ThesisPDF Available

E-Government-In-Exile: Non-Territorial State Continuity Using Data Embassies


Abstract and Figures

The definition of how contemporary statehood is defined has evolved throughout the centuries since its inception during the Peace of Westphalia. The interweaving between modern governments and technology along with developments like the Estonian Data Embassy Initiative shows that this evolution is continuing today. In many states around the world, major elements of governance are being digitized to the point where much of the structure of the organization could effectively be operated from the cloud. In the case of Estonia, the majority of the government has reached this point and is now preparing to be distributed worldwide using data embassies located outside its borders. This ability to have a fully functioning e-state that is detached from the physical realm opens up new questions for how a digital sovereign could coexist in a territorial world. This paper examines the concept of a data embassy-powered non-territorial e-state by asking how such a structure could provide benefit to a government and to its citizens. To do this, a possible future scenario was developed where a sovereign state transitions to a digital form when its territory is lost. This scenario analysis uses a realistic and inevitable future to determine the possible options for survival that a small island state can take as it faces destruction due to sea level rise. The paper identifies the advantages and disadvantages of operating as an e-state and identifies methods for maintaining digital continuity and sovereign status among the world’s family of nations.
Content may be subject to copyright.
Jason Ryan Thompson
E-Government-In-Exile: Non-Territorial State Continuity Using
Data Embassies
Master Thesis
at the Ragnar Nurkse Department of Innovation and Governance
(Tallinn University of Technology)
Principal Supervisor: Prof. Dr. Dr. Robert Krimmer
Presented by: Jason Ryan Thompson
Submission: 31st May 2019
You never change things by fighting the existing reality. To change
something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete.
Buckminster Fuller
Figures ................................................................. V
Tables .................................................................. VI
1 DeningaState....................................................... 1
1.1 What Is A State? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1
1.2 Research Overview . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2
1.2.1 Research Problem . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2
1.2.2 Research Questions . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3
1.2.3 Structure of the Paper . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3
1.3 Conclusion ...................................................... 4
2 The Lifecycle of a State . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5
2.1 Making a State: The Blueprint for Sovereignty . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5
2.1.1 Peace of Westphalia . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5
2.1.2 Statehood Theory . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6
2.1.3 The United Nations . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9
2.1.4 Conclusion . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 11
2.2 Losing a State: The Necessity of Governments-in-Exile . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 11
2.2.1 Sovereign Military Order of Malta . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 12
2.2.2 Estonian Government-In-Exile . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 15
2.2.3 Conclusion . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 17
2.3 Restoring a State: The Rise of the Digital State . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 17
2.3.1 The Data Embassy Initiative . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 20
2.4 Redefining a State: The Evolution of Sovereignty . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 26
2.4.1 Extinction of Small Island States . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 28
2.4.2 The Birth of E-States . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 30
2.5 Conclusion ...................................................... 31
3 Creating Futures Using Scenario Development . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 32
3.1 Research Design . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 32
3.1.1 Scenario Development and Analysis . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 32
3.1.2 Research Method . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 34
3.1.3 Limitations . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 38
3.1.4 Disclosure . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 38
3.2 Conclusion ...................................................... 38
4 Loss and Resurrection: The Case of Bakati . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 39
4.1 Republic of Bakati . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 39
4.1.1 Geography . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 39
4.1.2 History................................................... 42
4.1.3 Demographics . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 44
4.1.4 Government . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 45
4.1.5 Economy................................................. 47
4.1.6 Foreign Relations . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 48
4.1.7 Military .................................................. 48
4.2 Scenario Introduction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 49
4.2.1 2020/01/01 - The President’s New Year’s Speech. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 49
4.2.2 Bakatian Cabinet Meeting . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 49
4.2.3 Stakeholder Analysis . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 51
4.2.4 Final Cabinet Meeting Before Bakatian Assembly Vote (Point of
Scenario Diversion) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 54
4.3 Scenario I: Government-In-Exile . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 54
4.3.1 PESTLE Analysis . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 54
4.3.2 Decades I & II: Real Estate & Real Diplomacy . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 56
4.3.3 Decade III: Building the Future . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 58
4.3.4 Decade IV: Transitions . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 59
4.3.5 Decade V: Unsettled Settlement . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 61
4.3.6 Aftermath . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 63
4.4 Scenario II: E-Government-In-Exile . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 65
4.4.1 PESTLE Analysis . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 65
4.4.2 Decades I & II: Product Announcement . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 67
4.4.3 Decade III: Alpha Release . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 69
4.4.4 Decade IV: Worldwide Release . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 70
4.4.5 Decade V: Out of Beta . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 72
4.4.6 Aftermath . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 73
4.5 Conclusion ...................................................... 74
5 E-States and the Future of Sovereignty. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 76
5.1 Death of a Nation. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 76
5.2 Citizen Benefits of an E-State . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 77
5.3 E-States Versus Multinational Corporations . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 78
5.4 Expanding the Definition of Sovereignty . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 79
6 TheWayForward ..................................................... 81
6.1 How can a modern sovereign state maintain government continuity & in-
ternational legitimacy using e-government infrastructure and technology
in the event of a forced exile? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 81
6.2 What advantages and disadvantages does a pure e-state have in a West-
phalianworld?................................................... 81
6.3 Final Thoughts . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 83
References .............................................................. 85
1 SMOM seat at the United Nations General Assembly . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 14
2 Data Embassy Initiative Diagram from Kotka et al. (2016) . . . . . . . . . . . . 21
3 Data Embassy Diagram from Kotka and Liiv (2015) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 22
4 Scenario Typology Table from van Notten (2006) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 34
5 Intuitive-Logics Model features from Bradfield et al. (2005) . . . . . . . . . . . 35
6 Map of the Pacific showing the location of Bakati . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 40
7 MapofBakati ................................................. 41
8 Bakati Government Structure . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 47
9 Bakati Economy Chart . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 48
10 Map of the Pacific showing the location of new Bakatian communities . . 58
11 Bakati Government-In-Exile Diagram . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 63
12 Bakati E-Government Diagram . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 72
1 Stakeholder Analysis Summary Table . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 51
2 Scenario I PESTLE Analysis . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 55
3 Scenario II PESTLE Analysis . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 66
The definition of how contemporary statehood is defined has evolved throughout the
centuries since its inception during the Peace of Westphalia. The interweaving between
modern governments and technology along with developments like the Estonian Data
Embassy Initiative shows that this evolution is continuing today. In many states around
the world, major elements of governance are being digitized to the point where much
of the structure of the organization could eectively be operated from the cloud. In
the case of Estonia, the majority of the government has reached this point and is now
preparing to be distributed worldwide using data embassies located outside its borders.
This ability to have a fully functioning e-state that is detached from the physical realm
opens up new questions for how a digital sovereign could coexist in a territorial world.
This paper examines the concept of a data embassy-powered non-territorial e-state by
asking how such a structure could provide benefit to a government and to its citizens.
To do this, a possible future scenario was developed where a sovereign state transitions
to a digital form when its territory is lost. This scenario analysis uses a realistic and
inevitable future to determine the possible options for survival that a small island state
can take as it faces destruction due to sea level rise. The paper identifies the advantages
and disadvantages of operating as an e-state and identifies methods for maintaining
digital continuity and sovereign status among the world’s family of nations.
1 Defining a State
This chapter introduces the overall topic of this paper: how a non-territorial e-state pow-
ered by data embassies can provide value for itself and its citizens. Key concepts will be
introduced as well as the research questions that will guide the research found in the next
five chapters. This chapter finishes with an overview of the paper’s overall structure.
1.1 What Is A State?
The answer: It’s complicated.
A state (or, somewhat interchangeably, a nation or a country) can be many dierent things
depending on who is asking the question, who is answering the question, and to what
exactly the question is referring. A state can be one of the 193 Member States of the
United Nations, almost all of which are universally considered sovereign by their peers
(Österud 1997, p. 167). A state can also be a collective of semi-sovereign governments
within a sovereign state like the fifty United States of America or the union of England,
Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland within one United Kingdom. A state can also
be disputed or exiled like the ongoing conflict between Israel & occupied Palestine, the
unrecognized but functioning states of the Caucasus, the stalemate between mainland
China and Taiwan, or the long exiled Sovereign Military Order of Malta (p. 168-169).
All of the above entities can be considered states of diering sovereignty, legitimacy, and
recognition on the world stage.
This paper looks to add one more kind of state to this already crowded typology: the dig-
ital state or e-state. While current norms of state-building require a settled population on
a governed piece of physical territory (Pan-American Union 1933), an e-state would exist
solely in a digital form in a distributed cloud environment, negating the need for a defined
territorial location (Kotka and Liiv 2015). Citizens of an e-state would access its digital
services over the internet using a form of digital identification for secure authentication.
The reasons for creating and operating such an piece of technology can vary on the needs,
history, and future outlook of a state, but the core mission for such a system is to allow
a government to survive a large-scale disaster, natural or manmade, that would render a
physical, territorial government nonoperational, defunct, or obsolete.
While the concept of an e-state may seem like science-fiction, one has already been de-
veloped and is in limited operation today. It is unclear whether more of these systems
will be developed by other states, but the fact that such a system exists has forever al-
tered the current world order of nation-states and questions the current definitions of state
sovereignty. It is truly a new frontier to be explored in the intersection of e-governance
and international law.
1.2 Research Overview
The Republic of Estonia’s Data Embassy Initiative aims to use both public and private data
clouds to ensure that the nation’s elaborate e-government infrastructure can be securely
backed up and indefinitely survive a downtime event (Kotka and Liiv 2015). These events
can be anything from simple equipment failure to a cyber attack from a foreign power to
a total territorial occupation by a hostile force. This initiative, informed by Estonia’s long
past as an occupied state, expands the possibilities of how a state can present itself among
its peers, replacing the need for a territorial occupation with the speed and eciency
gained from taming the digital realm.
While the system’s use as a total replacement of a physical state (or, in the language of
its proposal, ensuring “digital continuity and the functioning of the state”) is only one of
its use cases, it is described as one of the five key pillars of the project by its architects
(Kotka and Liiv 2015, p. 151). However, two additional pillars (the protection of “digital
monuments” and establishing the worldwide availability of digital services) support the
idea that this initiative is preparing for the state’s inevitable digital future, or in the words
of the architects: “building up a state without borders” (p. 151).
1.2.1 Research Problem
While the architects of the Estonian Data Embassy Initiative have provided a vision of
how it a state could digitally survive in the event of a total occupation, a scenario of how
this will work in practice has never been published. While it is impossible to predict the
future with perfect accuracy, it is important to examine future scenarios where this new
system of digital government is implemented and used in a real world case. How would
the stakeholders (the state, the citizens, and the international community) react to and
interact with a digital entity that acts like and functions as if it were a state? And could
a non-territorial e-state actually have advantages over its territorial siblings? This avenue
of inquiry will form the core of this paper’s research.
This paper aims to imagine a future where these new technologies and ideas are put into
practice to see if a sovereign non-territorial e-state can coexist in a territorial world. This
style of ‘wargaming’ the proposed e-state system will attempt to provide more clarity and
understanding to a technology that is still very much theoretical in its future use. It will
also aim to emphasize the advantages and drawbacks of such a system see if other govern-
ments would find benefit in a similar implementation despite the large scale infrastructure
investment and digitalization needed for its operation. This investigation is not intended
to be comprehensive or even reflect the one e-state system in operation in Estonia. In-
stead, this will be a broader exploration into how an e-state system could be implemented
in a real-life scenario.
1.2.2 Research Questions
In order to address this gap in the research, this paper will attempt to answer the following
research questions in Chapter 6 using the research and analysis conducted in Chapters 4
and 5.
How can a modern sovereign state maintain government continuity and interna-
tional legitimacy using e-government infrastructure and technology in the event
of a forced exile?
What advantages and disadvantages does a pure e-state have in a Westphalian
1.2.3 Structure of the Paper
This paper is divided into six chapters that explore the use of government digitalization
and data embassies in order to preserve a state in the event of total territorial loss.
This first chapter introduced the reader to the topic of this paper and to the
research questions that it will attempt to answer.
The second chapter will explore the lifecycle of a state beginning from the Peace
of Westphalia to the present day technological developments that can elongate
the life of a state past the loss of its physical territory.
The third chapter will explain the methodology of this paper’s research and
briefly explore the field of scenario development.
The fourth chapter will begin a theoretical exploration how a state would utilize
a government digitalization to preserve itself in a catastrophic loss of territory
due to sea level rise spurred by climate change. This scenario will be compared
to an ‘analog’ exile of the government and its people.
The fifth chapter will analyze the scenarios created in the previous chapter in
order to derive answers to the research questions posed above.
The sixth and final chapter will attempt to answer this paper’s research ques-
tions and conclude this paper’s research into data embassies as a means of state
1.3 Conclusion
This first chapter introduced the concept of an e-state to join the existing typology of
sovereign government structures. It also set out the course that this paper’s research will
take along with two research questions to pursue. The following chapter will begin an
exploration into the lifecycle of a state to provide a clearer path from the origin of the
modern state to the future’s possible methods of state preservation using digitalization
and cloud distribution.
2 The Lifecycle of a State
We live in a world of nation states: persons of international law that collectively represent
groups of individuals, democratically or undemocratically, based on history, culture, lan-
guage, religion, geography, ethnicity, and/or other binding factors (Rozynek 2017, 17-36).
These states, much like the people that they represent, can be both created and destroyed.
However, as these states are not natural beings, they also can merge together, separate
apart, hibernate in exile, and subsequently reemerge back onto the national stage. Despite
being a human creation, states share one quality with the natural world: they must adapt to
survive with the changing natural, political, and cultural environment or face extinction.
This chapter will examine the lifecycle of a state by reviewing academic and historic lit-
erature about the creation & destruction of states, states forced into territorial exile, and
the reemergence of these states to rebuild themselves & adapt for future challenges. First,
the creation of the Westphalian system of states will be examined along with how one can
define what is and is not a state. Then, the concept of governments-in-exile will be intro-
duced along with historical examples of state survival through this method of adaptation.
Next, an example of a state restoration will be identified along with that state’s method
to safeguard against future occupation and exile. Finally, this paper will reexamine the
requirements for statehood in the context of the modern world and emerging e-states that
aim to challenge the Westphalian system.
2.1 Making a State: The Blueprint for Sovereignty
This section will take a brief look through history to determine how sovereign states
are made. First, the beginnings of state sovereignty itself as a result of the Peace of
Westphalia will be examined. Next, the Montevideo Agreement, a more modern take on
the requirements for a sovereign state, will be detailed.
2.1.1 Peace of Westphalia
To find an end to the Thirty Year’s War that devastated central Europe in the seventeenth
century, delegations from the warring parties convened in the Westphalian cities of Mün-
ster and Osnabrück to negotiate a lasting peace (Croxton 1999, p. 569). The result of
this five year negotiation was called the Peace of Westphalia, an agreement that began the
march towards the modern Westphalian world order of equal, inalienable, and sovereign
nation-states (Gross 1948, p. 20-22). While the treaties signed did not explicitly design
the sovereign world order of that operates today, they did lay the foundation for this world
to be created by moving Europe away from sovereign rule by the church (Croxton 1999,
p. 591).
When considering the Peace of Westphalia’s place in history, many scholars disagree with
the premise that it was the starting point for the system of nation-states that exists today
(Croxton 1999, p. 569). What is generally undisputed by scholars is that the Peace of
Westphalia marks a key moment in the beginning of the development of international
law and a new way of viewing relations and disagreements between states (Gross 1948,
p. 25-26). The documents that were signed in Münster and Osnabrück promoted a world
held together by the rule of law rather than by the blade of the sword. Gross summarizes
this promotion of peaceful conflict resolution and the longevity of these ideas:
[The peaceful settlement of disputes and sanctions] was a “novel feature” in
international treaty and peacemaking. The provisions for a moratorium of
war, the settlement of disputes by peaceful means, and for individual and
collective sanctions against the aggressor, after a delay of three years, al-
though proclaimed primarily for the Empire, the members of which had been
given their sovereign rights to conclude treaties of alliance, have nevertheless
served as a model for numerous subsequent treaties. They constitute, in a
sense, an early precedent for Articles 10, 12, and 16, of the Covenant of the
League of Nations. (Gross 1948, p. 25)
These same ideas of peaceful resolution and sanctions continued on in the Charter of the
United Nations (United Nations 1945). Gross goes on to conclude that the Peace of West-
phalia can best be seen as “an end of an epoch and the opening of another” (Gross 1948,
p. 28). The old world that Westphalia ended was one ruled by religion and the unitary
governing force of the Holy Roman Emperor and the Papacy. While the preceding Refor-
mation and the Renaissance created new ideas of government, politics, and intellectualism
and subsequently weakened the governing powers of the church, the Peace of Westphalia
was considered a final “public act of disregard of the international authority of the Pa-
pacy” and set the stage for the governance of the church to fall in the following centuries
(p. 28). In its place, the modern system of equal & sovereign territorial nation-states with
no higher authority would be created (p. 29).
