TWN Info Service on WTO Issues (Mar03/1)
Dear friends and colleagues
The Non Aligned Movement (NAM) Summit was held in Kuala Lumpur on 24-25
February. It was chaired by the Malaysian Prime Minister and attended by the heads of state or government of many countries (including India, akistan, Sri Lanka, Indonesia, Thailand, Philippines, Singapore, South Africa, Nigeria, Zimbabwe, Cuba, Jamaica) and senior officials of other countries.
Below is a report of the closing of the conference. We will also send you two more reports of the Summit.
With best wishes
NON ALIGNED MOVEMENT SUMMIT CLOSES WITH CALL FOR A NEW GLOBAL HUMAN ORDER
By Martin Khor, Third World Network
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, 25 Feb 2003
The Non Aligned Movement Summit ended late tonight with the call for a new political, economic and human global order that is equitable, just and democratic.
The main message emerging from the Summit was the urgent need to reaffirm the central importance of multilateralism in face of the threat of rising unilateral actions in international affairs exemplified by the probability of a US-UK led war against Iraq.
The Summit's closing plenary adopted several documents: the "Final Document" of the 13th NAM Summit; the Kuala Lumpur Declaration on continuing the revitalization of the NAM; and separate statements on Iraq and Palestine. It also agreed to hold the next Summit in Cuba in 2006.
In the closing speech, the new NAM chairman, Malaysian Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad, said the Summit had been extremely useful for exchange of views, stock taking and formulating strategies for the future of the movement.
He said the unipolar world today is different from the multipolar world when our forefathers started the NAM. That NAM, which embodies our hopes and aspirations for economic prosperity in a peaceful, secure and just world, has become even more relevant today to protect and promote the interests of the South.
"It is clear the well being of the world will be better served by a strong multilateral system revolving around a UN that is more representative and democratic, than a unilateral system based on the dominance of one power, however benign that power may be," he said. "We are resolved to give strong and sustained support to the UN for its future is linked with that of the NAM and multilateralism."
Mahathir summarized three new challenges facing NAM: international terrorism and our part in the international effort to combat international terrorism; globalization and efforts
towards integration of developing countries into the new political, economic and human global order that is equitable, just and democratic; and information and communications technology that is changing the world and widening the North-South digital divide.
In the face of these challenges, it is in our interest to strengthen our unity and cohesion and speak with one voice on issues of vital importance. "While we do not need to be confrontational in our approach, there is also no need to be subservient or defensive in our relations with the developed countries."
Mahathir added the challenges require urgent responses, pragmatic strategies and coordinated actions. He referred to the just adopted Kuala Lumpur Declaration as a blueprint for collective action, with guiding principles and practical action plans to chart NAM's future course. With revitalization, NAM would be more pro-active and responsive to member states' concerns. As the new Chair, Malaysia will work closely with other members to enhance NAM's profile and clout in global affairs.
The reference in Mahathir's speech to globalization and the need for a "new political, economic and human global order" seemed to summarise a key part on globalization in the NAM Summit's Final Document. Para 224 states: "Noting that integration into the global economy in order to benefit from multilateral rules without destroying national comparative advantage is a critical challenge for developing countries, and recognizing that economic reforms are only a means to an end and that in the pursuit of development,
the human goals of security, freedom, justice and the opportunity for a fulfilling and empowering life for all humanity must not be neglected, the Heads of State or government emphasized the need for a New Global Human Order aimed at reversing the growing disparity between rich and poor, both among and within countries, through inter alia, the eradication of poverty and the promotion of sustainable development."
The NAM Summit's call for a New Global Human Order based on narrowing disparities is in direct contrast to the American-articulated paradigm of a New World Order first advanced by US President George Bush in the early 1990s and now further extended by President George W. Bush in increasingly unilateralist superpower policies including the justification for unilateral pre-emptive military strikes and withdrawal from multilateral
Agreements such as the Kyoto Protocol.
The "new global human order" also harks back to the developing countries' movement for a "new international economic order" in the 1970s and 1980s, which petered out in face of the backlash from developed countries, the debt crisis and commodity price declines, the Bretton Woods institutions' structural adjustment policy conditionalities, the Uruguay Round agreements and the current developments in the WTO.
Whether the NAM will be able to revive the movement for a equitable international order, and what practical plans and programmes it can devise, are some key issues. The task becomes even more onerous if the New Global Human Order seeks to cover both political and economic arenas.
At the closing session, Cuban President, Fidel Castro, said the new NAM Chairman is admired worldwide for Malaysia's development success and especially for his challenge to the IMF's orthodox economic policies during the financial crisis. The struggle for development requires solidarity and cooperation among NAM countries. With Cuba being given the honour to hold the next Summit, it would try to ensure that NAM will be effective again, as NAM is more necessary than ever.
For the Africa group, Namibia's President Sam Nujomo said NAM must coordinate its members' positions in the international arena especially in trade negotiations relating to the WTO's Doha programme. The Group urged NAM members, especially those in the UN Security Council, to follow up on NAM decisions relating to the political situation.
The Deputy Prime Minister of Kuwait Sheik Sabah Al-Ahmad (speaking for Asian group) and Guyana's Foreign Minister Samuel Insanally (speaking for Carribean and Latin America Group) also pledged support for implementing the Summit decisions.
At a media conference following the closing session, Dr Mahathir said that NAM's immediate priorities were solving the Palestinian problem and the threat of war to Iraq.
Asked whether it was true that NAM was a talkshop till now, the Prime Minister said the test of this could be if NAM was abolished. "Without NAM, we will be chewed up and swallowed one by one."
To a question whether it was too idealistic to think the mighty nations would be convinced on his call to abolish wars and nuclear weapons, Mahathir agreed his call looked idealistic as the big powers believe they should have the privilege of maintaining their weapons. "But if we keep quiet they won't feel guilty or uncomfortable when they keep or even use these weapons. Even conventional weapons are being developed to become weapons of mass destruction."
On the practical measures for NAM in the next three years, Mahathir said NAM countries should have a common stand in negotiations and conferences, especially relating to globalization and WTO meetings. "When we don't speak with one voice the other side will push through their ideas."
Mahathir was asked that since he opposed a unilateral attack on Iraq, did it mean he supported an attack that was UN sanctioned? He replied: "We are against war whether it's multilateral or unilateral. We are committed to the UN but we expect that no war is involved. We are not in favour of slaughtering people."