Climate Change and the Non Aligned Movement

The Non Aligned movement since its inception has continuously voiced its opinion and has been the most significant representation of the developing world.  Currently the Non Aligned Movement represents two third of the membership of the United Nations and approximately fifty five percent of the world’s population.  Its scope of actions has also extended to include the most pressing problems of its time. Climate Change is one of the most important global problems with unique characteristics. Climate change has significant international and interregional implications for equity and sustainable development.  Developing countries have a larger stake in devising way to mitigate and adapt to climate change as they are most vulnerable to its adverse impact. Among the developing countries, the less developed countries are especially vulnerable because a large share of their economies is in climate-sensitive sectors and their adaptive capacity is low due to limited human, financial, and natural resources, and institutional and technical capacity.  Therefore, it is imperative that the developing countries- the global south – assert their voices collectively against fighting the adverse effects of climate change. It is in this context that the Non Aligned Movement should play a more constructive role with regard to Climate change. In recent years, many prominent international figures have called for a greater role of the non aligned movement towards climate change policy.

On 25 May 2011 at the NAM 50th Anniversary meeting in Bali,  the United Nations Secretary General Ban-Ki-Moon  called on the Non Aligned Movement comprising of more than 100 countries to assist in “urgent global action” to combat the threat posed by climate change. The UN Secretary General urged the Non Aligned countries to come to a resolution on the future of the Kyoto protocol and on ways to engage the NAM member states in an emerging global framework. The UN Secretary General further called the NAM member countries to curb emissions and strengthen climate resilience. According to the UN Secretary General, it was in the best interests for developing countries if NAM worked in support of the United Nations efforts in the areas of energy access, energy efficiency and clean efficiency. On 27 September 2013, President of the UN General Assembly Dr. John Ashe said that against a backdrop of increasing impact of climate change, inequality between and among countries, and more than a billion people living in extreme poverty , the cooperation between NAM countries -founded on a virtue of solidarity- was imperative for improving the socio-economic development  for their citizens.

In the past few years, NAM leaders have included climate change one of the major policy agendas. In July 2011, the then chair of the Non Aligned Movement Maged Abdulaziz , while addressing a Security Council meeting on the impact of climate change said that NAM was fully aware of the severity and urgency of the issue of climate change and its adverse impacts, and acknowledges the challenges which developing countries are facing and the enormous pressure these impacts are putting on the developing countries’ national capacities and institutions. The Movement has stressed the importance of fulfilling the international commitments under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and the Kyoto Protocol.

At the 15th Ministerial Conference of the Non Aligned Movement held at Tehran in 2008, a document was adopted which recognized that climate change posed a serious challenge to the developing country an called for urgent global action in accordance with the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities. The movement reaffirmed that efforts to address climate change should promote the integration, coordination and balance of the economic, social and environmental components of sustainable development, as interdependent and mutually reinforcing pillars. At the 16th NAM Summit held at Tehran, NAM leaders recognized climate change as an increasingly important environmental issue for the developing world and was posing threat to sustainable development. India, as one of the founder members of  NAM has raised the issue of the adverse impact of climate change at many international forums. At the 16th NAM Summit, the Indian Prime Minister Mr. Manmohan Singh referred to the threat posed by the accumulation of greenhouse gases resulting from over two centuries of industrial activity and unsustainable lifestyles in the developed world. The Indian Prime Minister strongly said that any equitable solution to the problem of Climate change should acknowledge this historical responsibility.

The Non Aligned Movement should play a more constructive role with regard to climate change as members from the Non Aligned world are most vulnerable from threats emanating due to the phenomenon. The World Bank has made a list of the main five threats arising from the climate change: droughts, floods, storms, rising sea levels, and agricultural products deficit. Not surprisingly, members of NAM have topped the list of the 12 countries at the highest risk. This vulnerability also has been reported by the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, which predicted that billions of people, particularly those in developing countries, face water and food shortage and greater risks to health and life as a result of the climate change. NAM must pursue an effective policy to reduce the hazards of climate change within a multilateral framework, as environment policy is not an isolated object and cooperation between developing countries in this regards will result in positive spillover effects in achieving the other Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and providing the basis for livelihoods, health and security, particularly for the poor.

Moreover, it can be postulated that NAM will give the collective voice to the countries of the global south and will make them more assertive in negotiations. In the 2009 UN conference in Copenhagen, developed nations pledged to support poor countries in developing clean energy and curtail the negative impacts of the climate change. In this regard, they promised to grant an annual amount of 10 billion dollars and stated that this amount would rise up to $100 billion in 2020. Although the developing countries gave the developed countries the benefit of debts, the previous UN climate change conference in Doha proved that the rich countries have no intention to deliver their promises.The collective assertion can be used to push the developed countries to carry out more effective financial and technological assistance.

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