2.1.2 Statehood Theory
There are two major competing theories that can be used to determine if entities can be
declared to be sovereign states: constitutive theory and declarative theory (Erman 2013,
p. 131-132). Each of these theories tends to be championed by academics from dier-
ing fields. Constructivist international relations scholars tend to back constitutive theory
while international lawyers tend to prefer the more objective declarative theory (p. 130).
Both theories attempt to reach the same end but dier by the perspective used to determine
if an entity is truly sovereign.
Constitutive Theory of Statehood
The constitutive theory of statehood simply states that an entity is considered a state if
other sovereign states recognize it as such (Erman 2013, p. 132). Therefore, only states
can create other states through their own recognition.
One of the major flaws of constitutive theory is when a new state is recognized only by
a subset of existing states, posing a question of what percentage of states recognizing an
entity as sovereign is needed for it to become a state (Ryngaert and Sobrie 2011, p. 469).
Moreover, the decision for a state to recognize another states is usually based more on
politics rather than objective factors which makes the process even more opaque. Ryn-
gaert and Sobrie conclude that constitutive theory defines statehood as a relative concept
rather than one based on objective truth (p. 469).
Declarative Theory of Statehood
The declarative theory of statehood defines a set of criteria that an entity must have met in
order to be seen as a state in international law (Erman 2013, p. 131-132). It also specifi-
cally rejects the idea of external recognition by other states since “acts of recognition de-
clare something that already exists, rather than contribute to its very existence” (p. 131).
The principles of declarative theory are best laid out in the 1933 Convention on Rights and
Duties of States Adopted by the Seventh International Conference of American States, oth-
erwise known as the Montevideo Convention (Pan-American Union 1933). Article 1 of
this convention states the required criteria of statehood:
The State as a person of international law should possess the following qual-
(1) a permanent population;
(2) a defined territory;
(3) government; and
(4) capacity to enter into relations with the other states. (Pan-American
Union 1933)
Article 3 directly contradicts the constitutive theory of statehood by stating:
The political existence of the State is independent of recognition by the other
States. Even before recognition the State has the right to defend its integrity
and independence, to provide for its conservation and prosperity, and conse-
quently to organise itself as it sees fit, to legislate upon its interests, admin-
ister its services, and to define the jurisdiction and competence of its courts.
(Pan-American Union 1933)
Finally, when addressing the meaning of state recognition in Article 6, the convention
states that: “Recognition is unconditional and irrevocable” (Pan-American Union 1933).
Therefore, should a state recognize another state, it cannot withdraw its recognition in the
future since it already confirmed the state’s existence (Ryngaert and Sobrie 2011, p. 470).
Critics of declarative theory accuse it of being a simple checklist of things needed for an
entity to become sovereign (Erman 2013, p. 132). Declarative theory ignores the socio-
political dimension of international relations and politics when examining the legitimacy
of a state’s declaration of existence, which is key since states are unnatural, social struc-
tures (p. 134-135). Declarative proponents argue that disregarding these arbitrary dimen-
sions is precisely why these criteria are a more objective way of determining sovereignty.
Applying Statehood Theory in the Modern World
In practice, neither constitutive nor declarative theory are wholly used on the modern po-
litical stage (Ioannidis 2014, p. 976). Instead, a balance of the two has become the practice
for assessing the sovereignty of a state. Nevertheless, the political aspect of recognition
still dominates much of the discussion of sovereignty, while defined legal requirements
take a secondary role. Ioannidis cites the 1992 example of Bosnia and Herzegovina &
Croatia being recognized and admitted into the United Nations when much of their terri-
tory was not in the control of their respective governments, contradicting a key require-
ment of declarative theory. In these cases, a more constitutive approach was taken due to
the political motives of aected and neighboring states. Furthermore, governments that
meet the declarative theory criteria like Abkhazia, Artsakh, Northern Cyprus, Somaliland,
South Ossetia, and Transnistria all fail to achieve substantial recognition (or, in the case of
Somaliland, no recognition at all), due to perceived illegitimacy in their founding. Again,
this is due to the political will of the greater international community. Despite this lack of
recognition, these de facto states continue to function as independent entities internally.
There are also cases of states in the modern world that fulfill the declarative Montevideo
conditions yet fail to achieve widespread recognition by other states due to political in-
fluence by territorial or ideological rivals (Vidmar 2012, 699). Kosovo is one of the more
recent examples of a state achieving the Montevideo criteria but not receiving comprehen-
sive recognition (approximately half of United Nations member states recognize Kosovo
as of 2019) (p. 740-741). An example of the opposite case is the government of the Re-
public of China in exile on the island of Taiwan, a state that is gradually losing recognition
in favor of its larger mainland rival, the People’s Republic of China (Hu 2015, p. 2).
2.1.3 The United Nations
In a 1918 speech to the United States Congress, President Woodrow Wilson announced
America’s program to the end of the war in Europe (United States Congress 1918). This
speech, commonly known as his ‘Fourteen Points’ speech, was one of the first that called
for the nations of the world to work together as a collective to ensure lasting peace. His
fourteenth point referenced this ambition and called for “a general association of nations
must be formed under specific covenants for the purpose of aording mutual guarantees
of political independence and territorial integrity to great and small states alike” (United
States Congress 1918). This ambition would lead to the creation of the League of Nations
in 1920 and its successor, the United Nations, in 1945.
The founding of intergovernmental organizations like the League of Nations and the
United Nations created a new method of identifying and recognizing sovereign states.
As of 2019, there are 193 sovereign Member States of the United Nations (United Na-
tions 2019b) along with two sovereign Observer States (the Holy See and the State of
Palestine) (United Nations 2019c). Observer states have most of the rights of Member
States with the exception of the right to vote on resolutions.
Admission into the United Nations functions as the de facto mark of recognized sovereignty
in the modern world. The criteria for admission is contained in Article IV of the Charter
of the United Nations which states that:
(1) Membership in the United Nations is open to all other peace-loving states
which accept the obligations contained in the present Charter and, in the judg-
ment of the Organization, are able and willing to carry out these obligations.
(2) The admission of any such state to membership in the United Nations will be
eected by a decision of the General Assembly upon the recommendation of
the Security Council. (United Nations 1945)
The responsibility for state recognition under the UN system is transferred from an ad-hoc
collective of individual states to the approval of the Security Council (without veto by the
five permanent members) and at least two-thirds of the General Assembly (United Nations
1945). Therefore, it is possible for a third of Member States to not agree to recognizing a
new state joining the United Nations.
Expulsion from the League of Nations &the United Nations
Throughout the short history of the League of Nations, many countries either voluntarily
withdrew from the League, were forced to leave due to territorial occupation, or were
expelled from the organization (League of Nations 1946). The one nation to be expelled,
the Soviet Union, was forced out by consensus due to its bombing of Finland in Novem-
ber 1939. This expulsion was not a rejection of the legitimacy of the Soviet state by the
League, but simply that “by its act, the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics has placed it-
self outside the League of Nations...It follows that the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics
is no longer a Member of the League” (League of Nations 1939).
Article VI of the Charter of the United Nations declares that expulsion from the body
can occur when a state continually violates the principles of the Charter (United Nations
1945). Since its creation in 1945, however, no state has been formally expelled from the
United Nations. Several former UN Member States do exist due to state succession (i.e.
the Soviet Union to the Russian Federation), state mergers (the unifications of Germany
& Yemen and the unification of Egypt & Syria into the United Arab Republic (UAR)),
and state breakup (Czechoslovakia, Tanganyika and Zanzibar, the UAR, and Yugoslavia)
(United Nations 2019a). These former Member States were not removed from the UN
system due to a revocation of recognized sovereignty from the UN itself nor its Member
States but instead due to internal politics within the nations themselves.
There was one historical exception to this precedent where politics became the driving
force to suppressing the sovereignty and recognition of a United Nations Member State
and its citizens. The Chinese Civil War of the early twentieth century resulted in two Chi-
nese governments that fulfilled the Montevideo criteria for statehood (Lu 2001, p. 14-15).
The first was the existing Chinese state, the Republic of China (ROC), who was forced to
move its seat of government to the island of Taiwan. The second was the newly formed
communist People’s Republic of China (PRC) that controlled the mainland. The ROC
was a founding member of the United Nations and held a permanent seat on the Security
Council. In the 1970s, as more states joined the UN that looked more favorably on the
PRC government, General Assembly Resolution 2758(XXVI) was passed by a superma-
jority in the General Assembly which transferred the diplomatic credentials of ‘China’
from the ROC to the PRC, de facto removing the ROC from the United Nations entirely
(United Nations 1971). The Republic of China has attempted to rejoin the United Nations
but has been unsuccessful due to the veto power of the PRC government in the Security
Council. This is the only instance of the United Nations, by way of its Member States,
forcibly withdrawing the recognition of a state. As of 2019, only seventeen UN Member
States recognize the ROC as the legitimate government of China, a number that has fallen
dramatically since the nation’s unocial expulsion from the body (Ministry of Foreign
Aairs 2019a).
2.1.4 Conclusion
The world and its system of nation states has significantly evolved from the Peace of
Westphalia to the present day. What began as a reordering of feudal Europe ended as a
worldwide system of mutual recognition, non-interference, and respect for the integrity of
all states large and small. While no system is perfect, the latest version of the Westphalian
world order created in 1945 and guided by the United Nations has proven to be able to
allow diplomatic negotiation to flourish instead of the large scale military conflict seen
before its establishment. And, with one extraordinary exception, the United Nations and
its Member States have established a world where the sovereignty of a state is a right to be
guarded. The latter half of the twentieth century and the beginning of the twenty-first was
not without conflict and breaches of this inalienable right of states, but the world order
has held together. But with new challenges for states to face in the immediate future, for
how long is uncertain.
2.2 Losing a State: The Necessity of Governments-in-Exile
Whether it is for resources, revenge, respect, or simply as retaliation, war and invasion
are found throughout all eras of human history. Conflict between states is an inevitable
consequence of a world divided, and an outcome that must always be considered is what
happens to governments, or persons of international law, should their territory be captured
by another actor.
This section will explore this idea using two historical examples of governments forced
into exile due to invasion: the medieval Sovereign Military Order of Malta being exiled
by Napoleon in the late eighteenth century and the Republic of Estonia during its period
of Soviet occupation in the mid to late twentieth century. The actions of each government
will be examined as they find ways to maintain their sovereign status and relevance in
2.2.1 Sovereign Military Order of Malta
The Sovereign Military Hospitaller Order of Saint John of Jerusalem, of Rhodes and
of Malta (otherwise known as the Order of Saint John, the Sovereign Military Order of
Malta (SMOM), or simply the Order of Malta) is a religious order that was formed to run
a hospital for pilgrims in Jerusalem beginning in the mid 1000s (d’Olivier Farran 1954,
p. 221-222). Almost one millennium later, the Order continues to exist as an international
humanitarian organization. During these intervening years, the Order became a person of
international law due to it holding and governing territory in, as suggested by the Order’s
formal name, Jerusalem, Rhodes, and Malta as well as in Acre, Cyprus, and the Caribbean
(p. 219-220). It is also a prominent example of a functioning government-in-exile as it has
continued to maintain its sovereign status for centuries without maintaining any territory
in its name.
When the Order of Saint John established their presence on the island of Rhodes in the
eastern Mediterranean Sea in 1310, it retrospectively became a sovereign state using the
standards that are in use today (Karski 2012, p. 20). While the Order had (and still has)
extremely close ties with the Holy See, the state established on Rhodes was indepen-
dent and not a vassal of the church (p. 21). In addition, due to its decentralized roots, it
maintained “commanderies, priories, [and] bailiwicks” in many other countries in which
it had full jurisdiction over territory (p. 21). When the Order was forced from Rhodes
in 1522 by the Ottoman Empire, their leadership retreated back to these enclaves within
other nations (notable examples include “Hyeres, Messina, Civitavecchia, Viterbo, Rome
and Nice”) until 1530 when the Holy Roman Emperor granted to the Order the Maltese
Islands to reestablish their state (p. 22). It was during the Maltese period that the Order of
Saint John became a dominate power in the region as noted by Soza´
nski (1990) (translated
by Karski):
The Knights established a strong sovereign state within their territories. Its
institutions and functions were developed to a degree comparable to that of
European powers. For over 250 years Malta was the dominant military power
in the Mediterranean Sea. In addition, the state entered into [a] dozen or so
international agreements at that time. It had its ambassadors or envoys at all
courts of Christian rulers in Europe. (Karski 2012, p. 22)
The SMOM was again forced from its territory in 1798 by the French and moved its ex-
iled government to its embassy in Rome where it remains today (Karski 2012, p. 22-23).
This could have easily been the end of the sovereign status of the Order, but due to the
continued recognition of the SMOM by other states, the Order continued to be sovereign
(although in a more limited fashion) under international law. This is an ideal example of
the constitutive theory of statehood in action where a state remains sovereign as long as
other states recognize it as such (see Section 2.1.2). In addition to other states continu-
ing diplomatic relations with the order, several government studies and court decisions
confirm the SMOM’s sovereign status as a “former territorial sovereign” (Karski 2012,
p. 30):
Article X of the 1802 Treaty of Amiens between the France, Spain, and the
United Kingdom state that “The islands of Malta, Gozo, and Comino, shall
be restored to the order of Saint John of Jerusalem to be held on the same
conditions, on which it possessed them before the war” (United Nations 1802).
The United Kingdom, however, never transferred control of the islands back to
the Order as stipulated in the treaty.
The Italian government also confirmed the SMOM’s legitimacy in 1868 by say-
ing that “in the eyes of the European public law, the Order of Malta has not had
its sovereignty broken” (Karski 2012, p. 23).
In the early 1950s, Pope Pius XII ordered a cardinal-led investigation of the
SMOM in order to determine its status as part of the Roman Catholic church
(Karski 2012, p. 24). Two years later, the tribunal concluded that the Order was
indeed sovereign and that it was a “subject of international law” (p. 24).
The Order Today
The SMOM still exercises many practices that are usually reserved for states. Examples
include issuing passports, making treaties with other states and international organiza-
tions, minting currency, and printing stamps (Cox 2006, p. 223-224). As of 2019, the
Order maintains diplomatic relations with 108 sovereign states (Sovereign Order of Malta
2019a). The Order of Malta is also a member or observer of many international and inter-
governmental organizations including the Council of Europe, the European Commission,
the Inter-American Development Bank, the International Committee of the Red Cross,
the International Organization for Migration, and the United Nations (as shown in Figure
1) (Sovereign Order of Malta 2019b).
While the order currently does not have sovereign control over any territory, it does have
extraterritorial status in several locations. In Rome, the Order controls two buildings, the
Magistral Palace and the Magistral Villa, which serves as their de facto capital (Karski
2012, p. 24). On Malta, the Order was granted use of the Fort Saint Angelo in a 1998
treaty (Government of Malta 1998). This treaty guaranteed the Order much of the same
extraterritorial rights as dictated in the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations (see
Section 2.3.1 for more information).
Figure 1 Image showing the permanent observer seat of the Sovereign Military Order
of Malta at the United Nations General Assembly in New York. Photo was taken by the
In the past century, many non-state entities have been recognized as sovereign persons de-
spite them not having a permanent population or sovereign territory (Cox 2006, p. 214).
Such organizations include the United Nations and the European Union. The Sovereign
Military Order of Malta could be seen as a blueprint for these new innovations in inter-
national law due to its unique position in history and on the modern international stage.
