Global Trends by Martin Khor
Monday 20 July 2009
Last week, the Non-Aligned
Movement re-dedicated itself to promoting the interests of developing
countries in international affairs when many of its political leaders
gathered in the Egyptian town of
Among them were
President Mohammed Mubarak of
Also present were
the heads of state or government of
The presence of so many well-known and new leaders of the developing world was perhaps just as important, or even more, than the declarations and documents they adopted.
It showed that they still consider the NAM, which has 118 member states, to be important, even though the original rationale of the organization has to be re-interpreted in the changed circumstances of today’s world.
At last week’s summit,
several leaders stressed that the Cold War is over, but
The need to avoid
being victims or subjects of hegemony or domination by a superpower
or a group of developed-country powers seems to remain the
The most passionate
single cause at the summit was the support for the rights of Palestinians,
shown in many speeches that condemned
The Cuban President,
reviewing his country’s chairmanship of
The incoming Chairman, Egypt’s President Mubarak, said international peace is threatened by terrorism, the retreat of the non-proliferation treaty and the many armed conflicts and issues whose resolution is long overdue, foremost of which is the Palestinian question and peace in the Middle East.
A favourite theme, stressed by many, was how the UN Security Council has been used by a few big powers to selectively pick on and act against some countries, while these same powers also use unilateral military actions or economic sanctions action when these suit them.
The UN Security Council does not represent the vast majority of countries as it was under the authority of a few big powers, and it had threatened peace, he said, proposing that NAM set up its own council of peace and security which should deal with conflicts among the NAM’s member states, instead of allowing the UN Security Council to deal with them.
Some leaders also
condemned the injustice in the nuclear weapons issue, when major nuclear
powers like the
UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon also called for a nuclear weapons free world under the NPT.
President Fernandez Reyna of Dominican Republic, speaking for the Latin American countries, said the US$20 billion that the G8 leaders recently pledged to fight hunger in developing countries is negligible compared to the US$18 trillion provided to their banks, which is more than GNP of the African and Latin American countries combined.
“Injustice, insecurity and inequality does not have a better example than the greed of a few versus the unmet needs of the many,” he said. He also expressed skepticism that the poor countries would get the $20 billion pledged, because so far much of the aid promised had not been given.
Minister Najib, speaking for Asian countries at the closing plenary,
“While the challenges of old remain unresolved, we are now saddled with new challenges, such as threats to peace and security of our nations and regions, external interference in the affairs of our States, global financial and economic crisis, climate change, food security, energy security -- just to name a few -- all of which have generated adverse impact on our ability and focus on ensuring political stability, achieving economic development and accomplishing social progress” he said.
added that the documents adopted by the