The need for NAM back then during Cold War ushered in with factions dividing the world into two grabbing for power creating a vacuum between US led West and Soviet Union leading the East turning other nations as mere pawns to their own game of power and authority on the global chessboard. However, NAM came into existence bringing a balanced outlook and catering and protecting also while strengthening the developing countries. But in the present where the relevance of NAM has been questioned again and again Non-Aligned Movement has a very relevant and vital part to play with certain important issues facing the Southern countries on the globe.
Firstly is the worrying issue of global economy, with the Western economy entering into a depression the rest of the world is bound to experience a disastrous effect specially the Southern countries which are already experiencing decline in exports, GDP and an alarming weakening of their balance of payments.
This crisis if hits the developing countries would destabilize the progress that has been made till date, calling NAM for immediate action to counter the coming setback. Second in line is the issue of trade and trade agreements, with the WTO’s Doha Round at a serious gridlock. The developing countries need to insist that reforms are commenced especially by developed countries on their enormous agricultural subsidies which undermine farmers and agriculture processes of developing countries affecting the final outcome.
Many imbalances and unwanted rules of the developed countries threaten the developing countries, like the Economic Partnership Agreement negotiations of Africa and Pacific countries with the European Commission which is demanding zero tariffs for 80% of imports as well as other unreasonable demands such as a ban on export taxes, a deregulation of finance and investment, and to be given equal treatment as locals in the government procurement business.
Signing such EPAs would prevent or seriously limit these countries from industrial development, food production and affect government revenue and thus public services. To make things worse are the imbalanced investment agreements which are projected as bilateral while threatening the policy space of developing countries. These policies have allowed foreign companies to sue governments for millions claiming that economic, social and environmental policies of government affect their revenues, forcing developing countries to pay hundreds and millions. This has become a burning issue which requires the immediate attention of NAM.
Another matter that has been recently flagged as a subject of concern is of intellectual property and transfer of technology. The strict IPR regime preventing transfer of technology and instead raises costs and prices.
Also posing strict uneven rules for developing countries access to cheap medicines, in controlling seeds and agriculture and building their own industries. Developing countries are fighting for flexibilities or reform of the present IP regime, and have launched a development Agenda initiative in WIPO.
The South Centre can work with NAM members to strengthen this reform movement and to formulate national IPR policies that are pro-development. In addition to these is the need of developing countries to review their developmental policies in view of the global economic situation, relying less on exports from West and become self reliant with domestic and regional products.
While also promoting South-South trade policies and more. These developing countries also need to coordinate to implement the post-Rio plus 20 agenda with profound climate change negotiations which are not only going to affect the climate but also have deep implication on South’s economic policies.
The final problem or the biggest concern that NAM requires to look into is the South-South coordination and cooperation. This cooperation which has been long due is all the more needed in the current state of crisis. As North-South relations have become more chaotic and troubled, the South-South solidarity is a much needed action to be taken.
During the Cold War the non-aligned movement played an important role in world peace and in the present where NAM has been almost forgotten it needs to rise and again put the movement together amidst the increasing fight between US and China for global dominance, reinventing itself in a new form initiating a comeback for the movement and the countries aligned with it.