The Non-Aligned Movement: Description
The Methodology of the Movement
was reviewed at a Meeting of the Ministerial Committee on Methodology
in Cartagena, Colombia in 1996
The Non-Aligned Movement is a Movement
of 115 members representing the interests and priorities of developing
countries. The Movement has its origin in the Asia-Africa Conference
held in Bandung, Indonesia in 1955. The meeting was convened upon
the invitation of the Prime Ministers of Burma, Ceylon, India,
Indonesia and Pakistan and brought together leaders of 29 states,
mostly former colonies, from the two continents of Africa and
Asia, to discuss common concerns and to develop joint policies
in international relations. Prime Minister Nehru, the acknowledged
senior statesman, along with Prime Ministers Soekarno and Nasser,
led the conference. At the meeting Third World leaders shared
their similar problems of resisting the pressures of the major
powers, maintaining their independence and opposing colonialism
and neo-colonialism, specially western domination.
Following this meeting a preparatory meeting
for the First NAM Summit Conference was held in Cairo, from 5-12
June 1961. Where the invitations for Bandung were on a regional
basis, the invitations for the first Summit were based on each
invited country's commitment to a set of shared principles.
At the Cairo preparatory meeting the participants
discussed in detail the principal aims and objectives of a policy
of non-alignment. These were adopted as criteria for membership
as well as for the invitations to the First Summit Conference.
The criteria are the following:
* The country should have adopted an independent
policy based on the coexistence of States with different political
and social systems and on non-alignment or should be showing a
trend in favour of such a policy.
* The country concerned should be consistently
supporting the Movements for National Independence.
* The country should not be a member of a multilateral military
alliance concluded in the context of Great Power conflicts.
* If a country has a bilateral military agreement with a Great
Power, or is a member of a regional defence pact, the agreement
or pact should not be one deliberately concluded in the context
of Great Power conflicts.
* If it has conceded military bases to
a Foreign Power the concession should not have been made in the
context of Great Power conflicts.
The above criteria and principles of NAM, adopted at the Cairo
preparatory meeting, have been reaffirmed by the Heads of State
or Government during the XI Summit in Cartagena. (Also see Criteria
for Admission under Methodology.)
The first Conference of Non-Aligned Heads
of State or Government, at which 25 countries were represented,
was convened at Belgrade in September 1961, largely through the
initiative of Yugoslavian President Tito. At that stage his biggest
concern was that an accelerating arms race might result in war
between the Soviet Union and the USA.
Since its inception the Movement therefore
attempted to create an independent path in world politics that
would not result in Member States becoming pawns in the struggles
between the major powers. This resulted in a large part of its
history being influenced by the global tension of the Cold War
between the two super powers. The Movement therefore this issue
as a priority item on its agenda and its work. However, the Cold
War was not the sole or only critical issue on the agenda of the
Non-Aligned Movement. A cursory glance at the history of the Movement
reveals three basic elements which influenced the approaches of
the Movement to international issues. These are the right of independent
judgement, the struggle against imperialism and neo-colonialism,
and the use of moderation in relations with all big powers.
In the present day context the Movement
not only remains focussed on the above areas but also works towards
the restructuring of the international economic order.
Because of great power rivalry during
the Cold War Era many economic projects were set up in developing
countries as part of the rivalry but suffered as a result of the
quest for influence. During the years the focus of Non-Aligned
Summits therefore shifted away from essentially politically issues,
to the advocacy of solutions to global economic and other problems.
The Jakarta Summit in 1992 was a turning point in Non-Aligned
history since this was the first Summit after the end of the Cold
War. It allowed the Movement to shift its focus in a direction
that also enabled It to work across to groupings such as the G-7
and the EU. South Africa assumed the position as the Chair at
a time when this transitional phase was still ongoing.
The founders of the Non-Aligned Movement
and their successors recognised that the Movement would probably
be best served if it operated without a formal constitution and
a permanent secretariat. The practice of a rotating Chair was
instead created which at the same time place the onus of an administrative
structure on the country assuming the Chair. The Summit Conferences
are the occasions when the Movement formally rotates its Chair
to the Head of State or Government of the host country of the
Summit. The Foreign Ministry and Permanent Mission in New York
of the Chair at the same time assume the responsibility of the
administrative management of the Movement.
RESPONSIBILITIES OF THE NAM CHAIR
The Chair is at the same time delegated
certain responsibilities for promoting the principles and activities
of the Movement. To facilitate the Chairs' responsibilities a
number of structures aimed at improving the co-ordination and
functioning of the existing mechanisms of the Movement were created.
(Also see Cartagena Document under Methodology.) Of these mechanisms
the most important is the Co-ordinating Bureau (CoB) at the United
Nations in New York, which forms the focal point for co-ordination.
Since the Non-Aligned countries meet regularly at the UN and conduct
much of their work there, the Chairs' Permanent Representative
to the United Nations in New York functions as the Chair of the
CoB. The Bureau reviews and facilitates the harmonisation of the
work of the NAM Working Groups, Contact Groups, Task Forces and
The Heads of State or Government entrusted
the Co-ordinating Bureau with the task of intensifying its action
to further strengthen co-ordination and mutual co-operation among
Non-Aligned countries, including unified action in the United
Nations and other international fora, on issues of common concern.
Another important mechanism is the Troika
of past, serving and future Chairs. This concept is operationalised
at the discretion of the incumbent Chair and can act as a clearinghouse
for solutions of problems and issues confronting developing countries
on which the Movement must take a position.
The Methodology of the Movement was reviewed
at a Meeting of the Ministerial Committee on Methodology in Cartagena,
Colombia in 1996 and the decisions taken there is reflected in
the Cartagena document on Methodology.