Journal of Legal, Ethical and Regulatory Issues (Print ISSN: 1544-0036; Online ISSN: 1544-0044)

Research Article: 2021 Vol: 24 Issue: 6S

Paradiplomacy as an Instrument of Introducing Identity: Study of Aceh and Quebec

Windy Dermawan, Universitas Padjadjaran

Ivan Darmawan, Universitas Padjadjaran

Mustabsyirotul Ummah Mustofa, Universitas Padjadjaran

Yusa Djuyandi, Universitas Padjadjaran


 This article aims to explain how paradiplomacy is used as an instrument by the Regional Government of Aceh, Indonesia, and The Federal Government of Quebec for introducing their respective identities. Those two substate actors have distinctive identities that can be seen from the existence of other substate actors in their countries. Moreover, they have ever had vertical conflicts, that one of them was happened because of the desire to be an independent country to introduce the identity. Paradiplomacy as a conceptual framework in this paper will explain substate activities in foreign relations. The qualitative method is being used as a method to collect the data through interviews and documentation studies. This paper finds that in the era of independence and the struggle to reach self-determination, the practice of Aceh Province and Quebec’s paradiplomacy in introducing their identities was carried out through seeking support to perceive their independence based on the distinctive of identities with the societal majority in the respective countries that creating conflict with the central government. Meanwhile, after the peace and the end of the vertical conflicts with the central government, the instrument of Aceh Province and Quebec’s paradiplomacy in the effort to introduce their identities were conducted in a peaceful, persuasive manner, and introduced themselves to the global public by involving in international activities and optimizing their relations in economic and social-culture aspects. All the efforts are not separable from the government system where the two respective cities are located.


Paradiplomacy, Identity, Substate Actor, Foreign Relations


The existence of substate actors in international relations is relatively new, although their presence already existed since the Westphalia Conventions was recognized. However, in the context of International Relations, state is the only main actor in world politics. Thus, international relations is known for its relations between states and carried out to perceive state interests (Jackson & Sorensen, 2007). Realism theory has received critics from other theories as the development of International Relations theories, just as Liberalism theory that assumes non-state actors and transnational actors are as important as state actors in world politics (Viotti & Kauppi, 2012). Afterward, there is transgovernmentalism theory as well that discusses the relationship between substate actors (Keohane & Nye, 1974).

Along with the development of International Relations Studies, globalization, and technology, the role of substate actors as one of the global actors that interact in the international arena is increasingly getting the publics’ attention. Substate actors interact with other substate actors, as well as global actors, through an activity called paradiplomacy. Initially, paradiplomacy was known in Europe in the 1980s and currently, paradiplomacy has spread all around the world and is conducted by several substate actors, including Indonesia.

Aceh Province is one of the 34 provinces in Indonesia that is located on the western tip of Sumatra Island. The area of this province is approximately 57.956 KM2. Aceh Province consists of 23 districts and cities with Banda Aceh as the provincial capital (Badan Pusat Statistik Provinsi Aceh, 2021). Aceh Province is one of the five regions that were granted Special Autonomy status from the central government along with another four regions, including Special Capital Region Jakarta (DKI), Special Region of Yogyakarta (DIY), Papua, and West Papua. This specialty status shows there is a privilege for those regions that are related to their history. This status is regulated in Act Number 18 of 2001 on Special Autonomy for the Special Region of Aceh which was later updated to an amendment with the ratification of Act Number 11 of 2006 on the Government of Aceh. Aceh and how the people live there are very close to Islamic values. It is known as Seuramoe Mecca (Veranda of Mecca), where it shows the closeness of the Islamic values in their society. The legal values and customary norms that are attached to the people with the values and principles of Islam are shown on how Acehnese people as the dominant element to portray a life guide for themselves and grown along with the times (Nurdin, 2013). Aceh is known for being the first place where Islam entered Indonesia as well. The Islam values entered Indonesia in the first century of Hijriyah through the northern coast of the island of Sumatra, precisely in Peureulak (East Aceh) that was brought directly from Arab. The Islamic Kingdom of Peureulak was founded in 225 Hijriyah (840 AD) and became the first Islamic kingdom in the archipelago (Hasjmy, 1983).

