This study explores the role of a foreign ministry within the context of diplomacy and regional cooperation, focusing on the delivery of regional public goods. Diplomacy is described as a state of mind, an approach to the conduct and/or management of international relations that emphasises the timeous and pacific application of intelligence and tact in the making and implementation of foreign policy. As the custodian of diplomacy and diplomatic practice within a national government, the foreign ministry constitutes the primary grouping of expertise on international matters, responsible for the execution of foreign policy but also involved in the process of foreign policy making. Regional cooperation is defined as an issue-focused arrangement, in terms of which participating states may cooperate for a joint development project and facilitation of exchange of information or best practices. Within the context of regional cooperation, regional public goods are defined as any goods, commodities, services, system of rules or policy regimes that are public in nature, that generate shared benefits for the participating states and whose production is a result of collective action by the participating states. Arguably, the provision of regional public goods is considered the most effective way for regional economic communities to reduce poverty and to develop economies of scale. As an assumption, this study contends that, because of the need for regional public goods agenda-setting and policy prioritising, and based on the utility of diplomacy, the Department of International Relations and Cooperation (DIRCO) plays a central and catalytic role within the Southern African Development Community (SADC). This assumption is described and analysed at the regional strategic level, specifically related to the responsibility of SADC foreign ministries in terms of the management of regionalisation in Southern Africa; and at the national operational level, emphasising the role of DIRCO vis-à-vis the delivery of regional public goods. At the regional strategic level, it was found that diplomacy serves as an institution of regional relations; as an instrument of regional foreign policy; as an administrative function in SADC, specifically related to the responsibilities of foreign ministries; as an instrument in the formulation of regional foreign policy; and as a dialogue between regional actors. At the national operational level, it is evident that diplomacy serves as an institution in DIRCO‟s management of regional public goods delivery; as an instrument within DIRCO‟s participation in the execution of policies towards regional public goods delivery; as an administrative function within DIRCO; as an instrument in terms of DIRCO‟s role towards the formulation of policies towards regional public goods delivery; and as a dialogue between DIRCO and key regional actors in terms of regional public goods delivery. Due to the urgency and priority accorded to the delivery of regional public goods, DIRCO must consider the establishment of a core capability specialising in the technical competencies related to specific programmes within the delivery of regional public goods.
Dissertation (MDiplomatic Studies)--University of Pretoria, 2013.