It also provides a template for states to follow in the future should their territory be lost
due to conflict or catastrophe. As the Order demonstrates, the state can be separated from
its territory and still live on as long as it remains relevant & legitimate in the eyes of its
fellow sovereigns.
2.2.2 Estonian Government-In-Exile
The Republic of Estonia gained formal independence from Russia after its war for inde-
pendence on February 2nd, 1920 (League of Nations 1920). Shortly after the founding
of the Estonian state, it joined the League of Nations and established diplomatic relations
with many nations across the world (Ministry of Foreign Aairs 2019b). The new nation
became an accepted and sovereign member of the international community of states.
Reoccupation and Failed Rebirth
On the 17th of June, 1940, the Soviet Union began an occupation of Estonia and incorpo-
rated it as a state of the Soviet Union less than two months later (Mälksoo 2000, p. 290).
The Estonian Prime Minister at the time of the invasion, Jüri Uluots, was forced into hid-
ing as several other prominent Estonian politicians, including the President Konstantin
Päts, were expelled and imprisoned outside of Estonia. Since the President was deposed,
executive authority of the occupied Republic of Estonia was transferred to Uluots as dic-
tated in the Estonian Constitution (p. 291). He remained in Estonia during the German
occupation of Estonia from 1941 to 1944.
As the German Army was being driven from the Baltic region by the Soviet Army, Uluots
demanded on September 17th, 1944 that the retreating Germans restore the former Re-
public to be the legitimate government of Estonia (Mälksoo 2000, p. 295). The Germans
did not comply. Therefore, Uluots appointed Otto Tief to be the Republic of Estonia’s new
prime minister on the 18th and attempted to form a new government. The Estonian flag
was raised in Tallinn on the 20th, and the new Estonian government was announced on
the following day (p. 296). This government was short-lived since the Red Army reached
Tallinn on the 22nd. The majority of the people of this new government were either killed
or sent to prison including Prime Minister Tief. Uluots successfully escaped to Sweden a
few days earlier. The Soviet Union would occupy and control the territory of Estonia for
the next half century.
While the short-lived Tief administration was not successful in establishing a functioning
government in Estonian territory, it did prove that the Republic of Estonia was still active
and that its continuity was still ongoing (Mälksoo 2000, p. 297). In addition, since both
the Soviet and German occupations were only successful by use of force and there were
numerous violations of the Hague Convention against peaceful civilians, both occupa-
tions were deemed illegal by the majority of the international community. For example,
the United States’ ocial stance on the occupation of Estonia is “the United States had
never recognized the forcible incorporation of Estonia into the Soviet Union, and it views
the present Government of Estonia as the legal continuation of the interwar republic”
(Department of State 2019).
Exiled Government
Before Jüri Uluots death from gastric cancer in 1945, he transferred the Presidency of the
Republic of Estonia from himself to the eldest surviving member of the Tief government,
August Rei (Mälksoo 2000, p. 298). This was a legitimate constitutional transition as
dictated by Article 52 of the 1937 Estonian Constitution which states:
The Prime Minister represents the Government of the Republic; he leads and
coordinates its activities and directs its meetings; he is entitled to interrogate
the individual ministers with regard to their actions and to give them direc-
On the proposal of the Prime Minister the President of the Republic nomi-
nates from among the ministers an Acting Prime Minister. If the Prime Min-
ister and the Acting Prime Minister are unable to discharge the duties of the
Prime Minister, these are performed by the oldest member of the Government
of the Republic. (Republic of Estonia 1937)
After eight years of inactivity, the Estonian government-in-exile was declared in Oslo on
January 12th, 1953 (Mälksoo 2000, p. 298).1During the exiled government’s existence,
the powers of the President were transferred in the same manner to Aleksander Warma
(1963-1970), Tõnis Kint (1970-1990), and Heinrich Mark (1990-1992). After the republic
was restored in Estonia and the new President, Lennart Meri, was instated, Mark resigned
as the exiled President and ended the government-in-exile (p. 300). In a ceremony in
October 1992, President Meri expressed his appreciation for Mark and for the members
of the Estonian government-in-exile “for preserving the continuity of the Republic of
Estonia” (p. 300).
While the Estonian government-in-exile was mostly symbolic in nature and was at the
time unrecognized by other nations, it played a major role once Estonia reestablished its
government in 1992 (Mälksoo 2000, p. 311). As Meri stated in 1992, it did, whether
recognized or not, continue the legal existence of the Republic and successfully main-
tained the continuity of leadership as expressed through the 1937 Estonian Constitution.
Even though Heinrich Mark never served as the President of the reestablished republic,
1A short lived second Estonian government-in-exile was declared in Augustdorf, West Germany in
March of 1953 by Estonian politician Alfred Maurer. He died the following year, and the second
exiled government faded into obscurity (Mälksoo 2000, p. 298).
his recognition of the new administration and subsequent resignation allowed a peace-
ful transfer of the legal entity of the Republic to the Tallinn government. In return, the
work of Jüri Uluots and his successors was recognized and retrospectively legitimized
into the ocial history of the state. This is best shown on the website of the Estonian
Presidency ( where the caretaker presidents of the government-in-exile are
displayed alongside the heads of state from the 1918 to 1940 era as well as the modern
post-1992 era leaders (Oce of the President 2019).
By many metrics, the Estonian government-in-exile was not successful. It was not recog-
nized by other states, it did not reach out to the Estonian diaspora or Estonians still within
the country, and it was eectively powerless (Mälksoo 2000, p. 312). It was successful,
however, in maintaining the ‘heartbeat’ of the Estonian state in the form of an unbroken
line of succession. While the exiled government was never a functional part of the resur-
rection of the Republic, it did provide significant symbolic value as the caretaker of the
legal entity that was created in 1918. The modern Estonian government’s recognition of
this work supports this value.
2.2.3 Conclusion
The successes of the Order of Saint John’s and the Republic of Estonia’s governments-in-
exile challenge the Montevidean notion that a state requires territory to exist and function.
The Estonian case challenges the constitutive notion that a state requires recognition to be
legitimate. What can be concluded is that the process of gaining, losing, and maintaining
sovereignty in the Westphalian world is much more complex than can be described in
a set of comprehensive theories. Sovereignty depends as much on the environment of
the moment as on a set of criteria in a checklist. Given the right environment and the
willingness of key stakeholders, a state can exist outside the confines of territory and
remain a legal and eective entity.
In the following section, the story of the Republic of Estonia continues as the newly
reestablished state rebuilds itself and plans for the future. It also looks to its past to devise
a new method to prevent a territorial occupation from exiling the state again.
2.3 Restoring a State: The Rise of the Digital State
The modern Republic of Estonia, considered the same sovereign entity that gained in-
dependence in 1918, was restored as the de facto government of the Estonian territory
in 1991 (Feldman 1999, p. 168). The previous government of the territory, the Estonian
Soviet Socialist Republic, was declared an illegal occupation by the Supreme Soviet of
the Estonian SSR in 1989 which maintained the Republic of Estonia’s de jure legitimacy
as the sole sovereign Estonian state (Nutt 2007, p. 26). As its exile was lifted, one of the
Estonian state’s first goals, for both practical and symbolic reasons, was a ‘desovietiza-
tion’ of the country and the rebuilding of the Estonian identity (p. 168 -170). This process
including determining who was entitled to Estonian citizenship and the redistribution of
seized land to these citizens. These two initiatives would later form two of the most im-
portant databases to the Estonian state: the Population Register (Riigikogu 2000) and the
Land Register (Riigikogu 1993). This importance can best be summed up by §103 of the
Population Register Act which states that “during a state of emergency or state of war,
the chief processor is required to take measures to preserve and protect or destroy the
data in the population register” (Riigikogu 2000). In other words, the data is so vital to
the functioning and legitimacy of the Estonian state that it must be preserved at all cost
unless it would, with certainly, fall into enemy hands.
After the restoration of the Estonian state and creating the necessary systems to establish
citizenship and land rights, the country’s leaders took a dierent path from the other post-
Soviet states and began to build a “highly developed information society” with a focus
on e-government (Kotka and Liiv 2015, p. 150). Nearly all of the services of the modern
Estonian state are augmented by a digital component including law with the digital sig-
nature, taxes with e-filing, and elections with e-voting (Kalvet 2012, p. 143). As a result
of this focus, Estonia became one of the leaders in the movement toward government dig-
italization and was ranked 16th in the world in the 2018 edition of the United Nation’s
E-Government Survey (United Nations 2018, p. 229) and 5th in the world for a focus on
cybersecurity (p. 70).
Estonia’s success at the digitization of its government also created a new vector of attack
for enemies of the regime. In 2007, in response to the relocation of a Soviet war memorial
in Tallinn, the Estonian government, banks, organizations, internet providers, and media
were subjected to a series of distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks by a malicious
actor (Czosseck et al. 2011, p. 57). Of specific note, the websites of the Estonian President
and the Riigikogu (which would later be dubbed ‘digital monuments’ (Kotka and Liiv
2015, p. 152)) were defaced or taken oine. These attacks, which began on April 27th,
lasted approximately three weeks and ended at the end of May 2007 (Tikk et al. 2010,
p. 16). While no conclusive evidence was found to implicate state actors in the attack,
members of the Russian youth activist group Nashi, who also organized riots in the streets
of Moscow, claimed to have been responsible (p. 23).
Several results of these cyber attacks were noted by researchers and included a decrease
in the domestic economy and a probable decrease in trust of e-government initiatives by
the public (Tikk et al. 2010, p. 25). In addition, the domestic law of the time inhibited
the ability of the Estonian state to properly investigate the attacks which, along with the
refusal of legal cooperation from the Russian Federation, led the investigation to only
arrest one person, a 19 year old Estonian student of Russian descent (p. 26-28).
In order to rectify the deficiencies identified in the Estonian e-government and law, the
nation began a government-wide cyber security initiative in 2008 (Tikk et al. 2010, p. 29).
This initiative, led by the Cyber Security Strategy Committee, drafted a strategy for the fu-
ture of the stronger and more secure development of Estonia’s e-government that focused
on five specific points:
(1) Develop modern security measures to be applied to all government systems
that place a focus on planning for service disturbance or unavailability;
(2) Create a “national expertise” in cyber security and develop a series of stan-
dards and requirements for IT training for the government and the private
(3) Pass a new legal framework to ensure the protection and defense of the Esto-
nian government and business infrastructure;
(4) Bring together a coalition of friendly nations to draft agreements to combat
cyber attacks in law as well as in the public eye;
(5) Educate the public on the threat of cyber attacks (Tikk et al. 2010, p. 30).
Over the following years, the Estonian state began developing a solution to prevent future
cyber attacks on the Estonian e-government (Kotka and Liiv 2015, 150-151). These plans
also incorporated a second, darker scenario to defend against: a future occupation of
Estonian territory by a hostile power (p. 152). It is natural for the Estonian state to be
vigilant about maintaining the continuity of state should such an event occur because of
the occupations it endured by both the Soviet Union and Germany over the past century
(Feldman 1999, p. 167). Their solution, the Data Embassy Initiative and the international
digital distribution of the e-state, is both ambitious and innovative but also eectively
untested in practice and in law. But, should the worst case scenario of an occupation
occur, this fallback plan could produce the world’s first non-territorial e-state, a concept
which will be revisited in Chapter 4.
This section will discuss key areas of the Estonian e-government that strengthen the ability
for a digital state to persevere in the event of a future cyber attack or an event of territorial
occupation. First, the Data Embassy Initiative will be introduced along with its public and
private component clouds. Then, a discussion about the concept of the digital state in the
context of Estonian history will lay the groundwork for the rest of this paper.
2.3.1 The Data Embassy Initiative
The current nature of Estonia’s e-government is that of a distributed infrastructure split
by both level of government and function (Kotka and Liiv 2015, 151-152). For example,
services and data created at the national level are coordinated and stored at the appro-
priate ministry (p. 151-152) while municipal governments are responsible for procuring
systems to run local services like city web portals and e-participation platforms (Reinsalu
2008, p. 5-6). While this fragmentation of services and citizen data has its advantages, it
also increases cost due to server infrastructure duplication, provides inconsistent service
quality due to the large amount of variation in hardware and software deployments across
ministries & municipalities, and creates more opportunities for service unavailability or
data loss to occur by both benign and malicious means (Kotka and Liiv 2015, 151-152).
In order to mitigate these drawbacks to the nation’s current e-government digital infras-
tructure, plans for a future cloud-based infrastructure were announced in 2013 after a
study determined that the data centers used by the national and municipal governments
need to be more ecient and have a better quality of security (Kotka and Liiv 2015, 150).
These plans, called the Data Embassy Initiative, would allow Estonia to solve its current
fragmentation problems as well as set a course for a more stable & secure future e-state
“without borders” (Kotka et al. 2016, p. 103-104). The Data Embassy Initiative consists
of three elements that make up the whole system (see Figure 2): the domestic Estonian
Government Cloud that would run the live services oered by the Estonian e-government,
backup copies of public Government Cloud data and government services operated from
clouds run by the private sector, and backup copies of the entire Estonian e-government in
Estonian embassies around the world and in dedicated physical data embassies in allied
countries (p. 104).
The five core drivers for the creation of this initiative and the domestic & international
government clouds were identified by Kotka as to:
Reduce fragmentation of servers while maintaining high quality services;
Guarantee the defense of symbolic Estonian digital monuments;
Safeguard the digital continuity of the Estonian e-state in an emergency situa-
Figure 2 Image from Kotka et al. (2016) showing the three components of the Data
Embassy Initiative
Assure that the e-services provided by the government function reliability out-
side of Estonian territory;
Develop more aordable technical solutions to be used by Estonian municipal-
ities to develop and run e-services (Kotka and Liiv 2015, 151).
Estonian Government Cloud
The Estonian Government Cloud is the domestic component of the Data Embassy Initia-
tive and the primary provider of Estonian e-government services during a normal “Full
Control” operation environment (Kotka et al. 2016, p. 104,107). It is fundamentally a
more uniform and distributed version of the e-government Estonia has been operating for
the past decades that will provide citizens with a better quality of government service with
more security.
Virtual Data Embassies in Private Sector Clouds
A core component of the reform proposed by the Estonian government is moving signif-
icant parts of its e-government infrastructure to the cloud using both commercial clouds
and a government cloud developed by the state (Kotka and Liiv 2015, 150-151). Com-
mercial cloud services like Amazon Web Service or Microsoft Azure would be utilized
to store and run non-sensitive data and services including email, oce management soft-
ware & tools, and government websites with non-sensitive data (or digital monuments)
(p. 155).2The private cloud would store and oer services that contain or use sensitive
data or are vital to the operation of the state.
Figure 3 Image from Kotka and Liiv (2015) showing the international distribution of
data embassies on both public clouds and the Estonian Government Cloud
Using this cloud infrastructure, multiple copies of the Estonian e-government are dis-
tributed to government-run data centers throughout the nation and to designated Estonian-
controlled data centers in friendly nations (Kotka et al. 2016, p. 104). These foreign data
centers could be within existing Estonian embassy buildings or within secured data cen-
ters that have been granted the same extraterritorial diplomatic privileges as embassies.
Kotka, in one of the initial papers describing this style of infrastructure, formally defines
a data embassy “as a physical or virtual data center in an allied foreign country that stores
data of critical government information systems and mirrors of critical service applica-
tions” (p. 104).
Digital Continuity
One of the tentpole features of the Data Embassy Initiative is to “ensure Estonia’s digital
continuity and the functioning of the state in any situation or emergency” (Kotka and Liiv
2Amazon Web Services has hosted the government tourism website since 2009 and
many municipalities already use commercial solutions for web services like email (Kotka and Liiv
2015, p. 150, 154).
2015, p. 151). The requirement for digital continuity goes further than just preserving
citizen data like the population and land registers (p. 152). To achieve full continuity, this
data and the services that use it must be able to function in the event of total loss of the
Estonian territorial data centers. Kotka & Liiv state simply: “The challenge here is to
develop a solution whereby the Estonian state would endure despite an occupation of its
territory” (p. 152).
Estonian digital continuity is not just important from the standpoint of maintaining the
existence of the state for its residents. It is also key for maintaining the state’s digital
business and banking infrastructure for its 48,000 e-residents (Republic of Estonia 2018).