During the Aceh War against Dutch colonialism, the Acehnese people had challenged to maintain their Islamic identity. The Dutch first attacked the Aceh region on April 5, 1873 under Major General Kohler. In the first attack, Aceh troops succeeded in repelling the Dutch. The Dutch’s failure was because of their error that only investigating Aceh’s economic and political strength, that practically weak. The Dutch had not recognized the socio-cultural and religious aspects that were rooted in the Acehnese people and became a force for their resistance (Sufi et al., 1997).

In the era of independence in 1945, Aceh Province tried to fight their Islamic identity by implementing Islamic law. However, this was challenged by the central government, until Aceh was merged into North Sumatra Province in 1951 that cause the disappointment of Acehnese leaders, including Daud Beureuh who wanted Aceh to remain as a special region(Djumala, 2013; Surachman & Kutoyo, 1991). One of the Acehnese leaders’ considerations was their assumption that Aceh Province is one of the representations of the Islamic identity of the Acehnese people. It was started from Daud Beureuh’s disappointment that prompted him to join Darul Islam/Indonesian Army Islam (DI/TII) and lead the Aceh DI/TII movement (Satriya et al., 2018). After the conflict ended, there was Helsinki Agreement between GAM and the Government of Indonesia where the implementation of local wisdom and Islamic cultures is increasingly having some spaces in Aceh. Many aspects of Acehnese life practice Islamic values, ranging from customs, culture, education, government, economy, to the implementation of Islamic sharia law.

Besides Aceh, Quebec is one of the regions that the authors pay attention to. The choice of these two substate actors is based on the uniqueness of Aceh and Quebec’s identities, which also to introduce their identities in foreign relations. Quebec is one of the 13 provinces in Canada that is located in eastern Canada, precisely in the northern state of New York, United States. Quebec is one of the largest provinces with its population constitutes 24% of the total population in Canada. This area is most settled by French-speaking people, where historically, to be exact in 1603, the area was occupied by the French colonists because they failed to conduct the expedition to find a western route to China. In 1608, they established a city, namely Quebec (CBC Learning, 2001).

Quebec became a co-founder of the Dominion of Canada on July 1 1967 along with New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, and Ontario in a confederation and officially became part of the independent Canada in 1982 through the Canada Act (Government of Canada, 2011). In its history, Quebec has experienced a period, where they wanted to separate themselves from Canada. It was due to the social inequality between the majority of Canadians, namely English-Canadians and French-Canadians, and they prohibited the French language in schools and universities. The separatism efforts were shown with several movements, such as Alliance Laurentienne 1957 and Quiet Revolution 1960 as well as Referendum I in 1980 and Referendum II in 1995. However, after the recognition of the Quebecois as a unified Canadian nation in 2006 by the House of Commons of Canada, the separatism movement in Canada has disappeared. It was also coincided with the idea from the Prime Minister of Quebec in 2012, Pauline Marois, who declared that the referendum could not be conducted anymore (The Canadian Press, 2012).

Currently, the Quebec government is focused on fostering the growth and well-being of the province, as well as seeking to gain recognition in their culture and identity as Quebecois from the rest of the world. One of their efforts is conducting foreign policy. Quebec can easily conduct paradiplomacy because of the the Government of Canada constitution that is ruled by decentralized constitutions and gives Canada’s provinces considerable powers. The fundamental aim of Quebec’s paradiplomacy is to build and strengthen Quebec’s identity through international activities in foreign countries. The dual objective of Quebec’s international strategy is to promote the development of Quebec (Paquin, 2018a).

There are several previous studies regarding paradiplomacy by previous researchers. The existence of substate actors in conducting diplomacy or foreign relations to perceive their interests can be referred to Hermini, et al., (2018); Mukti (2015); Putri (2020); Stren & Friendly (2017); Chan (2019). In particular, Paquin (2018b) found that identity paradiplomacy is to build and strengthen their national identity abroad. Quebec paradiplomacy aspects of fields, such as economy, environment, identity, and security can be found in Kooistra (2017); Martínez (2017); McHugh (2015); Manzer (2018). Specifically, Aceh’s Islamic identity studies can be found in Salim (2004), Arifin & Khambali (2016); dan Berutu (2016). The interesting thing from Salim’s research is he found a relationship between identity and the right to self-determination with a comparison of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front. There is another study from Paquin (2018b); Marié (2018); Magam (2018) that shows the definitions, practices, and goals of paradiplomacy to promote identity using examples of issues that have ever happened in Quebec, Rio de Janeiro, and Kwazulu-Natal.

