28 May 2020

NAM Contact Group Virtual Meet6 min read

Source: The Hindu

Manifest pedagogy: Post COVID-19, the work of international organisations plays a major role in revamping the global order. In this context the below topic gives a picture of the role played by forums like NAM in promoting solidarity in the fight against the pandemic.

In news: Recently PM Narendra Modi participated in the online Summit of Non Aligned Movement (NAM) Contact Group.

Placing it in syllabus: International organisations 

Static dimensions: What is NAM?

Current dimensions:

  • Meeting and important discussions held
  • Global South definition
  • NIEO and NIIO


What is NAM?

  • The NAM was founded during the collapse of the colonial system and at the height of the Cold War. 
  • Its actions were a key factor in the decolonization process, which led later to the attainment of independence by many  countries.
  • It has always played a fundamental role in the preservation of world peace and security.
  • The African-Asian Conference held in Bandung, Indonesia, in 1955, was convened by the Heads of State and Government Gamal Abdel Nasser of Egypt, Kwame Nkrumah of Ghana, Shri Jawaharlal Nehru of India, Ahmed Sukarno of Indonesia and Josip Broz Tito of Yugoslavia, who later became the founding fathers of the NAM.
  • Indonesia’s President, Ahmed Sukarno, was the host of the conference in which Ten Principles of Bandung were set forth which later evolved as the essential criteria to the membership of this movement.
  1. Respect of fundamental human rights and of the objectives and principles of the Charter of the United Nations.
  2. Respect for the sovereignty and territorial integrity of all nations.
  3. Recognition of equality among all races and among all big nations.
  4. Non-intervention into the internal affairs of another country.
  5. Respect the right of every nation to defend itself, either individually or collectively.
  6. Non-use of collective defense pacts to benefit the specific interests of any of the great powers.
  7. Refraining from acts or threats of aggression and use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any country. 
  8. Settlement of all international disputes by peaceful means in conformity with the Charter of the UN.
  9. Promotion of mutual interest and cooperation.
  10. Respect for justice and international obligations.

Six years after Bandung, the NAM was officially established, at the First Summit Conference of Belgrade, 1961. Today NAM is a forum of 120 developing world states that are not formally aligned with or against any major power bloc. It has 17 observer countries and 10 observer organisations. 

Meeting and important discussions held:

  • The theme was – “United against COVID-19”. 
  • It was hosted by the current Chairman of NAM, President of Republic of Azerbaijan HE Ilham Aliyev. 
  • The objective of the summit was to promote international solidarity in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic and to mobilise efforts of States and international organisations to address the pandemic.
  • The event also commemorated the International Day of Multilateralism and Diplomacy for Peace.
  • PM Modi emphasized the importance of a coordinated, inclusive and equitable response by the world to COVID-19.
  • He outlined the steps India had taken domestically and internationally and reaffirmed India’s readiness to offer assistance in solidarity with the Movement.
  • He urged reform in international organisations as post-COVID world needed a new template for globalisation.
  • Over 30 other Heads of State and Government and other leaders, including from member States in Asia, Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean, and Europe also joined the meeting.
  • The leaders who addressed the summit announced the creation of a Task Force for a “common database” showing medical, social and humanitarian details from the participating countries.
  • The summit leaders adopted a declaration underlining the importance of international solidarity in the fight against COVID-19.
  • They identified needs and requirements for possible remedies and urged action-oriented follow-up measures. 

Global South definition:

  • The Global South term has been used within intergovernmental development organizations like those that originated in the Non-Aligned Movement­ (NAM) ­to refer to economically disadvantaged nation-states and as a post-cold war alternative to “Third World”. 
  • Countries of the Global South have been described as newly industrialized or in the process of industrializing.
  • They are considered to have lower-quality democracies and frequently have a history of colonialism by Northern, especially European states.

  • Global South emerged in part to aid countries in the southern hemisphere to work in collaboration on political, economic, social, environmental, cultural, and technical issues.
  • This is called South–South cooperation (SSC).
  • As Global South leaders became more assertive in world politics in the 1990s and 2000s, South-South cooperation has increased to “challenge the political and economic dominance of the North”.
  • Political power shifts are increasingly reinforcing the economic integration of the global South in the world economy, adding political multipolarity to economic and military multipolarity.


New International Economic Order (NIEO):  The present international economic order is found to be a symmetrical in its working and is biased. It is favouring the rich-advanced countries. There has been over dependence of the South on the North. 

Hence a need for new economic order has been in demand by developing countries. However, origin of North-South dialogue for a new economic order may be traced back to over 30 years ago, at the Afro-Asian Conference at Bandung held in 1955.

The formal idea of the NIEO was put forward in the Algiers Conference of non-aligned countries in 1973. In 1975, a declaration for the establishment of NIEO was adopted along with a programme of action in the Sixth Special Session of the UNCTAD.

NIEO is to be based onequity, sovereign equality, common interest and co-operation among all States, irrespective of their social and economic systems”.

It aims at a development of the global economy as a whole, with the set up of interrelated policies and performance targets of the international community at large. 

Objectives of the NIEO:

  • It seeks restructuring of existing institutions and forming new organisations to regulate the flow of trade, technology, capital funds in the common interest of the world’s global economy and due benefits in favour of the LDCs.
  • It has the spirit of a ‘world without borders.’
  • It suggests more equitable allocation of world’s resources through increased flow of aid from the rich nations to the poor countries.
  • It seeks to overcome alarming disparities between the living conditions of the rich and poor in the world as large.
  • Its aim is to provide poor nations increased participation and have their say in the decision-making processes in international affairs.
  • It also stresses the need for restructuring the international monetary system.

So far, however, no result-oriented action programme has been undertaken.

New International Information Order (NIIO):

  • NIIO is a term coined in a debate over media representations of the developing world in UNESCO in the late 1970s. 
  • A UNESCO panel called MacBride Commission chaired by Nobel Peace Prize laureate Sean MacBride, produced a report titled “Many Voices, One World”, which outlined the main philosophical points of the New World Information Communication Order (NWICO).
  • In 1990–2000, a switch occurred globally, carried by the Internet that contributed to bring more equity to the available content. 
  • However evidence suggests global media has a strong bias towards the global north
  • Studies estimate around eighty percent of international news travels through Reuters, Agence France-Presse, United Press International and the Associated Press and only around twenty percent of this news focuses on developing countries.
  • Windhoek Declaration of 1991 for the Development of a Free, Independent and Pluralistic Press is a statement of press freedom principles by African newspaper journalists.
  • UNESCO adopted the Windhoek framework concerning media development, characterizing it by freedom, pluralism and independence.
  • In December of 2003 in Geneva and November of 2005, two phases of the UN World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) were held.
  • These gatherings were done to develop a ‘common vision of the information society’ and to overcome the digital divide within the United Nations Millennium Development Goals. 
  • Technological developments have direct effects on access to information and on privacy and have helped to impart information to the public.
  • The one way information flow from Global North to South has been corrected partially due to this flow of information.
  • The increasing access to and reliance on digital media to receive and produce information have increased the possibilities for States and private sector companies to track individuals’ behaviors, opinions and networks. 

Mould your thought: What is the importance of Non Aligned Movement (NAM)? Discuss the outcome of NAM Contact Group Virtual Meet held recently?

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