Should Estonia’s domestic infrastructure fail, “an e-resident might lose their land, money
or stocks as a result of a security breach” (Kotka and Liiv 2015, p. 153). An event where
data or money is lost would not only be a blow to Estonia’s technology but also to its soft
power that it has cultivated over the past decade as a leader in e-government development.
International data centers and clouds functioning under the Estonian Data Embassy Ini-
tiative add additional layers of redundancy to the country’s e-government so that digital
continuity could be maintained. But these concepts, while innovative, are untested in their
legality. Estonia would need to take additional steps in international law to ensure they
will function as intended.
Data Embassies in International Law
Embassies of sovereign nations in foreign territory are protected in international law by
the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations (VCDR) (United Nations 1964). This
conveys upon embassies and their diplomatic staimmunity from the laws of the re-
ceiving nation and allows the physical premises of the embassy to be free from outside
coercion, invasion, or interference.
Directly applying the VCDR to the data embassy concept would be a legal gray area since
this concept has not yet been tested in international law (Kotka et al. 2015, p. 48). While
additional bilateral agreements between nations would be required, certain articles from
the VCDR could provide a base framework to legally secure the diplomatic protections
needed for such an operation. Relevant protections when thinking of the needs of a data
embassy include:
“The premises of the mission shall be inviolable” (Article XXII.1);
“The receiving State is under a special duty to take all appropriate steps to
protect the premises of the mission against any intrusion or damage” (Article
“The premises of the mission, their furnishings and other property thereon and
the means of transport of the mission shall be immune from search, requisition,
attachment or execution” (Article XXII.3);
“The archives and documents of the mission shall be inviolable at any time and
wherever they may be” (Article XXIV);
“The receiving State shall accord full facilities for the performance of the func-
tions of the mission” (Article XXV);
“The receiving State shall permit and protect free communication on the part
of the mission for all ocial purposes. In communicating with the Government
and the other missions and consulates of the sending State, wherever situated,
the mission may employ all appropriate means, including diplomatic couriers
and messages in code or cipher” (Article XXVII.1).
The Republic of Estonia began negotiating with the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg to be
the first site of an Estonian data embassy, and a bilateral agreement was signed between
the Prime Ministers of the two nations in June 2017 (Kruuse 2018).3This agreement,
called the ‘Agreement between the Republic of Estonia and the Grand Duchy of Luxem-
bourg on the hosting of data and information systems’ (Luxembourg Agreement), marks
the first time an externally hosted data center of a sovereign state is given diplomatic-style
protection in international law. In its preamble, it was specifically noted that it was written
“in the spirit of the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations”, setting the agreement
up to be interpreted at the same level as the VCDR (Riigikogu 2018). In this spirit, the
Luxembourg Agreement addresses many of the same relevant points noted above from
the VCDR including:
“The premises shall be inviolable and thus exempt from search, requisition,
attachment or execution” (Article 3.1);
“No ocial or person exercising any public authority, whether administrative,
judicial, military or police of Luxembourg shall enter the premises without the
prior approval of the authorised representative of the Republic of Estonia. Such
approval shall be presumed in case of fire or other emergencies which require
immediate protective measures and could constitute a danger for safety. (Arti-
cle 3.2);
“The Grand Duchy of Luxembourg shall take all appropriate measures to pro-
tect the premises against any intrusion or damage within the territory of Lux-
3The Luxembourgish Chambre des Députés passed this agreement in December 2017 (Chambre des
Députés 2017) while the Estonian Riigikogu did so in March 2018 (Riigikogu 2018).
embourg. The measures are considered appropriate if they meet the same level
of protection as the protection oered to the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg”
(Article 4);
All data and information systems stored by the Republic of Estonia in the
premises shall be regarded as archives of the Republic of Estonia. The archives
of the premises shall be inviolable and thus exempt from search, requisition,
attachment or execution. The Grand Duchy of Luxembourg shall grant the
premises the same treatment as granted to diplomatic missions in respect of
its ocial communications and the transmission of all its documents. The Re-
public of Estonia shall be entitled to use any code and encryption in its ocial
communications, as well as to dispatch and receive its ocial communications
by diplomatic couriers authorised by the Republic of Estonia and diplomatic
correspondence. No communication of the premises shall be subject to censor-
ship or may be subject to any restriction of any kind, nor may its confidential
nature be prejudiced. This protection extends in particular to data storage de-
vices (e.g. publications, magnetic tapes, optical disks, diskettes, still pictures
and films and visual or sound recordings). In case of force majeure leading to
a total or partial interruption of communications, the premises shall enjoy the
same priority treatment as accorded to the diplomatic missions.” (Article 6).
This joint agreement created a framework to apply the protections aorded to diplomatic
embassies by the VCDR to the new construct of sovereign data centers located on foreign
soil (Robinson et al. 2019, p. 3). Future agreements for additional data embassies by
Estonia or other nations employing the concept can be based on this agreement.
Digital Monuments
Within the greater Data Embassy Initiative is specific protection for “digital monuments,”
which are defined as “websites with symbolic status, which contain only public loca-
tion[sic] [information]...defacement or other attacks on those websites would be seen
as damaging to the reputation of the country” (Kotka et al. 2015, p. 10). Examples of
websites that have been cited as digital monuments are that of the President of Estonia
(, the Ministry of Defense (, the Government Oce
( (Kotka and Liiv 2015, p. 155), and the State Gazette ( (Kotka
et al. 2015, p. 10). Of particular note is the State Gazette website, which unlike some of
the other websites cited, has a critical function to the operation of the Estonian govern-
ment since it is the sole location of Estonian legislation (Kotka et al. 2015, p. 10).
Especially after the events of 2007, it became an important goal to move these digital
monuments to a more resilience cloud-based environment that can withstand a sustained
cyber attack. Since these digital monuments contain no sensitive information, the best
solution was to move them to commercial cloud services associated with the domestic
Estonian Government Cloud. A 2015 study jointly conducted between the Estonian Gov-
ernment and Microsoft tested a migration to a cloud based infrastructure for
and and came to the conclusion that “cloud computing should be utilized to
increase security and resilience of government infrastructure” (Kotka et al. 2015, p. 27).
2.4 Redefining a State: The Evolution of Sovereignty
From the Peace of Westphalia to the present day, the world order of sovereign states has
not remained static. Over time, the system has evolved to respond to changing circum-
stances in the world. Theories of statehood were developed through international law
and practice. War and conflict shake up these theories and new precedents and structures
emerge. Each of these events that change the international system of states and law are
called Grotian Moments (Sterio 2011, p. 219). Scharf defines Grotian Moments as “a
paradigm-shifting development in which new rules and doctrines of customary interna-
tional law emerge with unusual rapidity and acceptence” (Scharf 2010, p. 439). This con-
cept is named after Hugo Grotius, a Dutch scholar from the early 1600s that is considered
the “father of international law” due to most famous work, De jure belli ac pacis, and its
impact on the creation of the Peace of Westphalia twenty-three years after its publication
(Hershey 1912, p. 30-31).
Scholars have identified countless Grotian Moments that have occurred since Westphalia
with the number rapidly increasing over the past century. It should be noted, however, that
identifying these moments should be taken with caution due to ease in seeing “a turning
point that is not there” (Scharf 2010, p. 452). Some widely accepted examples of Grotian
Moments include:
1648 - The Peace of Westphalia (Scharf 2010, p. 444)
1689-1789 - The British Declaration of Rights & revolutions in America and
France (Murumba 1993, p. 836)
1945 - The Nuremberg Tribunal following the conclusion of the Second World
War (Scharf 2010, p. 444)
1945 - The creation of the Charter of the United Nations (Scharf 2010, p. 445)
1967 - The adoption of the Declaration of Legal Principles Governing the Activ-
ities of States in the Exploration and Use of Outer Space by the United Nations
General Assembly (Scharf 2010, p. 450)
1999 - The invasion of Serbia by NATO on humanitarian grounds (Scharf 2010,
p. 450)
2001 - The September 11th attacks on the United States and the invasion of
Afghanistan (Burke-White and Slaughter 2002, p. 1-2)
2002 - The establishment of the International Criminal Court (Sterio 2011,
p. 212)
Some scholars believe a new Grotian moment is about to occur due to the widespread
impact of globalization and the widespread economic and political integration of nation-
states. In addition, the “strange results” of modern statehood theory applied over the
past decades have led to states that technically should not be states under the Montevideo
Convention and vice-versa (Sterio 2011, p. 216). These disruptions in the world order of
nation states might trigger a shift in the way sovereignty is attained and how entities are
recognized under international law.
These states that previously attained sovereignty but lost a key tenant of statehood tend to
not lose their sovereignty. Sterio notes that sovereignty in these cases acts as a “shield”
that protects them from losing their protected status (p. 216). Examples of the sovereignty
shield phenomenon include the partially recognized states mentioned in Section 2.1.2 as
well as states that lack stable borders (North & South Korea, India & Pakistan, and Israel
& Palestine), countries with vast “transient populations” (Democratic Republic of the
Congo and Iraq), and countries with unfunctioning or unstable government (Afghanistan,
Syria, and Somalia) (p. 217).
Finally, many smaller states outsource various areas of their sovereign rights like eco-
nomic control, foreign aairs, and national defense to larger states. The European micro-
states (Andorra, Liechtenstein, Monaco, San Marino, and Vatican City) are examples of
this practice along with the United States’ relationship with the Compact of Free Asso-
ciation nations (Federated States of Micronesia, Marshall Islands, and Palau) and New
Zealand’s relationship with its associated states (Cook Islands and Niue).
To summarize her argument for declaring this new Grotian moment in relation to the
evolving nature of statehood, Sterio describes five changes that have occurred over the
past few decades (Sterio 2011, p. 219):
(1) The basic qualities of sovereignty, namely the right to non-interference by
other state actors, have changed due to the more intertwined relationships that
exist between states.
(2) It is now accepted that state boundaries can change to address issues with
rights of minorities and their self-determination.
(3) De facto states that are largely unaccepted by the wider international com-
munity (as discussed in Section 2.1.2) continue to exist alongside recognized
(4) The activities of a state are limited due to the possible reaction to those actions
by other states.
(5) Sovereignty of states has weakened due to the creation of intergovernmental
organizations that act on behalf of collections of states.
Sterio suggests a more stringent set of criteria is needed to define statehood that signif-
icantly expands the Montevideo requirement for a state to be able to conduct relations
with other states (Sterio 2011, p. 234). She argues that “states should be recognized by
both regional partners, as well as the Great Powers; demonstrated respect for human/mi-
nority rights; a commitment to participate in international organizations, and to abide by
a set world order” (p. 234). Should they not meet this additional criteria, they would be
considered at a lower tier of statehood like the unrecognized states previously discussed.
She does not discuss the expansion of the other three Montevideo criteria: a permanent
population, a defined territory and a government. In the coming century as natural cir-
cumstance alter the surface of the planet, the world order will evolve new rules around
the first two of these requirements and perhaps trigger another Grotian Moment in the
sovereign order of states.
2.4.1 Extinction of Small Island States
The upcoming century will present new problems for the Westphalian order of nation
states. Previously, the biggest threat to a state was an attack from other states. Now, for
many nations that border or are surrounded by water, the biggest threat to their existence
is nature itself. Due to human-influenced change in the climate of the planet, sea levels
are estimated to rise from 18 to 200 centimeters (or higher) over the coming decades with
more significant rise over a longer time frame (Juvelier 2017, p. 23-24). This newfound
threat raises questions about the future of many small island nations, their peoples, and
how the loss of territory & an established population will aect a state’s sovereignty.
Three sovereign states (Maldives, Marshall Islands, and Tuvalu) and three inhabited terri-
tories (British Indian Ocean Territory, Cocos (Keeling) Islands, and Tokelau) have a max-
imum elevation of less than twenty meters above sea level (Central Intelligence Agency
2019). It is with certainty that these states and territories will loose a significant portion
of their land due to climate change with any remaining territory becoming uninhabitable
due to the contamination of aquifers by saltwater (Juvelier 2017, p. 24). Therefore, a
forced migration of the populations of these islands will need to occur. The best case
scenario is an internal migration to higher ground within these nations. However, in most
cases, these peoples will need to evacuate their nations and seek refuge in other friendly
receiving countries.
The governments of these nations, however, will also need to adapt to stay relevant in
a future where their population is not contained within traditional defined borders. At
the present, some of these states are taking steps towards a future where their islands are
underwater and/or uninhabitable. Kiribati, for example, has a history in dealing with a
semi-distributed population, not only due to its vast maritime size but also due to one of
its populations being forcibly relocated to an autonomous reservation in Fiji in the mid to
late 1940s (McAdam 2014, p. 304). These people, the Banabans, are legally citizens of
Kiribati (or entitled to Kiribati citizenship should they only have a Fijian passport) and
send a representative to the Kiribati parliament although they do not reside on Kiribati
soil (McAdam 2016, p. 282, 321-323). While the arrangement is far from ideal for all
parties, it has stood the test of time and could be a blueprint for future resettlements. In
2014, the Government of Kiribati announced that they had purchased a 5,460 acre estate
on the Fijian island of Vanua Levu where they could “address the issue of food security
and to promote long term development goals” (Hermann and Kempf 2017, p. 238). The
Kiribati government refused to say that the purchase was linked to citizen relocation but
in a 2014 statement the President of Fiji Ratu Epeli Nailatikau said:
If the sea level continues to rise because the international community won’t
tackle global warming, some or all of the people of Kiribati may have to come
live in Fiji...What the future holds we cannot say. But I want to assure you
that if all else fails, you have true friends in Fiji who will not let you down.
(Hermann and Kempf 2017, 248)
As the governments of these island states are making preparations for a future where they
might not meet all the Montevideo criteria for statehood, they are confident that their
institutions will survive this event. While the structure of how these governments will
function is still being debated by international lawyers, their continued existence will
require a redefinition of what makes a state or, at the very least, create a new category for
these decentralized states that will emerge from the rising seas (Juvelier 2017, p. 33).
2.4.2 The Birth of E-States
In an interview with the Georgetown Journal of International Aairs, blockchain expert
Angela Walch said the following about the use of the technology as a replacement or
supplement to territorial sovereign states:
I think that’s actually a very interesting point from an international aairs
perspective—that these public blockchains are kind of deliberately seeking
to exist outside the existing sovereign system. We need more political scien-
tists in this space, but there is some discussion and lots of analogizing public
blockchain systems to sovereigns. It’s said that each system is essentially
functioning as a sovereign because the people are choosing to participate in
it under a given set of rules. The rules happen to be implemented by code,
but it’s similar to people coming to live together in a particular way in a state.
There is discussion about whether people are going to want to participate in
public blockchains as an alternative to their states. There are some interesting
companies in this space—there’s one called Bitnation that deliberately tries
to be its own country. I’m skeptical of this because I think there will always
be two worlds. There’s a digital, blockchain-focused world that sits on top of
the Internet, but then no matter what, you still have the physical world. We
haven’t figured out how to transcend that.
So, while you can be a citizen of a public blockchain sovereign nation, you’re
still physically living next to somebody, you still have trash that you’re gen-
erating and have to get rid of, you still have to get clean water somewhere.
I don’t see them in any way eliminating the need for states and figuring out
how we can live side by side and deal with our very complicated problems
of limited resources and those types of things. But there is a techno-utopian
argument that this world is too annoying, so let’s build a cyber world that we
can go to instead. I think that’s kind of a cop out or perhaps wishful thinking.
(Walch 2018, p. 33-34)
In this interview, Walch recognizes the possibility of e-states being a part of the current
world order, although not replacing it entirely. While her skepticism about e-states aect-
ing the physical world does have merit, in its ideal implementation, interaction with the
physical world is planned in the case of Bitnation by the utilization of smart contracts,
a cryptocurrency, and reputation scoring as a method of service transaction (Tempelhof
et al. 2017, p. 25).
2.5 Conclusion
This chapter reviewed the lifecycle of a state from its birth, death, resurrection, and at-
tempts at preservation. While the history of the development of sovereign states in inter-
national law is long, complex, and full of exceptions to standard practices, it has proven
to be a system that is flexible enough to adapt to changing circumstances in the world.