Aceh and Quebec have their identities, and with their uniqueness, the two substate actors have experienced vertical conflicts with their central government to determine their lives through a separation and independence from the state. The separatist activities of the two substate actors are due to the neglect of their identity and the desire to introduce their identity to the world. The studies that attempt to raise this case are still limited. Some previous studies have discussed the two actors partially and in other aspects that are different from the focus of this study. Therefore, the author is interested to analyze the practice of paradiplomacy from Aceh and Quebec in introducing their respective identities.

Theoretical Framework

The term of paradiplomacy as a concept is used to denote a foreign activity of a substate government. To explain this phenomenon, the term of paradiplomacy is often equated with another term, such as constituent diplomacy, regional diplomacy, microdiplomacy, multilayered diplomacy, protodiplomacy, and so on. Semiotically, the term of paradiplomacy has some meanings that are: besides, on the one hand, apart from, or secondary (Kuznetsov, 2015). The word “para” in paradiplomacy brings its ambiguity because it emphasizes the paralleled act of a state’s traditional diplomacy. However, the foreign activities of these substate governments do not always indicate parallel activity with the central government. Tavares (2016) points out that the international relations of substate actors have their own nature and should not be considered as a complement to mainstream diplomatic activities at the national level. He stated that paradiplomacy is the involvement of non-central government in foreign relations with forming a permanent contract or ad hoc contact to public or private entities that aimed to socio-economic, culture, and another dimension aspect from their constitutional competence. The massive development of the nature and actors in paradiplomacy continues to change to accommodate various issues that feature culture, economic, defense, and human rights following the current phenomena (Lachapelle & Paquin, 2005).

McHugh showed that paradiplomacy activities cannot be directly contradicted with the state’s traditional sovereignty, but paradiplomacy can be seen as a complementary or to strengthen conventional diplomacy model (McHugh, 2015). In this case, according to Hocking, he believes paradiplomacy is one of the ways for countries to face the complexity and change of time, as well as try to optimize their interest when they cannot do so effectively; that is delegating the authority to the substate actors (Hocking, 1999).

Paradiplomacy can be said as equal as conventional diplomacy, but non-central governments are not recognized as an actor in international law. They cannot become full members of international organizations or be part of international agreements, but they often participate in international negotiations and as a national delegation in some agendas of international organizations (Criekemans, 2010). One of the differences is in the foreign agenda that brought up from the central government and non-central government. The central government directs its foreign policy to the foreign countries. In contrast, local government foreign policy is more directed towards domestic interests (Tavares, 2016). Tavares shows several reasons why local governments carry out foreign relations. First, to seize the global market. Second, to provide community services. Third, to promote decentralization. Fourth, one of the tools to perceive national interest. Fifth, to get electoral opportunism. Last, to show the cultural peculiarities. This article has several objectives of Aceh and Quebec paradiplomacy that can be identified as the effort to seize the global market, serve local communities optimally, and show their cultural uniqueness.

In the context of identity, paradiplomacy is often interpreted as a function of stateless nationalism that shows the process of nationalism that includes identity construction, definition or articulation of interest, and political-territorial mobilization that lead to the non-central government to seek international personality development. Therefore, paradiplomacy serves as a means to build identity and nation, as well as support and promote the definition of special interests, such as cultural preservation. The inter-governmental conflicts provide opportunities for political-territorial mobilization. The intensity of a substate actor’s international activities cannot necessarily become a function of the nationalist movement. In this context, Aceh and Quebec emphasize paradiplomacy based on the identities that they want to develop, besides their economic interest.

