an efficient solution to it. However, the task remains complex as, according to Leons lectures, any ambassador should be ready for the worst-case scenario to be able to act and help a citizen. In this regard, the UAE constantly collaborates with other countries to discuss the most problematic areas and create new and efficient remedies that might help to improve relations on the consular level and protect citizens of the state.
Altogether, the complexity of modern international relations and the appearance of new threats precondition the unique significance of the diplomatic relations and consular relations. Diplomats are expected to protect people and assist them. However, there are still numerous challenges that result from the sophisticated character of the relations between different states. Besides, the UAE tries to find appropriate solutions to improve its functioning at the international level and help its citizens.