Another one of these Grotian Moments of evolution might occur in the near future as the
possibility of non-territorial e-states become closer to reality. Chapter 4 will examine this
possible future using the methodology described in the following chapter.
3 Creating Futures Using Scenario Development
The previous chapter explored the lifecycle of a state and provided past and present day
examples of the creation, destruction, resurrection, and sustainability of states throughout
history. The rest of this paper will focus on a hypothetical future scenario that uses present
day technology to create a non-territorial e-state and explore how it will create value to
its citizens and interact with the physical Westphalian world.
This chapter will explain the methodology that will be used to frame this paper’s research.
First, a brief overview of scenario development methodologies will be explained to place
this paper’s approach in context with existing studies. Then, the research design for this
paper will be detailed along with the methods used and identified limitations. Finally, this
chapter will conclude with a brief summary of the methodology and a transition into the
e-state development scenarios in Chapter 4.
3.1 Research Design
In order to answer the research questions posed in Chapter 1, an appropriate research de-
sign will be required in order to explore the implications of a scenario that has not yet oc-
curred in the present day world. Despite it not having occurred, the data embassy technol-
ogy developed by the Republic of Estonia as well as the large adoption of e-government
services in many nations around the world will give this paper’s research direction on how
such a future could play out. Scenario development for business, military, and govern-
ment purposes is a young and possibly controversial method for academic research, but it
has become essential for determining probable futures for corporate, tactical, and policy
3.1.1 Scenario Development and Analysis
Philip van Notten (2006) defines scenarios as “consistent and coherent descriptions of
alternative hypothetical futures that reflect dierent perspectives on past, present, and
future developments, which can serve as a basis for action.” He also explicitly notes that
scenarios are not a tool for prediction. Instead, they are a tool for analysis and for decision
making (p. 2).
Developing future scenarios as a tool for thought and analysis has been in use since Plato’s
Republic and have evolved over the centuries to be essential tools for strategic planning
in business and the military (Bradfield et al. 2005, p. 797). Modern scenario development
began after the Second World War as a method for the American military to decide where
to allocate funds for new defense systems. The RAND Corporation was tasked with de-
veloping methods to best make these decisions (p. 798). Herman Kahn, an employee of
the company, worked on these problems and eventually published several books contain-
ing possible future scenarios to be used for public policy planning and decision making.
He is considered the “father of modern-day scenario planning” (p. 799). The work of
Khan and his contemporaries eventually was adopted by the private sector (notably by
Royal Dutch Shell and General Electric). The methods used by these businesses along
with additional development from the Futures Group at the Stanford Research Institute
(SRI) created what is known now as the “Anglo-American School” or “Intuitive Logics
School” of scenario planning.
There are many other types of scenario analysis including the competing American “Prob-
abilistic Modified Trends School” and the French “La Prospective” school (Bradfield et al.
2005, p. 800-802). Within each of these schools are a “plethora of scenario development
models and techniques” (p. 796). Van Notten developed a typology of scenario method-
ologies (seen in Figure 4) that groups them by a series of macro and micro characteristics
(van Notten 2006, p. 3-4). The macro characteristics sort the methods by their goals
(why?), design (how?), and its contents (what?) (p. 4). Within these categories, micro
characteristics further categorize them by elements including the scenario function, the
role of values, subject area, inputs, inclusivity, and timeline.
The vast number of characteristics used in this typology underscores Bradfield et al.’s
claim of countless scenario methods in the wild. Van Notten frames this as proof of the
flexibility of scenario development as a method (van Notten 2006, p. 16). This flexibility
can also be a weakness since non-rigorous scenarios can easily be developed that can
function as a merely a cosmetic addition to a study. Therefore, it is important to consider
all variables in designing a scenario and take into account multiple environmental aspects
including socio-cultural, ecological, economic, political, and technological as well as all
potential stakeholders involved in the scenario.
Figure 4 Table from van Notten (2006) showing his typology of scenario characteristics
3.1.2 Research Method
This paper will utilize a variant of the Intuitive Logics School style of scenario develop-
ment (as defined by Bradfield et al. (2005) in Figure 5 and by Shell International (Bentham
2008)) to create two possible futures for a state that loses its territory due to circumstances
outsides its control. The two scenarios will contrast the implementation and functioning
of a traditional government-in-exile to an e-government-in-exile that utilizes present day
e-government technologies and data embassies to create a distributed non-territorial e-
state. Each scenario will be developed to be as realistic as possible using technology and
practices that currently exist in the present day. Although these are future scenarios, this
paper’s focus is not to forecast future developments in technology.
Also of note is that the state featured in these scenarios will be fictional, but based in
the reality of other states in its region. This choice will allow the scenarios to be crafted
without the stains of history overshadowing the overall focus. For example, to play out
the ‘worst case scenario’ of territorial occupation as detailed in the papers describing the
Figure 5 Table from Bradfield et al. (2005) showing the features of the Intuitive-Logics
Model of scenario development
Estonian Data Embassy Initiative would overemphasize the breach of sovereignty and
military action over the reactive adaptation of the state to a new reality using technology.
Additionally, using a fictional state and scenario to explore this concept will allow a more
general approach to the its prospective implementation since the author is not bound to
the policies, technologies, and politics of an existing state. This generalization does oer
some narrative leeway in the scenario development process, but will still produce plausi-
ble scenarios for the e-state concept as dictated by the Intuitive Logics approach. Finally,
using a fictional state will minimize the personal bias the author can, consciously or un-
consciously, inject into the narrative. Since this method relies on the subjectivity of the
author, certain biases or normativity will naturally emerge. But, as Bradfield et al. (2005)
states, “the insights and learning arising from the process are more important than the
reliability of the content of the end project, the scenarios” (p. 806).
The ‘rules of the game’ for this paper’s scenario development as well as a brief overview
of the two scenarios that will be featured in Chapter 4 will be introduced below.
Scenario Background
This section will breakdown the elements from Bradfield’s (2005) table of the Intuitive-
Logics Model of scenario development and describe this paper’s approach using the
Setting These scenarios will take place in a fictional small island state in the central
Pacific Ocean that will, in the near future, be rendered uninhabitable due to rising sea
levels. The government of this state must develop a way to ensure its self-preservation,
evacuate its people, and maintain relevance in the world. Each scenario will play out the
plausible actions that this government would undertake in order to ensure that its status is
maintained on the world stage.
Authors These scenarios are crafted by a single author and utilize research done to
support the motivations and actions depicted.
Perspective These scenarios will be a narrative on the actions that the government
would take to survive after the loss of its territory. The scenarios will primarily follow the
perspective of the government as a whole as it ensures its own survival as a symbol of its
people, history, culture, and power in the world.
Scope These scenarios are focused on the actions of the government and ignores any
other actions or events in the outside world unless they directly impact the government.
Time Frame These scenarios begin in the year 2020 will take place over a period of
the following fifty years. Each will begin with an announcement from the President that
the country will not survive the rising sea levels from climate change and that the island
will be rendered uninhabitable in the coming decades. This period of transition will be
the bulk of each scenario.
Tools Used
AStakeholder Analysis will be used to determine the characters of the narrative,
their stake in the overall project, their needs, risks, and their relationship with
each other.
APESTLE Analysis (Political, Economic, Socio-cultural, Technological, Legal,
and Environmental) will be used to set the environment at the beginning of each
scenario to highlight the current situation in relation to the scenario goals.
Structural Diagrams and Maps will be used to describe the structure of gov-
ernment institutions, government services, and the geographic reality of the
scenarios as needed.
Output The output of these scenarios will be a narrative description of the actions and
functions of an exiled government trying to survive.
Scenario I: Government-In-Exile
The first scenario will follow the island’s government as it prepares for the submersion of
its territory by executing a ‘planned relocation’ of its citizens to government purchased
reserves in other island states or friendly continental nations (a scenario that has already
occurred in the real world between Kiribati and Fiji (Hermann and Kempf 2017, p. 232)
(McAdam 2014, p. 305)). It will then create an analog form of distributed government
using elected representatives from each of these communities in an exiled legislature.
This concept of electing representatives from communities located on foreign land is also
an existing precedent in Chapter IX of Kiribati’s Constitution due to the colonial reloca-
tion of the peoples of Banaba Island to Fiji in the 1940s (Government of Kiribati 1979).
This outcome is far from ideal since the government, functionally located in one physical
location, lacks useful and robust links with the many remote communities and to their
citizens. As the generations pass, they assimilate more into the cultural fabric of their
adopted nation and the government becomes less and less a part of the everyday lives of
their citizens and therefore less and less relevant.
Scenario II: E-Government-In-Exile
The second scenario will begin much like the first as the island’s government begins
planning for the exile of itself and its citizens. Instead of perusing an analog distributed
government, however, it will instead build a digital distributed e-government along with
e-services for its citizens. This digital government will allow the island’s government to
transition into a functioning non-territorial e-state that can still be relevant in the lives
of its citizens regardless where they are relocated throughout the world. Therefore, the
government will not take an active role in building new physical communities. Instead, it
will build up infrastructure and services to link expatriate communities digitally.
3.1.3 Limitations
Due to the nature of scenario development as outlined by Bradfield et al. (2005)
and the work of Shell Global (2019), objective outcomes are fundamentally
impossible. Wherever possible, the author will use precedent to justify choices
taken during each scenario to limit personal bias and prevent straying from a
recognizable reality. However, as this is a subjective exercise, the author cannot
guarantee total transparency.
In a corporate or military setting, scenarios are typically developed by a team of
researchers over a period lasting years. Due to the circumstances of this paper’s
requirements, a less robust product will be delivered when compared to other
developed scenarios since it will be constructed by a single author in a time
frame of four months.
3.1.4 Disclosure
The author has been an observer of the Bitnation development community since
April 2016 and is currently a holder of a ‘Bitnation Diplomatic Passport’, an
artifact that the organization is working towards getting ocially recognized
as a legitimate travel document by external actors through jurisdiction testing.
These passports were issued to the original development team and those that
would act as evangelists (or diplomats) for the e-state. The author holds the
document strictly as an object for research.
3.2 Conclusion
This chapter described the methodology that will be used for this paper’s research: sce-
nario development using a variant of the Anglo-American Intuitive-Logics Model as de-
scribed by Bradfield (2005). The specific implementation of this methodology was de-
scribed followed by brief introductions of the scenarios that will form the whole of Chap-
ter 4. This paper will now shift from an examination of the past to a view into a possible
future where sovereign states face the consequences of climate change and fight to survive
using either methods of the past or technology that could build a new future.
4 Loss and Resurrection: The Case of Bakati
This chapter introduces the subject of this paper’s scenario analysis: the Republic of
Bakati, a fictional nation in the central Pacific Ocean that will undergo drastic land sub-
mersion due to rising sea levels. First, a basic introduction about Bakati will be presented
including information about its geography, government, and economy. Then, the two sce-
narios representing the two possible futures for the nation will be described. A discussion
and analysis of these scenarios will take place in Chapter 5.
The remaining text of this chapter will take place in the world of the scenarios. Any meta-
commentary taking place outside of the scenario (including notes about decisions taken)
world will take place within referenced footnotes.
4.1 Republic of Bakati
This section will examine various aspects of the Republic of Bakati.
4.1.1 Geography
The island of Bakati is a 5,500 square kilometer island in the central Line Islands in the
Pacific Ocean (see Figure 6).4It is located approximately 200 kilometers southeast of
the Kiribatian island of Kiritimati and 420 kilometers from the American Jarvis Island.
While its highest point is the summit of Mt. Tenriki at 110 meters tall, the only arable
and livable land is surrounding the island’s coast. However, due to the island’s volcanic
past, the mountainous areas contain large deposits of minerals which fuel a portion of the
island’s economy.
The island’s two major cities are located on two peninsulas at the northern and southern
ends of the island with only seven other incorporated villages on the remaining shore (see
Figure 7).595% of the livable land on Bakati is located at 5 meters above sea level or
4The island of Bakati is based on Fiji’s Viti Levu at half scale and rotated counterclockwise by approx-
imately 100 degrees. This fictional island was placed in the middle of the real world Line Islands as
described. Information regarding its geologic makeup is based on Viti Levu with occasional deviation
to support the realism of the scenario.
5Bakati’s capital, Teatunikawa, matches with the location of the Fijian capital Suva. Maeka is roughly
near Fiji’s second city Lautoka. The decision to push the majority of livable land to the coast was
made to augment the severity of the scenarios to the Bakatian people.
Figure 6 Map of the Pacific Ocean showing the location of Bakati (Imagery provided
by NASA courtesy of Google Earth)
Figure 7 Map of Bakati (Imagery provided by Landsat & Copernicus courtesy of
Google Earth)
4.1.2 History
Early Settlement
The island of Bakati served as an outpost for Polynesian traders due to its location at the
midpoint between Hawaii and greater Polynesia.6While the island itself never maintained
a significant population in the pre-modern era, permanent settlements began to emerge at
the northern and southern coasts of the island by the 1400s. Unlike the rest of the Line
Island group which did not sustain permanent settlements at the time, Bakati contained
a notable amount of natural freshwater reserves and wildlife making it a more attractive
option for these settlers and traders. These two settlements lie near to where the modern
cities of Teatunikawa and Maeka are today.
Colonial Era
Bakati and the rest of the Line Islands were first seen and charted by Spanish explorers
in the mid 1500s.7For the next 300 years, little contact was made between the island’s
population and the western world outside of occasional visits by whalers or other trading
The United States, under its Guano Islands Act, claimed sovereignty over the Line Islands
(including Bakati which was named November Island by the claimant) in 1858 in order
to mine bird guano for use in gunpowder and fertilizer.8The native Bakatians were not
immediately hostile to the American colonization and exploitation of the island, but ten-
sions soon grew between them and the American workers of the November Island Mining
Company. After a number of skirmishes between the two groups and the drop in revenue
due to the end of the American Civil War, the island was abandoned by the American
miners in 1866. The majority of the equipment used by the miners was abandoned on
the island and the Bakatians continued the mining operation to produce fertilizer for their
own use and to trade with passing ships.
6Bakati’s early history mirrors the history of the surrounding Line Islands, especially Kiritimati or
Christmas Island. Polynesian settlers are thought to have inhabited Kiritimati at some point in early
history but abandoned the island long before its European discovery. Bakati’s history alters this by
having a group of settlers permanently inhabit the island (Republic of Kiribati 2012).
7This is consistent with actual records for the Line Islands (Maude and Heyen 1959).
8The United States claimed all of the Line Islands under the Guano Islands Act in the mid nineteenth
century so it is logical that Bakati would have been claimed as well (O’Donnell 1993). American
sovereignty of these islands was transferred to Kiribati by the 1979 Treaty of Tarawa with the exception
of Palmyra Atoll, Kingman Reef, and Jarvis Island, all of which remain American territory in the
present day. The somewhat hostile relationship between the Bakatians and the Americans is needed to
support their call of self-determination later in history.
In 1890, British traders landed on Bakati and claimed it for the crown under the assump-
tion that the American claim was forfeited due to their abandonment of the island.9Bakati
along with nearby Christmas, Fanning, and Washington Islands were incorporated within
the existing British Gilbert Island Colony. The United States protested against this annex-
ation but did not forcibly intervene to reassert their sovereignty.
The Bakatians rebelled against the British occupation of their island in a similar manner to
their previous experience with the Americans. However, they soon became outnumbered
when large numbers of Gilbertese were forcibly emigrated from their home islands to
Bakati to assist in the mining operation and to create new settlements.
By 1939, the island’s population grew to around 50,000 persons, 50% of which were of
Gilbertese descent, 40% were of Polynesian descent, and 10% were of European descent.
It was also at this time that the Americans and British came to an agreement to share
sovereignty of the Line Islands in order to build up a defensive line in the Pacific in antic-
ipation of Japanese aggression during the Second World War.10 Therefore, from 1939, the
British-American Line Islands Condominium was established. Due to Bakati’s size and
position in the Pacific, it became a key military asset and large scale development projects
initiated by the United States military began using the islanders as low-paid laborers. This
event solidified a bond between the Gilbertese and Polynesian cultural groups as allies that
should strive for eventual independence from the island’s colonizers.
Bakati was used as a staging post during the war but was never under threat of attack.