Paradiplomacy is not always in line with the central government’s paradiplomacy objectives. There are several cases where paradiplomacy actors, whether directly or not, have different objectives with their central government. One of the cases of this paradiplomacy can be found in Catalonia nationalism. In this case, we can see how Catalonia practices paradiplomacy as an effort to identify its distinctive culture in the global public. This aims to perceive Catalonia’s political objective, that is their independence from Spain(Lecours & Moreno, 2018; Lecours, 2008; Vicuã, 2015; Segura & Etherington, 2019). Another paradiplomacy effort from the non-central government is conducted by Flanders in Belgium, Scotland in the United Kingdom, or Basque in Spain, as political resistance to reach their interest in domestic and foreign political scope (Guibernau, 2014; Lecours & Moreno, 2018; Totoricagüena, 2005). This has also been experienced by Aceh and Quebec as one of the substate actors to perceive self-determination. Although these two subnational actors have integrated with the central government, this shows that paradiplomacy can be an instrument to fulfill substate actors’ interests which is not always parallel with national interests.


Aceh’s Foreign Initiative in Introducing Their Identities

As a region with a long history of the development of Islam, Acehnese people have inherited Islamic culture, traditions, and Islamic identity that have been formed in society since the Islamic kingdom era. The richness of culture, tradition, and Islamic identity which Aceh has created becomes the potency of Aceh that makes it unique compared to other regions. To introduce their Islamic identity, the Government of Aceh as a substate actor is conducting paradiplomacy towards the global public to perceive their interests. The paradiplomacy that has been conducted by the Government of Aceh is suitable with paradiplomacy concept of Wolff (2007) which is explained as the capacity and behavior of substate actors to create foreign relations or foreign policies to perceive their interest. Paradiplomacy which has been targeted to the global public is also in accordance to Duchacek (1990), because paradiplomacy is not only limited to the public or other actors that are located near Aceh Province. According to the author’s analysis, the Government of Aceh in its effort to introduce and promote the Islamic identity through paradiplomacy towards the global public is open to various programs, one of them is performing arts and culture on an international scale.

According to the data that the author has collected, it is found that the Government of Aceh has been actively participating in international activities and organizing various international events. Aceh Provincial government has participated in some events in various countries to promote their culture and the Islamic identity. It is one of the ways of the Aceh Provincial government to introduce and promote Aceh’s culture. For instance, the Head of the Aceh Culture and Tourism Office at the 7th Melayu Day in Yala, Thailand, stated that the Government of Aceh continues to promote Aceh’s culture and tourism where they are already participating in the various exhibition in Indonesia and abroad (Dinas Kebudayaan dan Pariwisata Aceh, 2020).

In several international events, Aceh has shown all of its culture that features dances, clothes, and cuisine. Performing arts and culture has received a good response from the global society, such as they are welcoming Saman Dance because of the energetic movement, a characteristic that is also found in other Aceh’s traditional dances. The message portrayed in the Acehnese dance did not go unnoticed. In addition, to perform the dances, the delegates from Aceh also conveyed the messages and advice by translating the means to English and the local language so that everyone could not only enjoy the performance but also receive the messages and advice behind the dance moves as well.

Some events that have been participated in or organized by the Government of Aceh include the Indonesian Festival in Kazan, Russia in 2017; the Aceh Cultural Art and History Exhibition in Turkey, in 2019; and DC Fashion Week in the United States in 2019. This shows that the Government of Aceh has introduced its identities through the arts and culture by sending delegates to arts and cultural events broad.

At the Indonesian Cultural Festival in Kazan-Russia in 2017, the delegates of the Acehnese arts team presented a fashion show and several Acehnese dances, such as Saman Gayo, Ratoh Jaroe, and Tarek Purakat. The Indonesian Embassy in Moscow was affiliated with the Aceh Provincial government and the government of the Republic of Tatarstan, Russian Federation to conduct the Indonesian Cultural Festival in commemorating Youth Pledge Day. The Republic of Tatarstan is one of the states in Russia Federation whose the majority of its people are Moslem. Based on that fact, the Head of Delegation of Aceh’s Art Team at that time stated that Aceh and Tatarstan had several similarities in their cultures, one of which was in some motifs of their traditional sculptures (Christiastuti, 2017). This event also received a good response from the people who attended, such as when the performance of the Saman Dance was being performed which successfully amazed the audience with its harmony between the movements, the rhythm of the musical instruments, and the song accompaniments.

