Alwaght- 18th summit of the leaders of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) kicked off on Friday in Azerbaijan capital Baku with the presence of 60 leaders, including Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani who has led a delegation to the meeting. During the meeting, the leaders discussed common concerns and issues at regional and international levels.
18th NAM summit
Upon the opening of the event, the agenda was announced and the President of the United Nations General Assembly Tijjani Muhammad Bande delivered a speech.
The NAM gatherings are of significance to the UN chiefs as the bloc’s member states account for two-thirds of the UN states. In the beginning, the UN secretary-general’s message was read out. The UN Under-Secretary-General for Political and Peacemaking Affairs Rosemary DiCarlo was among the top diplomats joining the summit. During a meeting with Azerbaijan’s President Ilham Aliyev, she emphasized the need for multilateralism.
Iran’s president also addressed the event saying that the bloc, with regard to its considerable voting power, can set a new pole of power in the future multipolar world. He continued that the instruments the US used to establish a unipolar world order practically delivered the reverse and turned against it.
“Boosting free trade in the world practically paved the way for growth of the emerging powers economically and technologically, to an extent that now we see the American economic and technological hegemony is seriously challenged,” he said, adding: “In such a complicated situation, the Non-Aligned Movement with over two-thirds of the United Nations members can represent the member states to lead ways to solve the current global problems in the framework of respect to law, adherence to the international commitments, moderation, and avoiding violence and extremism.”
Iran is a member of the NAM troika. The membership is for 9 years. During the meeting, the Group of 77 read its statement, representatives of regional organizations from Asia, Africa, South America, the Caribbean region, and Europe addressed the members. The Foreign Minister of Azerbaijan Elmar Mammadyarov delivered a report on the NMA activities and agenda.
The summit’s results
President Ilham Aliyev of Azerbaijan insisted that the country as a new member of the NAM prioritizes the “Bundong conference’s principles.”
“Bandung principles, which emphasize the respect for the countries’ sovereignty and territorial integrity, non-interference in other countries’ internal affairs, and mutual support for interests are convergent with Azerbaijan’s foreign policy’s principles. We have to intensify our efforts to promote respect for international norms and laws. Change of border by force and meddling in the internal affairs of other countries is unacceptable. We aim to increase the self-trust and role play of this organization,” he said.
As appears from the words of President Aliyev, Baku intends to focus its approach on bolstering relations with other international organizations and engaging in cultural and economic dialogue with the world during its presidency over the bloc. In the end, four documents were signed: Final Baku document, Baku political declaration, Palestine declaration, and the document for the appreciation to the people and government of Azerbaijan.
Where does NAM stand in global equations?
With 120 main members and 18 observer states, NAM is the world’s biggest inter-government organization. It is supportive of a strengthened UN role in global order management. It more than other international organizations supports UN structural reform and revocation of the veto right.
However, it looks far from its goals. India’s siding with the US policies, Indonesia’s inconsistency, Saudi Arabia’s leaning to the Group of 20, as well as the support of these countries to the American policies, have undermined the bloc’s role over the last decade. Figures show that backing to the US agenda by the member states at the UN has doubled, reaching 6 percent.
On the other side, emerging economies like China, Brazil, and Mexico, and Argentina are yet to be influential members as they are still observer states. Still, the organization holds its role as an influencer in pushing for UN resolutions. The divergent countries can hardly obstruct such resolutions at the UN General Assembly.
A majority of the NAM slogans and agenda after the Cold War have been general and unadoptable. Although it has big potentials to engage in talks for finances, investment, and trade, the member states so far have not gone beyond coordinating among the G77 members. They have not started efforts to structure a trade and exchange system. Over the past few years, and mainly at its 18th summit, the bloc talks about multilateralism.
While the organization was founded to be an independent entity from the two poles of East and West, Russian President Vladimir Putin in a letter to Azerbaijan summit said Moscow supports the NAM efforts to help establish multilateral and fair new global order.
For the bloc to influence the global equations, a set of prerequisites are needed.
1. Setting up an economic mechanism among the member states
2. Engaging in dialogue with such big economies as China and powerful global actors as Russia, both currently supporting a multilateral order.
3. Setting transparent, tangible, and practical instructions in the bloc’s multilateral committee along with the global policy changes to help the organization take the initiative in the international organizations and the world current affairs.