Following the war, civil aviation resumed and the military presence was decreased. Due
to the influence of the United Nations and similar international trends, the empires of
previous centuries were encouraged to be dismantled and for the people of these colonies
to be given a vote of self-determination. The United Kingdom initiated this process in
the central Pacific by guiding their colonies towards self-governance and eventual inde-
pendence. Due to the cultural dierence between the Gilbert Islands and the Polynesian
influenced culture of Bakati (as well as its dual administration with the United States),
a referendum was held in 1974 on Bakati to allow the voters to decide if they wanted
to remain with the future Gilbertese nation or to separate.11 Over 90% of the Bakatians
voted for independence and, with the agreement from the United States, Bakati became
9This mirrors the same claim of the northern Line Islands by the British and the later migration of the
people of the Gilbert Islands to the Line Islands (O’Donnell 1993).
10 This sovereignty arrangement is based on the Canton and Enderbury Islands Condominium that existed
between 1939 and 1979 between the US and UK (O’Donnell 1993). American industry developed
infrastructure on Canton Island for use by civil and military aviation and became a staging ground for
11 This references the similar 1974 referendum that was held in the majority Polynesian Ellice Islands in
order to decide if they would separate from the Gilbert Islands and form their own nations (McIntyre
2012). They overwhelming voted in the armative and later became the nation of Tuvalu.
an independent nation on July 12, 1979. The neighboring Line Islands and the Phoenix
Islands were incorporated into the independent Gilbertese nation, Kiribati, which gained
independence on the same day.
Bakati’s independence forced it to develop an economic niche for it to be competitive in
the world. For centuries, mining had been a key industry for the island and its colonizers.
While the guano industry subsided in the nineteenth century, many valuable ores were
found within the island’s rocky Tenriki peak. Small mining operations were attempted in
the mid-twentieth century to test the feasibility of larger scale operations. After gaining
independence, it was the view of the government that mining as well as petroleum ex-
ploitation should become a large part of the island’s economy. The state-owned Bakati
Mineral Cooperative (BMC) was founded in 1980 to expand the existing mining opera-
tions and start drilling at a known oil deposit on the west side of the island. Over the next
four decades, the public company accounted for over a third of the country’s economy
(for more information about the nation’s economy, see Section 4.1.5).
4.1.3 Demographics
As of 2019, the total population of Bakati is 302,588 persons with the majority living in
the two major cities on the coasts.12 There are seven other minor cities surrounding the
coast of the island with the rest of the remaining population.
The three primary ethic groups represented on the island are the Gilbertese (48%), the
Polynesians (46%), and those of European descent (6%). As the native residents of the
island, the rights of the Gilbertese and Polynesian groups are enshrined in the Bakatian
constitution and these citizens are required to submit their information to the appropriate
cultural registry.
There are three ocial languages of the Republic of Bakati. Residents are able to use
any of the three languages to interact with the government. Government output includ-
ing legislation, statements, and policies are translated into all ocial languages of the
12 As the island of Bakati is based on the Fijian island of Viti Levu at half scale, the Bakatian population
is approximately half the population of the island.
Bakatian: a Polynesian language used by the original inhabitants of the island.
Gilbertese: a Micronesian language used by the immigrants that moved from
the Gilbert Islands to Bakati during the British occupation.
English: a lingua-franca among the islanders due to the influence of their colo-
nizers. English is the main language used in government due to its neutrality.
Education at all levels is provided by the state in public schools. The ocial language of
instruction is English due to its use to bridge the cultural gap within the nation’s popu-
lation. Bakati’s only tertiary level institution, the University of Bakati, oers tuition-free
Bachelor degree programs and professional qualifications to citizens in several fields. It
also specializes in continuing education for adults with classes oered at night to accom-
modate those working during the day.
The Bakatian Healthcare System is a publicly funded service that consists of two hospitals
located in the two major cities as well as smaller clinics in villages around the coast.
Income and corporate taxes fund the system. Citizens are automatically enrolled in the
system. Non-citizens must pay to utilize the network.
4.1.4 Government
The Bakatian government is derived from the British parliamentary system but features
elements from its American past like its three equal branches of government: an executive,
a unicameral legislature, and the judiciary.13 A diagram of the government structure is
shown in Figure 8.
Executive Branch
The Bakatian executive, the President, is elected by the people from candidates put forth
by the political parties represented in the Bakati Assembly. This executive can serve up
to two five year terms in total. The President’s residence is located in the capital city of
13 The government structure is based on the current government of Kiribati due to its geographic prox-
imity to Bakati and for it having characteristics of both the UK and US systems. This is an aftereect
of Bakati’s condominium administration.
The executive branch of government is responsible for agricultural development, state
defense, the economy & trade, education, energy generation, foreign relations, healthcare,
labor standards, transportation, use of natural resources, among others.
Legislative Branch
The legislature for the republic is the Bakati Assembly.14 It is made up of 24 elected
representatives of Bakati’s districts and 6 appointed representatives from each of the major
cultural groups (3 Gilbertese and 3 Polynesian). Each representative serves a three year
term with the ability to be reelected or reappointed indefinitely. The Assembly meets in
Bakati’s second city, Maeka.
The Bakati Assembly is responsible for drafting law, setting the budget, declaring war,
and giving citizens a voice on the national stage.
Judicial Branch
The Bakati Supreme Court is the final arbiter for legal cases in the country.15 Nine justices
are named to the court by the President as a lifetime appointment and are confirmed
by the Assembly. The Chief Justice is a non-voting role which is held by each justice
alphabetically for a six month term. At any time there must be at least four Gilbertese and
four Polynesian justices on the court. The court meets in both Teatunikawa and Maeka.
The Supreme Court is responsible for ensuring that all legislation is compatible with the
Bakati Constitution and hearing cases appealed to the highest court. It also can declare
acts by the executive branch and president unconstitutional.
14 The Bakati Assembly is based on the House of Assembly in Kiribati and the Fijian Parliament which
are both unicameral bodies.
15 The Bakati judicial branch is based on the Supreme Court of the United States with the addition of the
diversity requirement and the rotating Chief Justice.
Figure 8 Chart showing the structure of the Bakatian government
4.1.5 Economy
The currency of Bakati is the Bakatian Dollar. It is pegged to the United States Dollar at
a fixed rate of 1 to 1.
The Bakatian economy is largely focused on three primary areas: tourism, mining rare
minerals & ores, and fishing its national waters (see Figure 9).16 Other smaller industries
on the island include a small petroleum extraction operation on the western coast, excess
agriculture exports (primarily cane sugar), a burgeoning o-shore financial sector, the
manufacturing of native goods (mostly sold by the tourism sector), leasing sections of the
island for media use (movie & TV production), and a shrinking logging industry.
16 The economy was developed by looking at the industries of other Pacific island nations (including Fiji,
Kiribati, Micronesia, Nauru, Tuvalu) relative to Bakati’s island geology using MIT’s Observatory of
Economic Complexity tool (Simoes 2019). Industries that fit the geologic model in Section 4.1.1 were
added to the scenario.
Figure 9 Chart showing the breakdown of the Bakatian economy by industry
4.1.6 Foreign Relations
The first nations to recognize Bakati following its independence was its former colonizers:
the United Kingdom and the United States. It maintains eight full embassies across the
world in those two nations as well as in Australia, Belgium, China, Fiji, Japan, and New
Bakati joined the United Nations in 1999 and is an active member in the regional Pacific
Island Forum.
4.1.7 Military
The Bakatian Military consists of a small reserve army and a professional navy consisting
of a fleet of eight vessels. The army is largely ceremonial due to an agreement between
Bakati and the United States that tasks the US Military for defense of the island.17
17 This defense agreement is similar to the Compact of Free Association agreements that the United
States has with its former Pacific colonies: the Federated States of Micronesia, the Marshall Islands,
and Palau.
The Bakati Navy is a professional force that is permanently active. On a day-to-day basis
it performs a role in search and rescue missions in the regionand performs customs checks
on incoming vessels.
4.2 Scenario Introduction
4.2.1 2020/01/01 - The President’s New Year’s Speech
On behalf of my family and your government, I wish all Bakatians a healthy and prosper-
ous new year.
As we enter into our fourth decade of independence, our nation of Bakati will need to
make some very dicult decisions and changes to our way of life. The world around us
is changing and we must change along with it. We must leave behind the struggles and
grudges of our past, because we will need to look outside of our shores to ensure our
successful future.
Our home, Bakati, is being taken by the sea. I am sure that many of you have already
been eected by the water level rise. Unfortunately, this rise will continue. Sometime
within the next fifty years, our island will no longer be able to support us. Therefore, we
must find a new home. This is a future that we have tried to avoid, but the predictions are
certain. We must start planning now to ensure a prosperous new future for our people.
I stand here today as the President of the Republic of Bakati to promise to you that we
will persevere. The Bakatian Government promises to you that the Republic of Bakati will
endure when our island is no more. Bakati will live on in all of us. And to the global
community, the people of Bakati call on you to assist a people in need. Bakati will not
be the last nation to suer from the impacts of climate change. The world must come
together to help solve a problem we all collectively started.
I cannot tell you what will happen fifty years from now. What I can guarantee is that your
government will do everything within its power to keep the culture, history, and spirit of
the Bakatian people alive til the end of time.
4.2.2 Bakatian Cabinet Meeting
In the first cabinet meeting of 2020, ministers and the president discussed how to proceed
with the so-called Expatriate Initiative to move the entire population of Bakati o-island
while maintaining the government and its services. The cabinet would consider each
proposal and then prepare a final plan to the Assembly for a final vote within six months.
The ministers all found general consensus on most of the key points proposed in the meet-
ing except one. The Minister of Technology and Innovation (the nation’s CTO) presented
last and delivered a presentation that proposed a radical shift in the country’s direction
and future. She put forward that the future of Bakati should not be a story of loss and
retreat. It instead should be a story of rebirth, specifically a digital rebirth as the world’s
first sovereign non-territorial e-state.
The Republic of Bakati would live on in the cloud long after the evacuation of the island
of Bakati by a mass digitalization of government processes, services, and data. This
future e-government, based on the successes of other states, will be made available online
through a secure portal where citizens and businesses can manage all aspects of their
Bakatian identity through digital services. The Bakatian government would also hold
digital video sessions to enact legislation for its e-government. The portal will function as
a private social directory that will connect the people of Bakati across the world. Finally,
using this same infrastructure, the e-government could be used as an economic platform
for foreign nationals to set up businesses under Bakatian law, providing an additional
revenue stream for the nation and to augment its reputation as a digital innovator. This
managed decentralization of Bakati will allow its influence and its people to spread from
one small island to the whole globe.
The reaction to the CTO’s proposal was mixed. While some ministers expressed interest,
others thought her proposition was a waste of time & money and would ultimately be
useless to the citizens. In particular, the Minister of State expressed that the government
should place prime focus on the tangible well-being of their citizens rather than intangible
‘government follies’ with computers. The Bakatian culture and identity needs to be pre-
served within its people by building new, safer settlements in neighboring countries. The
government should begin purchasing stable and safe land in the Pacific as soon as possi-
ble where these ‘new Bakatis’ can be created. The Bakatian government would negotiate
with these accommodating states to provide a level of autonomy for these communities so
the Bakatian people can maintain their cultural identity and self-governance while being
physically present in a foreign land. The Bakatian government would also hold session
in these countries in order to regulate this autonomy within the framework of the hosting
countries. The new Bakati would grow from a single island to become a series of commu-
nities scattered around the Pacific managed by the Bakatian Government in cooperation
with its allies.
4.2.3 Stakeholder Analysis
This section will introduce the various stakeholders (individuals and collectives) that will
impact or be impacted by the President’s New Year’s speech and the Expatriate Initiative.
For each, their role and motivation will be described as well as their relationship with the
other stakeholders. A summary is shown in Table 1.
Stakeholder Stake in Project Impact Needs Risks
President Public face of the
High Clear, coherent
Collapse of re-
Assembly Passes law for govern-
mental changes & com-
municates with citizens
Medium Guidance from
Collapse of re-
Minister of
Champion of ‘G-I-E’
High Foreign land
to build settle-
of government
due to population
Minister of
Champion of ‘E-G-I-E’
High Technology
transfer from
e-gov nations
Delivering a sub-
par and unusable
e-government so-
Citizens Forced to become cli-
mate refugees
High Guarantees of a
secure life post-
Losing home,
livelihood, &
Coordinate aid to gov-
ernment and citizens
Low Communication
of needs from
Failing to secure
a safe political
& social transi-
tion for Bakati
Other Na-
Pressured to provide
aid and asylum
Medium Communication
of needs from
UN & President
Being over-
burdened by
migrants &
ceding partial
control of terri-
tory to Bakatian
Table 1 Stakeholder Analysis Summary Table
The Bakatian Government
The Bakatian Government as a whole is primarily focused on its own self-preservation.
This determination is not only due to its own self-interest but also because it is the protec-
tor of the Bakatian people, territory, and culture. They fear that if the government falls,
the people will be assimilated into other cultures and the Bakatian society will be lost
The government’s relationship to its people is conducted primarily through the Presi-
dent (through wide proclamations via television, radio, and online news) and through the
representative members of the Assembly (through one-on-one in-person communication,
telephone, and email).
There are several key players within the government that drive the scenarios that are il-
lustrated below.
The President Serves as the public face and ‘project manager’ for the Expatriate Initia-
tive. He will attempt to create consensus among the cabinet to decide the direction of the
project and assure it will be passed into law in the Assembly. He does not have a specific
preference in the approaches.
The Assembly In charge of enacting legislation needed for the Expatriate Initiative.
The individual members of the Assembly also communicate with the citizens and pass
their concerns to the government. In both scenarios, the Assembly will continue to exist
in slightly dierent forms:
Government-In-Exile: The Assembly will become a transnational, yet subor-
dinate body that will govern autonomous regions in multiple nations that have
Bakatian settlements.
E-Government-In-Exile: The Assembly itself will be digitized and conduct re-
mote sessions in which the sovereign e-government will be legislated.
Minister of State The champion of the ‘Government-In-Exile’ approach. He wants to
focus the government’s eort on relocating the citizens in neighboring island nations and
building new Bakatian settlements. He does not believe e-government technology can be
used to make the functioning of an exiled government more ecient or eective.
Minister of Technology The champion of the ‘E-Government-In-Exile’ approach. She
wants to focus the government’s eort on building a substantial e-government that citizens
can access and use anywhere in the world. She believes that citizens can relocate to
any accommodating nation so they can take advantage of opportunities unavailable in
other neighboring states. The diaspora will be connected together using the internet and
the Bakatian e-government portal. In addition, outsiders can also use these services to
build businesses within Bakatian jurisdiction, positioning it as a competitor to territorial
Bakatian People
The Bakatian People are generally focused on protecting their families, their culture, and
their right to use the island of Bakati to survive & make a living. While they have accepted
that it is not possible to live on the island in the future, they are determined to maintain
a presence there because it is their right and spiritual home. While the government ne-
gotiates for the Bakatian people at a high level, individuals and business must ultimately
determine their own future oof the island.
International Community
The international community is focused on the welfare of the Bakatian people and main-
taining a level of stability in the global world order of states. Through intergovernmental
organizations like the United Nations and more regional groups like the Pacific Island
Forum, the global community will navigate the uncharted waters of a total loss of livable
territory due to climate change. States will provide aid to the people of Bakati. Nearby
states and larger, developed nations will be asked to provide land to build new commu-
nities for Bakatian refugees. This land may or may not be given a level of autonomy to
provide self-governance. There will be a certain level of pressure on states to contribute
to the overall eort to improve their reputation and soft power.
States will communicate with the Bakatian government directly or through the United
Nations to pledge aid or land for the Bakatian people as they transition through the envi-
ronmental refugee system.
This stakeholder analysis provides a summary of the relevant players of the scenarios.
In the individual scenarios, the environment in which these players will interact will be
examined using a PESTLE analysis. The diversion point for the scenarios begins below.
4.2.4 Final Cabinet Meeting Before Bakatian Assembly Vote (Point of Scenario
The President brings this cabinet meeting to order and announces that the only item on the
agenda is to make a final decision on the way forward: to focus solely on the evacuation
of the island and the rebuilding of physical communities or to include a mass government
digitalization and encourage citizens to settle anywhere around the world where opportu-
nities exist.
