The Non-Aligned Movement, or NAM is an international organization of over 100 states which consider themselves not formally aligned with or against any major power bloc. NAM focuses on national struggles for independence, the eradication of poverty, economic development and opposing colonialism, imperialism, and neo-colonialism. They represent 55% of the planet's people and nearly two-thirds of the UN's membership.
Important members include India, Egypt, and, for a time, the People's Republic of China. Brazil has never been a formal member of the movement, but the country shares many of the aims of NAM and frequently sends observers to NAM summits. While the organization was intended to be as close an alliance as NATO or the Warsaw Pact, it has little cohesion and many of its members were induced to or unable to resist aligning with one or another of the great powers. For example, Cuba was closely aligned with the former Soviet Union during the Cold War era.
The Non-Aligned Movement has struggled to find relevance since the end of the Cold War; in 2004, Malta and Cyprus stopped being members of NAM and joined the European Union.
The Origin of the Non-Aligned Movement
The term "Non-Alignment" itself was coined by Indian Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru during his speech in 1954 in Colombo, Sri-Lanka. In this speech, Nehru described the five pillars to be used as a guide for Sino-Indian relations. Called Panchsheel, these principles would later serve as the basis of the Non-Aligned Movement. The five principles were:
1. Respect for territorial integrity
2. Mutual non-aggression
3. Mutual non-interference in domestic affairs
4. Equality and mutual benefit
5. Peaceful co-existence
The origin of the Non-aligned movement can be traced to a conference hosted in Bandung, Indonesia in 1955. The world's "non-aligned" nations declared their desire not to become involved in the East-West ideological confrontation of the Cold War. Bandung marked a significant milestone for the development of NAM as a political movement.
However it was 6 years later in September of 1961, largely through the initiative of Josip Broz Tito, then-president of Yugoslavia, that the first official Non-Aligned Movement Summit was held at Belgrade. The summit saw representatives from 25 countries—eleven from both Asia and Africa along with Yugoslavia, Cuba, and Cyprus. Besides Tito and Nehru, the other prominent world leaders instrumental in getting NAM off the ground were Gamal Abdel Nasser of Egypt and General Sukarno of Indonesia. It is also important to note that small and less politically powerful countries such as Cuba and Cyprus played critical roles in the evolution of NAM.
NAM Summit meetings
NAM summits generally take place every three years. Countries that have hosted NAM summits include Yugoslavia, Egypt, Zambia, Algeria, Sri Lanka, Cuba, India, Zimbabwe, Indonesia, Colombia, South Africa, and Malaysia.
After the initial meeting in Yugoslavia in 1961, the next meeting was held in Cairo in 1964. It was attended by forty-six nations with most of the new members being newly independent African states. Much of the meeting involved discussions about the Arab-Israeli conflict and the Indo-Pakistani Wars.
The 1969 meeting in Lusaka was attended by fifty-four nations and was one of the most important with the movement forming a permanent organization to foster economic and political ties. Zambia's first president, Kenneth Kaunda, played a crucial role in these events.
The 1973 meeting in Algiers saw the movement deal with new economic realities. The 1973 world oil shock had made some of its members vastly richer than the others. The end of the attachment of the U.S. currency to gold, and the dollar's subsequent devaluation, also removed one of the group's largest complaints.
Recently Malaysia hosted the 13th Non-Aligned Movement from 20-25 February 2003.
NAM Summit Locations and Dates
- 1st Conference - Belgrade, September 1-6, 1961
- 2nd Conference - Cairo, October 5-10, 1964
- 3rd Conference - Lusaka, September 8-10, 1970
- 4th Conference - Algiers, September 5-9, 1973
- 5th Conference - Colombo, August 16-19, 1976
- 6th Conference - Havana, September 3-9, 1979
- 7th Conference - New Delhi, march 7-12, 1983
- 8th Conference - Harare, September 1-6, 1986
- 9th Conference - Belgrade, September 4-7, 1989
- 10th Conference - Jakarta, September 1-7, 1992
- 11th Conference - Cartagena de Indias, October 18-20, 1995
- 12th Conference - Durban, September 2-3, 1998
- 13th Conference - Kuala Lumpur, February 20-25, 2003