Create a state office of diplomatic engagement that centralizes and coordinates agency efforts to collaborate with other states, tribal governments, and countries.

BACKGROUND

The need for state-level diplomacy is growing, both within the United States and internationally. U.S. policy making is increasingly shifting towards states, given Congressional gridlock and a Supreme Court providing greater deference to state power. States are increasingly diverging on their policy choices, with opportunities for coordination as well as growing conflicts over state decisions that have spillover effects across borders. As the world’s fifth-largest economy, California has also forged international agreements that advance the state’s environmental and economic goals. In order to strengthen its external engagement, California should create a state Office of Diplomatic Engagement, to enhance diplomatic efforts and foster collaboration with states, nations, and tribal governments through the development of agreements and relationships of mutual understanding. 

KEY FEATURES 

  • The Office of Diplomatic Engagement would centralize and coordinate existing efforts across various state agencies, including providing technical assistance and lessons that can be transferred across issue areas.
  • The Office would seek to Increase the number, scope, and coordination of intergovernmental agreements and partnerships, including interstate compacts and informal agreements that are consistent with the U.S. Constitution and federal law.

IMPLEMENTATION AND SEQUENCING CONSIDERATIONS

  • In its first few years of formation, the entity will prioritize intergovernmental cooperation on commerce, water management, including for the Colorado River, climate change mitigation, immigrant inclusion, reproductive rights, and civil rights protections.
  • This proposal would benefit from lessons learned from the U.S. Climate Alliance and other similar interstate and intergovernmental efforts.
  • Cities and counties could also benefit from creating similar offices and efforts, working in coordination with the State Office of External Relations.