After deliberation, the cabinet takes a vote on the plan to present to the Assembly. The
winning plan is...
4.3 Scenario I: Government-In-Exile
4.3.1 PESTLE Analysis
For this scenario, the government’s plan is defined as the following:
Political Economic Socio-Cultural
The political status of the
Bakati government will
need to be examined and
preserved as much as pos-
sible in order to main-
tain its status on the world
stage. However, it must
cede some responsibility
to the receiving states in
which their new communi-
ties will be built.
The sectors of the current
Bakatian economy will
need to be readjusted to
account for the changing
situation. Tourism will
drop along with some
manufacturing and mining
activities. New industries
will need to be explored
and developed to avoid an
economic collapse.
New Bakatian communi-
ties around the Pacific will
hopefully provide an ade-
quate environment to pre-
serve Bakatian culture and
maintain a modicum of
their homeland. As the
majority of Bakatians will
likely be a part of these
communities, physical ties
can be more easily main-
Technological Legal Environmental
There is an overall dis-
trust in technology and the
potential benefits it could
have within a developed e-
government. The govern-
ment is focused on the tan-
gible elements of reloca-
tion and subsequent gover-
This plan charts a more
traditional approach
to government and
sovereignty by relying
on a physically exiled
government on foreign
soil. Bakatians will lose
partial sovereignty over
their newly created com-
munities that will result
in shared governance with
other nations. Bakatian
law will no longer be able
to be exercised without
some external oversight.
The government is plan-
ning a solution to the is-
sue of rising sea levels by
hoping that the new com-
munities will not be over-
come in the future. This
potentially could only be a
short-term solution if sea
levels raise further.
Table 2 Scenario I PESTLE Analysis
4.3.2 Decades I &II: Real Estate &Real Diplomacy
After agreeing to the Minister of State’s approach to the Expatriate Initiative, a set of laws
codifying the following provisions was passed into law by the Bakatian Assembly:
The outcomes of the people, culture, and government of Bakati are of utmost
importance and will survive at all costs.
The Bakati government will purchase large tracts of land in neighboring, friendly
countries to establish new communities for exiled Bakatian people.
The Bakati government will negotiate with the governments of these nations to
allow a degree of autonomy to these communities so allow the Bakatian people
to exercise self-rule (coordinated by the Bakati government).
Bakati diplomats will reach out to the United Nations and its Member States to
maintain the current level of sovereign relations to Bakati and to ask for aid to
support the transition.
All organs of government will be adapted to their new environment and circum-
International Reaction
The United Nations General Assembly passed resolution A/RES/74/285 (Cooperation be-
tween the United Nations and the Republic of Bakati for disaster preparation) by consen-
sus shortly after the plans passed through the Assembly. This resolution, although largely
symbolic, acknowledged the abandonment of Bakati due to climate change and armed
United Nations support for its government and people. In a statement at a meeting of the
United Nations General Assembly in New York, the Bakatian President said:
The people of my nation express gratitude to the international community
for their widespread support in our time of need. While we may loose our
homeland, Bakati will remain among the nations of the world represented in
this chamber. We are more than just an island, we are a centuries old culture
that will continue to thrive long after the seas force us into exile. With your
support, Bakati remains eternal.
Other United Nations organs and committees including the Economic and Social Council,
the United Nations Development Programme, and the United Nations Human Settlements
Programme also expressed their support for the depopulation and resettlement of Bakati.
There were discussions of reactivating the United Nations Trusteeship Council to manage
cases of large-scale state disaster due to climate change, but representatives from the
Bakati government declined to participate due to not wanting to give the appearance of
lessened sovereignty and being subservient to the former UN decolonization body.
Other states reached out to Bakati to provide aid and support. The nation’s original colo-
nizers, the United Kingdom and United States, both pledged significant funds, goods, and
military assistance to aid the transition. The United States, in particular, oered to expand
the existing compact of defense between it and Bakati to include the right to settle in the
United States for Bakatian citizens. This would bring Bakati in line with the other former
US Pacific possessions (the Marshall Islands, Micronesia, and Palau). While generous,
the Bakatian government rejected this deal as it contradicted the goals of the government,
namely the aim to preserve Bakatian culture by creating new communities in the Pacific.
Allowing citizens to disperse into the US would weaken the government’s position as a
cultural sovereign and could lead to its eventual collapse.
Oers of Territory
Several nations pledged to help support the construction of new Bakatian communities
throughout the Pacific. For example, the Solomon Islands proposed to lease an entire un-
inhabited island to Bakati as well as tracts throughout its other islands. Fiji also proposed
many other areas where Bakatian communities could be built. Australia and New Zealand
pledged to assist in the relocation eorts but did not oer land options at this time due to
opposition from their citizens.
Diplomatic Negotiations
Over the following years, delegations from Bakati visited government ocials from the
Solomon Islands and Fiji to negotiate a governance regime for the new communities to
be built on their lands. In the end, Fiji agreed to a solution based on the Banaba-Rabi
model which was already in place between Fiji and Kiribati. Tracts of land will be leased
to the Bakatian government under a renewable 99 year agreement. Bakatian communities
built on Fijian land would be allowed to govern their own aairs and have a high degree
of autonomy from the Fijian government in exchange for the ability for Fiji to levy tax on
Bakatian citizens living within these communities. Each community would be governed
by an elected council of citizens that would legislate and enforce laws. Three of these
councilors would then be appointed to represent the community in a future version of the
Bakatian Assembly.
Ocials from the Solomon Islands also agreed to a similar arrangement. Due to their
oer of a whole uninhabited island within their archipelago, the Bakatian government
agreed to move the majority of their operations to this island within the coming decades.
It would form a new capital region for the nation despite it still being under the ultimate
sovereignty of a foreign power.
Figure 10 Map of the Pacific Ocean showing the location of the new Bakatian com-
munities (in red) in relation to Bakati (in blue) (Imagery provided by NASA courtesy of
Google Earth)
In total, six large communities would be constructed across the Pacific as seen in Figure
10. Four small cities would be built in the islands of Fiji. Two other cities, including the
new capital region will be built in the Solomon Islands.
4.3.3 Decade III: Building the Future
New Community Development
The construction of the new communities began with help from a number of private sector
developers from across the world as well as various bodies of the United Nations. These
new communities would resemble Bakatian communities as much as possible while in-
corporating new sustainable building techniques and materials.
Before any actual community building could occur, large amounts of new infrastructure
including roads, power, water, sewage, and communications needed to be created to sup-
port the construction process and for the future inhabitants of the six new areas of devel-
opment. This alone was a quite dicult task as many of the areas were remote and lacked
an established supply chain. Once these basic building fundamentals were in place, large-
scale construction could begin.
Eects of Climate Change on Bakati
Notable eects of climate change were reported on the island of Bakati. Average tem-
peratures on the island, located almost directly on the equator, rose significantly over the
previous decade. These new high temperatures made living on the island much more
dicult for some residents.
At the same time, the sea levels at high tide flooded many structures near the coast, espe-
cially those within the dense coastal cities. Those citizens had to relocate further inland.
The government began a deconstruction campaign to make sure buildings along the now
flooded coast were disposed of in an environmentally friendly manner. It also ensured
that the coast remains free of debris.
Eects on the Bakatian Economy
At what might seem at first unusual, the Bakatian economy grew significantly over the
past decade due to an almost doubling in tourism revenue from “disaster tourists” visiting
the island before its evacuation. The fishing, logging, and media sectors stayed relatively
steady while the mining and oil sectors decreased due to increased environmental issues
that impacted operations. The island’s financial sector collapsed due to the closing of
many financial institutions and the impending danger that the financial district would face
by flooding.
4.3.4 Decade IV: Transitions
Eects of Climate Change on Bakati
The lowest area of the coast was along the southeast corner of the island around the city
of Maeka. By the third decade after the Initiative began, many large districts of the city
were flooded including a significant section of the primary business & financial district.
Many businesses vital to the Bakatian economy had to abandon their oces and relocate
to higher ground or simply leave the island altogether.
Along with the rapidly rising sea levels, the prevalence of severe weather also increased.
In one season alone, Bakati was hit by five devastating tropical storms that destroyed
infrastructure and lives. Those that had their property destroyed or were in areas that lost
power or water were elevated to the top of the relocation register since rebuilding on an
already condemned island was considered like a waste of resources.
Large-Scale Citizen Relocation
As the environment around and on Bakati became more extreme and as the new settle-
ments became operational, the citizen relocation operations began. Citizens could petition
their local Assembly member on where they were placed, but mass influx of requests ren-
dered the analog system unsustainable. Therefore, citizens were generally moved along
with their surrounding community without much say in their final destination. This lack
of the ability for citizens to be in control of their own fate led many to become disillu-
sioned with the eectiveness of government. Some of these aggrieved citizens decided to
ignore the ocial relocation attempts and either find their way othe island themselves
or entrench themselves in the unlivable interior.
Some of the those that found their way oof Bakati were successful. Many more were
not. The Bakatian Navy found itself overwhelmed with rescue missions to recover people
that ran into trouble within their national waters. The United States Coast Guard provided
assistance when a request was made, but by that time many people had lost their lives.
The government attempted to police the coast to deter other private emigration, but due to
a lack of resources, it proved ineective.
Those that fled to the interior of the island did not fare much better. Since the interior of
the island is a hostile, untamed environment, the people that moved there found it dicult
to setup any semblance of a sustainable community. Mining roads were the only clear
path to follow outside of the dense jungle and the steep mountainside. These roads were
themselves quite dangerous as their maintenance quality was deteriorating due to unwill-
ingness to invest in a dying island. Several people lost their lives on this journey alone
with several more succumbing to the harsh conditions. The remaining people returned to
the coasts when they failed to establish a settlement.
Eects on the Bakatian Economy
As can be expected, the Bakatian economy drastically fell as the island was evacuated
and subjected to harsher weather conditions. Tourism, the vast majority of the nation’s
income, was obliterated. The remaining non-evacuated fishermen still brought in some
overall income, but it was steadily decreasing as time went on. The mining and logging
industries suered similar declines. The country subsisted primarily on foreign aid.
Eects on the Bakatian Government
As the final years of the island’s domestic administration came close to an end, the Baka-
tian government began the process of deciding what made the move to its new home.
Additional negotiations with the states in which the new settlements reside (the inviting
states) led to additional some autonomy being revoked from the Bakatian authorities. This
included autonomy in agricultural policies (to ensure that no invasive species make their
way into new communities), energy policies (to ensure that the new communities would
adopt established standards for public safety and compatibility), and infrastructure build-
ing and maintenance (to maintain compatibility with domestic law and established safety
standards). Since the communities were already built and the initial agreements could
be unilaterally amended, there was nothing the Bakatian government could do to reclaim
While their future autonomy was being amended, their present day autonomy was also
declining. Since the new communities were spread throughout the Pacific, it was dicult
to establish local governance in each while still dealing with the remaining population still
on Bakati. The inviting countries stepped in as the sovereigns of the territory and estab-
lished order in each of the communities. This status quo would remain until the Bakatian
Government could establish a local presence. However, the terms of what constituted an
established local presence laid solely with the inviting states.
4.3.5 Decade V: Unsettled Settlement
Eects of Climate Change on Bakati
As the final citizens were relocated from Bakati, the majority of the land where the island’s
former two cities once stood was underwater. Deconstruction eorts were generally suc-
cessful along the rising coast, leaving the island to return to a more natural, yet shrinking,
state. Sea water began seeping into lower levels of inland mines which halted operations,
delivering yet another blow to the island’s economy and trade. The remaining lumber
industry continued, but as the population and infrastructure of the island dwindled, so did
the ability to continue operations.
Villages further up the mountain’s slope were still in the clear, but the salinization of
their water supply was beginning to render it undrinkable. This salinization also eected
the remaining agriculture on the island, reducing the food supply around the poisoned
Eects on the Bakatian Exiled Government
The Bakatian Government ocially moved its operations from Bakati to the Solomon
Islands shortly after all citizens were evacuated. While the Assembly and courts arrived
mostly intact from their previous form, a significant amount of the Executive Ministries
were closed down due to their activities being subsumed by the inviting states in which
the Bakatian communities were built (see Figure 11). The now defunct ministries include:
Ministry of Agriculture: Agriculture policy, legislation, and subsidies not dele-
gated to autonomous government.
Ministry of Defense: Responsibility for defense of the communities lies with
the inviting states. The Bakatian Military was formally disbanded and personnel
were reassigned to community policing duties.
Ministry of Energy: Energy policy, legislation, and generation was not dele-
gated to autonomous government.
Ministry of Finance: All of the activities of the finance ministry were subsumed
by the inviting states. Taxes from citizens and businesses were collected by
the inviting states and then distributed to the autonomous government. The
Bakatian Dollar was replaced by the local currency of the inviting state.
Ministry of Labor: Labor policy and legislation was not delegated to autonomous
Ministry of Technology: Although ocially closed at the time of the move, the
technology ministry was de facto moribund for decades after the failure of the
e-government plan.
Ministry of Transport: Transport policy and infrastructure was not delegated to
autonomous government.
Any additional government operations remaining on the island of Bakati were adminis-
tered by the remaining ministries and by the executive directly.
Figure 11 Diagram of the Exiled Bakatian Government structure linking Cabinet oces
to the services they provide
4.3.6 Aftermath
Status and Relevance of the Bakatian Government
After loosing much of its authority over the exiled communities it built in the inviting
countries, the Bakatian government was largely relegated to a secondary role in the lives
of its citizens. The remaining ministries still active in the government were the following:
Ministry of Education: The Bakatian education system was transplanted di-
rectly into the new communities without interference from the inviting states.
Ministry of Health: Physical health records for Bakatian citizens were held by
the government and were accessible to doctors trained by Bakatian schools or
those certified by the inviting state.
Ministry of the Interior: Physical property records for both the new communi-
ties and Bakati were held by the government. The latter could be utilized in a
future scenario where portions of the island could be recovered.
Ministry of Justice: The communities were policed by citizens employed by
the justice ministry. They worked with the remnants of the former Judiciary in
local courts that interpreted local laws from the Assembly and the laws of the
inviting states.
Ministry of State: The citizen registry is managed by the state ministry which
determines who is entitled to a place in a Bakatian community, who can vote in
Assembly elections, and who is eligible for a Bakatian identification document.
As a result of this decrease in authority, the government decided to reinvent itself as a
cultural preservation organization that sought to keep Bakatian culture and history alive
for citizens of future generations. This leveraged its autonomy in the education of its
citizens as well as it holding the definitive citizenship register for the nation. Despite its
best eorts, a certain amount of cultural assimilation occurred between the Bakatians and
the people of the inviting countries. The Bakatians eventually gained rights to citizenship
in the inviting nations, further distancing the people from their past homeland.
Eects of Climate Change in the New Settlements
The initial goal for the building of new settlements was to move the people of Bakati
to communities around the Pacific so that their national culture and traditions could be
preserved and not be diluted by outside influences. While this concept had noble inten-
tions, its execution was shortsighted. During the construction of the new communities,
certain precautions were put in place to protect the new construction from the rising seas
that doomed Bakati. These precautions kept the communities safe for awhile, but sea
levels soon began to rise at an even higher rate, overwhelming the barriers and drainage
systems put in place. After a few decades, Bakatians would have to move again as their
new communities were also taken by the sea. This move, however, was not conducted
by the Bakatian authorities, but instead by the people themselves, fleeing the Pacific low-
lands by any means possible. This wave of climate refugees was eventually absorbed by
neighboring countries and continental states on higher ground.
Eects of Climate Change on Bakati
From a distance, what remains of the island of Bakati appears to have never been the
site of a human civilization. Nature has covered over much of the remaining evidence
of the former Bakatian settlements. Mining continues on exposed areas of the island,
but operations have significantly decreased compared to past decades due to flooding and
decreased government operational funding.
Around the island, there are still boats fishing the native waters of Bakati. These Bakatian
fishermen utilize their sovereign waters to make a living. Their catch still is a large part
of the remnants of the Bakatian economy. There are plans to build an oil rig over the
remaining (now underwater) oil deposit, but funds are not available to begin construction.