In 2019, the Government of Aceh also participated in an exhibition of Aceh's history and culture in Turkey. This exhibition was organized by the Aceh Community Association in Turkey (IKAMAT) in collaboration with the Aceh Museum and the Aceh Culture and Tourism Office on 2-3 November 2019 in Istanbul, Turkey. At this exhibition, there are various series of events that aim to introduce and preserve the Aceh's history and culture, which are divided from bazaars, manuscript fairs, book reviews, panel discussions, to performances of Aceh’s art (Dinas Kebudayaan dan Pariwisata Aceh, 2019). The Aceh’s arts performed include the Saman Dance and the Hikayat Prang Sabi poem sung by an Acehnese in Turkey by displaying the meaning of the saga directly on the screen, so that the audience could understand the meaning of it. Both performances were able to amaze the audience and received a positive response from the presented audience (Dinamika, 2019). The chairman of IKAMAT said that holding this exhibition was not only a means of promoting culture and tourism, but it was also expected that in the future there would be some sustainable collaborations between the institutions of Aceh and Turkey (Dinas Kebudayaan dan Pariwisata Aceh, 2019).

In the same year, the Government of Aceh also made efforts to introduce Aceh's cultural richness through the fashion industry. The Aceh Provincial Culture and Tourism Office has participated in DC Fashion Week in Washington DC, United States by delegating two designers from Aceh (Dinas Kebudayaan dan Pariwisata Aceh, 2019). At this event, the two designers presented their designs combined with traditional motifs of Aceh as their identities. Cut Putri brought a work with the theme of "The Truth in The Dark" combined the black fabric which is one of the identity colors of Aceh with the embroidered Acehnese motifs. Meanwhile, Welin raised the "Quantum" theme which was conducted using Aceh songket weaving combined with Acehnese batik (Nurdin, 2019).

Researchers see this as one of the para-diplomacy efforts carried out by the Government of Aceh in introducing Aceh's Islamic culture and identity as a means to preserve that Islamic identity. The display of Aceh's Islamic culture and identity on the international stage allows the global public to be aware of Aceh's Islamic identity and this can lead to potential uniqueness and distinctiveness for the Aceh Province which will later provide benefits to the Aceh Province itself.

Referring to the Functions of Diplomatic Mission of a sub(state) actor, the researcher views that the efforts to introduce Aceh's identity through paradiplomacy are carried out by participating in Acehnese cultural performances on the international stage. It can be identified that it fulfills several functions of diplomacy itself consist of representing, protecting, negotiating, and promoting. In the function of representing, it is clearly seen that in the Aceh cultural performances, the Aceh Government sent some delegations as a representative of the Government of Aceh to present and introduce Aceh's Islamic culture and identity on the international stage. On the function of negotiating, the researchers saw that the delegates sent, in performing the Acehnese cultural performances, also carried out a form of protecting the interests of the Aceh Provincial Government, which is related to the preservation of Aceh's Islamic identity. While in the function of negotiating, the researchers considered that in the process of preparing for the Aceh cultural performances, the Aceh Government also negotiated with actors in the destination country, for example, in the performances held in Russia which was a collaboration with the local government and the Indonesian Embassy in Moscow, which by all means conducted through negotiation process. At last, on the function of promoting, the researchers view that the Aceh Government in performing Acehnese culture abroad carries a mission to introduce Aceh's Islamic culture and identity and to build relationships with the foreign people in the destination country, especially in the context of culture.

Quebec's Foreign Endeavours in Introducing Its Identity

One of the regulations relevant to the discussion on Quebec paradiplomacy is issued in section 92, the Canada Constitution Act of 1867. Through this law, Canada delegates some of its sovereign power to the government at the regional level, specifically the power over resources controlled by the regional governments (McHugh, 2015). Subsequently, this division of power developed further and finally covered areas such as civil law, property rights, and administrative authority over criminal law and its enforcement, which are areas that tend to be identified as the realm of low politics (Hogg, 2007). This stems from the historical transfer of power from the British colonial government to the Canadian federal government, rather than to local governments, which gives the significance that the Canadian federal government has a higher level of power over local governments.

Since 1960, Quebec, which has been one of Canada's 13 provinces since July 1, 1867(Dickinson & Young, 2008), has participated in cross-border activities of Canada in order to promote their interests independent from Canadian government units. This practice, more commonly known as Paradiplomacy activities in international relations, where Quebec's actions later became a precedence for other Canadian territories to engage in similar activities, and also became a unique study in the context of international relations woven by subnational actors (Keating, 2001; Paquin, 2018b). The Quebec government continues to pursue Quebec's interests, that are to promote the progress of Quebec, as well as to build and strengthen their identity and culture. This goal certainly fits with the paradiplomacy activities undertaken by Quebec.

