60th commemoration of the Bandung Conference and the revival of New Asian African Strategic Partnership

The Asian African cooperation entered a new chapter as during the Asia Africa Summit on 22-23 April 2005 in Jakarta as, on the 50th Anniversary of the original Bandung conference, leaders from Asian and African countries met in Jakarta and declared the New Asian-African Strategic Partnership (NAASP) as a blue print to bolster the Asian African cooperation in the future. As a venture to build a bridge between Asian and African, NAASP focussed its cooperation on the three broad pillars of partnership namely political solidarity, economic cooperation and socio-cultural. It was also agreed on that aforesaid Summit that Indonesia and South Africa will co-chair the partnership until 2009. It was not a mere coincidence that NAASP members were also the members of the NAM. The NASSP provided one of the prime examples of South-South Cooperation as advocated staunchly by the Non-Aligned Movement.

As an endeavour to implement the first pillar of the NAASP on political solidarity specifically on Palestinian issue, Indonesia and South Africa agreed to host the NAASP Ministerial Conference on Capacity Building for Palestine on 14th July 2008 in Jakarta, Indonesia. The aforementioned conference was co-chaired by H.E Dr. N Hassan Wirajuda, Minister for Foreign Affairs, Republic of Indonesia and H.E Zola Skewyiya, Minister for Social Development, Republic of South Africa. The Conference was officially opened by the President of Republic of Indonesia, H.E DR Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono. The conference was attended by 218 delegates from 53 Asian African countries, 3 countries from Latin America (Brazil, Venezuela and Chili) and 3 International organizations (IDB, UNSCWA and UNRWA). Out of 56 countries attended on the conference, 9 countries were represented by Minister, 15 countries by Deputy of Minister of Foreign Affairs and the rest were represented by the Senior Officials or Ambassadors.

However, in the next few years, NAASP seems to have lost much of its vigour and critics had already begun to question its relevance. However the 60th anniversary of the Bandung Summit has reinvigorated the organisation. At Jakarta on the 10th Anniversary of the New Asian-African Strategic Partnership, under the theme of “Strengthening South-South Cooperation to Promote World Peace and Prosperity’’ the leaders of Asia and Africa reaffirmed their commitment to expand, deepen and solidify the long­standing cooperation between the two regions. In a significant declaration at the Jakarta meet in 2015, it was agreed upon uphold the Spirit of Bandung, enshrined in the Asian-African Conference in 1955, as a beacon in guiding the future of Asian-African cooperation, while adhering to the core principles of solidarity, friendship and cooperation. Reiterating the principle and benefits of multilateralism, the Asian and African leaders further resolved to further strengthen and support the United Nations and other multilateral and regional forums so they work more effectively towards strengthening peace and prosperity in Asia and Africa as well as other regions. We call for continued efforts to reform the United Nations, including the revitalization of the General Assembly and a comprehensive reform of the Security Council, which corresponds to the collective interests of developing countries. The declaration also called for a reformed Security Council with al significantly increasing representation of Asia and Africa.

NAASP also stated its committed to redouble and launch multiple efforts that promote trade and investment growth, including through inter-regional and local cooperation, improving intra and extra-regional connectivity, creating conducive investment and business climate, building regional infrastructure and revitalizing sectors that concern present and future generations, including agriculture, food and water security as well as infrastructure cooperation and energy security.

While reaffirming that South-South Cooperation and its agenda have to be set by countries of the South, NAASP in a similar vein to the Non-Aligned Movement has called for the active involvement of development partners and other related stakeholders in various mechanisms within South-South Cooperation, and promotes initiatives based on the principles of mutual benefit, non-conditionality, equality, national ownership, respect for national sovereignty, as well as non-interference in domestic affairs.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.