The one noticeable area that hints to the island’s past is a large flagpole erected at the
summit of Mt. Tenriki with a large Bakatian flag flying that can be seen from nearly every
area of the remaining island and surrounding seas. This act of sovereignty ensures that
although Bakati’s population has fled, the Republic of Bakati, at least in spirit, remains
4.4 Scenario II: E-Government-In-Exile
4.4.1 PESTLE Analysis
For this scenario, the government’s goals are defined as the following:
Political Economic Socio-Cultural
The plan of using technol-
ogy to ensure the politi-
cal continuity of the Baka-
tian government on the
world stage is ambitious
but untested both in the ef-
fectiveness of a solely dig-
ital government and in the
legitimacy of the concept
of a digital sovereign.
The sectors of the Baka-
tian economy that depend
on the island of Bakati it-
self will need to be re-
placed. New industries
that leverage the new dig-
ital infrastructure created
for the e-state could prove
to be the primary driver of
the new economy after the
evacuation of the island.
The Bakatian government
will work with the United
Nations High Commis-
sioner for Refugees to
ensure that the climate
refugees from Bakati will
be resettled throughout
the world in willing
receiving nations. The
ability that cultural ties
can be maintained using
technology is a gamble
that the government hopes
will pay o.
Technological Legal Environmental
The government is bet-
ting its future as well as
the future of its people in
the hands of e-government
technology and data em-
bassies instead of invest-
ing in future communities
for its citizens. Should the
planned technology fail or
prove to be less than use-
ful, the government could
The plan for creating a
sovereign e-state is a rad-
ical approach to ensur-
ing state continuity that is
mostly untested in inter-
national law. They plan
on maintaining sovereign
control over their own dig-
ital realm that is accessible
by its citizens, but it is un-
known how other govern-
ments will respond to this
new system.
By not relying on physical
territory that can be over-
come by environmental
changes like sea level rise,
the Bakatian e-state should
be able to survive most
major climate-change re-
lated events. However,
increasing the reliance on
digital technology could
provide a negative eect to
the environment due to in-
creased electricity use by
data center servers.
Table 3 Scenario II PESTLE Analysis
4.4.2 Decades I &II: Product Announcement
International Reaction
The United Nations General Assembly passed resolution A/RES/74/285 (Cooperation be-
tween the United Nations and the Republic of Bakati for disaster preparation) by consen-
sus shortly after the plans passed through the Assembly. This resolution, although largely
symbolic, acknowledged the abandonment of Bakati due to climate change and armed
United Nations support for its government and people. In a statement at a meeting of the
United Nations General Assembly in New York, the Bakatian President said:
The people of my nation express gratitude to the international community for
their widespread support in our time of need. However, it is vital to recognize
that we are only the first nation to suer possible annihilation due to the
eects of climate change. Many of our neighbors will also suer similar
fates as the seas rise. Although we are in one way unlucky to be the first
aected, we also have the unique opportunity to become innovators by doing
what we have always done: adapt to our changing environment using the
technology of the time. The Republic of Bakati is not a rock in the sea, it is
not a set of beliefs, and it is not a chapter in a history book. It is a group of
strong, versatile, and pioneering people that may be forced from our home
physically, but not spiritually, and certainly not digitally. Our aspirations are
grand and experimental, but this is the Bakatian way. We will persevere.
Bakati called upon the United Nations Secretariat to assist in coordinating with the top e-
government nations in the world to help develop the new Bakatian e-state. Representatives
from many of these nations came together to form the E-Governance Consortium, a new
group within the United Nations that will collectively research this area. Bakati would
serve as the coordinator of this group where existing e-government solutions from around
the would could be fused together so a functional e-state could emerge.
Oers of Territory
Many nations, including many of Bakati’s neighbors, oered land in order to relocate the
nation’s citizens. While the government was appreciative to these oers, they declined all
oers to territory.
Diplomatic Negotiations
The government realized that it needed to procure computing power within established
data centers in friendly states so that their proposed e-state could function worldwide.
While private sector cloud computing services are prevalent, none would provide the
high level of security needed for the sensitive data of a state. Following the examples of
other strong e-government nations, Bakati began negotiations with a selection of states to
build data embassies within existing data centers. These data embassies would follow the
Estonia-Luxembourg example so that the majority of the protections oered to standard
embassies also applied to their digital cousins. A number of data embassy treaties were
signed with cooperating states, securing the digital infrastructure needed for the e-state to
Government Restructuring and Digitalization
Once the decision was made to embark on the e-state solution to Bakati’s future, plans
were created to restructure the government to better facilitate the transition. First, the
Ministry of Technology was expanded to create the e-state itself. Several of the basic
key technologies needed like the eID, eAuthentication System, and the web portal where
the government would be accessed began development. Other ministries that will survive
the transition also began eorts to digitize their data and create transition plans to move
their work to the cloud. The territorial ministries (departments that solely focused on
territorial issues) began a process to wind down operations as the evacuation of the island
Digitizing the Populous
A key pillar of the e-government plan was to begin a widespread campaign to educate the
population of Bakati in technology so they can access the e-state without trouble. The
government partnered with the University of Bakati to create a free online course that all
citizens are required to take. The course, featured many levels of content, educated the
populous on basic computer skills, how to use the internet, and how to access and use the
e-government. It prepared all generations from the elderly to schoolchildren in the skills
needed for the future of Bakati.
This online course also served as a pilot project for the university to understand the re-
quirements and issues concerned with digitizing their entire curriculum. The president
of the university pledged that students would be able to get a full 4-year degree using
only online courses within the next decade. The qualifications earned from the university
are stored within each citizen or resident’s online profile and are accessible within other
sections of the e-government.
4.4.3 Decade III: Alpha Release
E-Government Rollout
After over a decade of development, testing, and training, the initial version of the Baka-
tian e-government went live across the world. At rollout, the e-services and web portal
were running in data embassies located in Bangalore, Vancouver, Fiji, Luxembourg, and
Seoul as well as on Bakati itself. These locations were chosen for their infrastructure, lo-
cation, and willingness to adopt the necessary legal procedures to enable the data embassy
concept in law. While some small issues occurred involving citizens unpreparedness and
technical bugs, the rollout was deemed successful by the President. Additional services
would continue to rollout over the following months and years.
Along with the e-government rollout, the Bakatian eID was also launched to all citizens
which came with a subsidized low-cost netbook computer and an ID card reader. The
eID became the new method in which citizens interacted with their government. The e-
government training programs at the University of Bakati provided additional sessions to
teach citizens how to use the eID to access the new e-government.
Eects of Climate Change on Bakati
Notable eects of climate change were being noticed on the island of Bakati. Average
temperatures on the island, located almost directly on the equator, rose significantly over
the previous decade. These new high temperatures made living on the island much more
dicult for some residents.
At the same time, the sea levels at high tide flooded many structures near the coast, espe-
cially those within the dense coastal cities. Those citizens had to relocate further inland.
The government began a deconstruction campaign to make sure buildings along the now
flooded coast are disposed of in an environmentally friendly manner. It also ensures that
the coast remains free of debris.
Eects on the Bakatian Economy
Since the announcement of the evacuation of the island of Bakati two decades earlier,
the Bakatian economy had steadily decreased. The tourism sector grew slightly due to
many ‘disaster tourists’ coming to the nation. Many of the island’s business, including its
burgeoning financial sector, began to wane.
Following the successful launch of the Bakatian e-government, certain non-territorial de-
pendent sectors of the economy began to grow again. Since the e-government allowed
for businesses (both domestic and foreign-based) to be digitally registered using its e-
residency service (modeled on the Estonian example), it became a popular place to setup
online businesses in a less regulated market. Following an extensive international market-
ing campaign (also modeled on Estonia), the uptake of e-residency by foreign nationals
began to considerably grow.
This marketing campaign, whose prime purpose was to attract potential e-residents, was
eective as a soft power campaign that promoted the idea of the e-state outside of the halls
of sovereign nations and into the general public. The advantages of a digital government
were made clear and the benefits of an ecient online bureaucracy played well in states
with more traditional governance structures. This positive influence on the people of the
world bolstered the case for equality between territorial states and e-states.
4.4.4 Decade IV: Worldwide Release
Eects of Climate Change on Bakati
The lowest area of the Bakatian coast is along the southeast corner of the island around
the city of Maeka. By the third decade after the Initiative began, many large districts of
the city are now flooded including a significant section of the primary business & financial
district. Many businesses vital to the Bakatian economy have had to abandon their oces
and relocate to higher ground or simply leave the island altogether.
Along with the rapidly rising sea levels, the prevalence of severe weather also increased.
In one season alone, Bakati was hit by five devastating tropical storms that destroyed
infrastructure and lives. Those that had their property destroyed or were in areas that lost
power or water were elevated to the top of the digital relocation register since rebuilding
on an already condemned island seemed like a waste of resources.
Large-Scale Citizen Relocation
As the severity of the weather and water level increased around Bakati, the government
in collaboration with the United Nations High Commissioner of Refugees began relocat-
ing the citizens of the island. An e-government service was launched as an extension
of the population register that recorded citizen’s preferences for where to be relocated
among the participating receiving nations. An analog extension of this service was also
opened at government oces throughout the island as a stopgap for those that were not
yet comfortable with the technology.
Using citizen preferences submitted to the population register system, the large scale re-
location of occurred and placed the vast majority of people in their chosen nation. Many
preferred to remain in the south Pacific nations like Fiji while others were resettled in
Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and throughout Europe.
Eects on the Bakatian E-Government
The continued growth of the Bakatian e-government allowed more services and products
to be developed and launched for citizens and e-residents.
The whole Bakatian financial sector was digitized, decentralized, and integrated
into the web portal. All transactions and banking interactions could be done
online. In addition, an ocial cryptocurrency was developed to replace the
Bakatian dollar. There was an initial backlash to this due to the environmental
impact of blockchain processing needed to maintain this currency, but it was
determined to be a necessary evil and could be oset in other ways.
The health system of the island was similarly digitized along with all health
records and prescriptions. While there would be no domestic health service for
the immediate future for citizens, this information could be securely accessed by
participating foreign healthcare organizations using an API and authorization
from the citizen.
As the island emptied of its people, the records of owned property were pre-
served in the frozen property register. Should the island recover in the future,
citizens or their descendents could reclaim their ancestral land.
Eects on the Bakatian Economy
While uptake of the Bakatian e-government system by outside businesses was slow at
first, the advantages and eciencies gained by a digital first system allowed uptake to
gain momentum by word-of-mouth. This almost exponential growth was not only good
for the e-state’s economy but also as a semi-controlled stress test of the data embassy
infrastructure and scalability. After a decade of operation, the e-state system was no
longer a net profit loss for the government, and this new profitability further increased
investor confidence and business usage.
Other more traditional sectors of the economy like mining, fishing, and oil extraction de-
creased due to needed modifications to the supply chain and the eects of rising sea levels.
The government’s e-residency profits and outside aid organizations began investing in the
needed changes to continue operations on the exposed peak of the island, the non-flooded
interior, and in the submerged shallow coast. This was a hedge that the government placed
should the e-government income fails to grow further.
4.4.5 Decade V: Out of Beta
Bakatian E-Government
A diagram of the final version of the Bakatian E-Government designed and implemented
by the Ministry of Technology is shown in Figure 12. Three ministries were eventually
closed due to their reliance on a territorial government. The remaining ministries were
tasked to convert their services to a digital form and to integrate into the Ministry of
Technology’s digital authentication infrastructure.
Figure 12 Diagram of the Bakatian E-Government structure linking Cabinet oces to
the services they provide
Eects of Climate Change on Bakati
As the final citizens relocated from Bakati, the majority of the land where the island’s
former two cities once stood was now underwater. Deconstruction eorts were gener-
ally successful along the rising coast, leaving the island to return to a more natural, yet
shrinking, state. Sea water began seeping into lower levels of inland mines which halted
operations, delivering yet another blow to the island’s economy and trade. The remaining
lumber industry continued, but as the population and infrastructure of the island dwindled,
so did the ability to continue operations.
Villages further up the mountain’s slope were still in the clear but the salinization of
their water supply was beginning rendering it undrinkable. This salinization also eected
the remaining agriculture on the island, reducing the food supply around the poisoned
4.4.6 Aftermath
Status and Relevance of the Bakatian Government
The great experiment of converting a traditional territorial state to a non-territorial e-state
while maintaining sovereign status on the world stage was considered successful. A large
part of this success was beginning this conversion through the United Nations system from
the beginning and relying on its subprograms like the High Commissioner of Refugees
for assistance. This pseudo-endorsement of the e-state by the UN opened the door for the
other Member States of the organization to do so as well.
Bakati was also at an advantage by having a portion of its original territory above the water
line. While this territory was not able to sustain a population (and therefore could not meet
the Montevideo criteria for statehood), it allowed the idea of digital state continuity for
Bakati to be an easier concept to accept for other states and organizations. If the island was
fully submerged, the argument for continued recognition would have been more dicult.
Bakati’s self-reinvention as a digital business hub also contributed to its ability to main-
tain itself financially. By opening up its new e-government infrastructure to foreign e-
businesses and generating new avenues of tax revenue, it was not necessary for the nation
to rely solely on foreign aid by other nations or the United Nations. This financial auton-
omy added to the argument that Bakati is independent and sovereign.
Following the evacuation of its territory, Bakati remained a sovereign within the world
order and equal among its peers. It was able to maintain its status because of its history
and careful transition to the cloud. By working within the current system of states and not
greatly disrupting the status quo of the Westphalian system, Bakati was able to expand the
definition of what a sovereign can be. A transitional period has begun that abstracts the
concepts and interlinking of territory and nationhood, opening the door for future digital
innovation by our governments.
Eects of Climate Change on Bakati
From a distance, what remains of the island of Bakati appears to have never been the site
of a human civilization. Nature has covered over much of the remaining evidence of the
former Bakatian settlements. Mining continues on exposed areas of the island and has
remained steadily funded using the new sources of income created through the business
focused e-resident program.
Around the island, there are still boats fishing the native waters of Bakati. These Baka-
tian fishermen utilize their sovereign waters to make a living, and their catch remains a
part of the Bakatian economy. There are plans to build an oil extraction platform over
the remaining (now underwater) oil deposit using money raised through e-government
collected taxes.
The one noticeable area that hints to the island’s past is a large flagpole erected at the
summit of Mt. Tenriki with a large Bakatian flag flying that can be seen from nearly
every area of the remaining island and surrounding seas. At the base of this flagpole is a
small building containing a set of guarded servers that acts as a node within the worldwide
Bakatian e-government cloud. While most citizens access their government through other
servers in the network, this symbolic node shows that although the people of Bakati have
moved on from their ancestral home, the Bakatian e-state stand guard and remains eternal.
4.5 Conclusion
This chapter used the fictional Republic of Bakati to demonstrate the advantages and
disadvantages of using data embassy technology to operate an e-state in the event of
territorial loss. The two scenarios were set on two ends of the spectrum of e-government
adoption and showed the widely dierent response and mindset a government could have
in such a case. As noted in Chapter 3, the scenarios presented above are simply two
possible ways in which the events could occur and does not claim to be a future prediction.
Their purpose was to take a concept that has until now been abstract (the use of data
embassies to create and operate a non-territorial e-state) and put it to the test in a realistic
The outcomes of the scenarios presented in this chapter will be utilized in the following
chapter to discuss and analyze the proposed e-state system. It will also discuss how it
could coexist with traditional states and provide benefit in the Westphalian world. This
analysis will aid in concluding this paper’s research by answering the proposed research
questions in the final chapter.
5 E-States and the Future of Sovereignty
The concept of the Estonian e-state that was introduced earlier in this paper along with the
scenarios created in Chapter 4 demonstrated the possibilities of how the construct of the
state could evolve in the future using cloud-based e-government technology. This chapter
will delve further into this area and address topics that an e-state will impact should it
become a more common phenomenon on the world stage.
5.1 Death of a Nation
It is a very recent idea to assume a nation can be immortal and escape death. Over human
history, countless nations and empires have come and gone. The peoples of those nations
were either assimilated into a conquering state or reorganized into a new successor state
while their former government was relegated to history. This was the national order of
things, reflecting the natural order of their human creators. The lifecycle of a state, much
like a human’s, had a beginning and an end.
As adv