The Quebec government has gained an international presence through the establishment of representative offices abroad. Article 92 (4) of the Constitutional Law, 1867, gives the province authority over the Establishment and Ownership of Provincial Offices. These offices have served several purposes, including of assisting in negotiation of international treaties, networking with consulates of other countries, acting as the first line to lobby foreign governments, as well as promoting trade and investment between Quebec and other foreign countries or constituent units (McNiven & Cann, 1993). However, the capability of subnational actors (Quebec) to establish paradiplomacy is out of the high politics field, which the high politics issues so far have still been monopolized by the central government. One example can be seen in the clause “peace, order, and good government” section 92, of the Canada Constitution Act of 1867 which has the implication that external security and governance are under the authority of the Canadian central government. This also includes the government's power to establish diplomatic relations according to the rules of the conventional Westphalian state model (McHugh, 2015). Political, economic, and cultural motives are the reasons why paradiplomacy is carried out by sub-state actors. In Quebec itself, it covers policies as diverse as free foreign investment, protection and promotion of the unique Quebecois French culture and language, educational exchange, and environmental protection (Manzer, 2018).

Quebec is one of the regions that has been actively carrying out para-diplomacy activities since the separatist movement emerged there. Nationalism and minority identity influenced Quebec's paradiplomacy activities. When the regional or non-central governments have different identities – ranging from mere regionalism to highly institutionalized nationalism like Québec – it promotes development and increases the intensity of this federal state's international activities. This condition also gives rise to identity paradiplomacy. The identity mismatch between the central powers and the federal state spurs high activity of identity paradiplomacy (Paquin, 2018b). National identity builders play an active role in international relations because failure to do so will make the central government open to promoting the conception of its national identity.

After the referendum, recorded in 2018, Quebec has signed more than 700 agreements with 80 regions from various countries. Quebec has 33 provincial representative offices in 18 countries including eight general delegates, five delegates, 13 bureaus, five trade offices, and representatives in two international organizations (Ministry of International Relations Quebec, 2020). In addition, the Quebec Government routinely conducts approximately 150-200 missions of culture, politic, and commerce each year. In the Quebec region itself, there is an institution that oversees Quebec's foreign relations called the Ministry of International Relations and La Francophonie. This agency has the primary task of promoting and defending Quebec's foreign interests. The Ministry of International Relations and La Francophonie has two offices in the Quebec region located in the city of Quebec and Montreal.

Quebec focuses its paradiplomacy on culture, economy and the environment. Beyond those aspects, Quebec starts to notice the potency in sport such as football that can be an alternative channel to promote its identity. This can be demonstrated by the activity of the Quebec national football team which has not yet involved in many friendly matches and has not yet participated in the competitions organized by CONIFA. The Quebec federation's website and social media also rarely provide updates on the development of the Quebec national team. With the lack of activities carried out by the Quebec national team, no surprise that many people will not realize how the team is developing, let alone to recognize the existence of the Quebec national team itself. Obviously this will complicate Quebec's desire to achieve its para-diplomacy goals through the sport of football. Quebec wants to show its identity and establish relations with other countries or subnational actors on the basis of identity affinity through their football team.

In addition, the public is more familiar with Quebec's paradiplomacy through the three aspects mentioned above. In the aspect of economy, Quebec has strategies to promote and protect business interests, promote exports, and build a positive image to attract international investment and events in the province region. Since the 19th century, Quebec has been chasing foreign capital. Even today, Quebec is very active in maintaining its delegations abroad, organizing trade missions, and establishing diplomatic relations in order to stimulate the economic growth through business, investment or tourism. Quebec itself already has five trading offices in several cities, namely in Philadelphia, Berlin, Qingdao, Shenzhen and Silicon Valley. They even have good partnership in trade with the United States.

