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Keywords:

  • capacity;
  • critical geopolitics;
  • Pacific;
  • small island states;
  • United Nations

Abstract

This paper captures some of the structural deficiencies within the United Nations' decision-making processes at its headquarters in New York. Ideas and methodological approaches from critical geopolitics are adopted here to examine semi-structured interviews held with Pacific ambassadors (n = 7) at the United Nations and bring new knowledge to an underexplored area. Results demonstrate that the institutional capacities of Pacific small island states hinder their ability to voice their concerns adequately at every United Nations' forum, while shifting imaginaries and a decline in popularity of issues has seen a drop in on-the-ground financial assistance for these states. In this way, this paper attempts to contribute to our understanding of the practice of international diplomacy within the United Nations.