Looking on the environmental aspect, Quebec has a fairly high concern on this kind of issues. They are very active in international events that discuss about environmental issues. In 1992, they played a major role in the Earth Summit in Rio de Janiero, Brazil, which eventually resulted in the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change and The Convention on Biological Diversity (Paquin, 2018b). Quebec also joined an organization known as NRG4SD (Network of Regional Governments for Sustainable Development). The organization was formed during the 2002 Earth Summit with the aim of promoting wider recognition, particularly in international law, of the key role which the subnational governments can play in promoting sustainable development and mitigating climate change. The two things above are just a few examples of Quebec's many overseas activities in addressing environmental issues. All of these activities make it possible to strengthen the existence of Quebec abroad.

Lastly, in the aspect of culture, Quebec itself is a member of l'Organisation internationale de la Francophonie. This organization is a representation of countries or regions that use French as their primary language. Quebec has also been Canada's permanent delegate to UNESCO since 2006. The presence of Quebec in UNESCO is necessarily very important because they can build networks with UNESCO members and can promote the interests of the Quebec Government in the issues of education, culture, scientific development and public information in the international community. This can support Quebec in introducing its identity to the global public and strengthen its efforts through the relationships building with other actors abroad.

Canada's federal system of government allows Quebec to freely conduct foreign relations. It also encourages Quebec to have multiple constitutional jurisdictions such as in economy, natural resources, labor, health, education and culture. This condition can occur due to two reasons. First, although the Government of Canada can negotiate international treaties in the area of jurisdiction of Canadian provinces, they do not have the power to compel the provinces to implement the treaties (Skogstad, 2012). International treaties must be implemented at the appropriate level of government through the law of incorporation. In Canada, international treaties must not only be enforced by the federal government but also by the government in provinces and even in municipalities. Hence, because of this situation the Canadian provinces have become more important actors in international negotiations over the past 50 years.

The author considers that the development of Canada's internal politics is very interesting. In contrast to the development of para-diplomacy in other parts of the world, Quebec's para-diplomacy was initiated by the local governments themselves which eventually forced the central government to accommodate their interests with a wider distribution of power. If we compare this with the development of para-diplomacy in other countries/regions, it is often found that para-diplomacy only thoroughly developed after the issuance of national policies that gave legitimacy to these activities. According to the author, this is a unique precedence in the development history of paradiplomacy in Canada which shows that there is a tug-of-war in the cooperation between the central and regional governments based on the concept of multilevel governance in within the sphere of the Government of Canada. In addition, this precedence also shows the breadth of the scope in paradiplomacy itself as a field of study in contemporary era of international relations.


Based on this study, the researchers found that the foreign activities of sub-state actors can be an instrument implemented in an effort to introduce their identity. Not only that, besides also aiming for economic interests through efforts to establish relations in trade or other cooperation, its existence abroad is a place to show its capabilities in foreign relations. After the struggle of these two sub-state actors to determine their own destiny (self-determination), Aceh and Quebec reduced their political goals for independence, and shifted their resources to regional interests as regional development efforts. Thus, the para-diplomacy instrument in introducing its identity is carried out in a peaceful manner that is in line with the interests of the central government. It is also persuasive, and is carried out simultaneously with efforts to gain interest in other aspects, as in the aspect of economy.

This article also found that different forms of government systems lead to different directions for national policies of regions to operate abroad, thus bringing consequences to the conditions of activities of sub-state actors abroad. Aceh as part of the Republic of Indonesia which implements a unitary state government system, has a different pattern of paradiplomacy compared to Quebec which comply with the federal system government of Canada. Flexibility of Quebec in establishing relationships and activities abroad is wider than of Aceh. It has something to do with the aspect of institution, which requires Aceh to coordinate and consult with the Central Government to determine and implement the direction of its regional foreign relations. However, Aceh takes advantage of the decentralization and regional autonomy it has gained to conduct para-diplomacy with the partner countries, especially with Turkey which already has a history in foreign relations during the era of the former Kingdom of Aceh. The same identity with Turkey as countries with the majority of Moslem becomes a reinforcement for Aceh to carry out its foreign relations with Turkey in achieving regional interests.

This article has limitations, by all means, on the issue of diplomacy by the sub-state actors who make efforts to separate themselves from the central government, which is not discussed theoretically or aplicatively in this article. Accordingly, paradiplomacy, especially in a unitary state, shows a negative impression that there may be the elements of separatism. This would be interesting to be studied further for the next researcher to compare the model of paradiplomacy between the unitary state and the federalist state.


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