The Non-Aligned Movement came into existence during its first conference in Belgrade in 1961 representing the newly de-colonised developing countries. During its initial stage, its policies were linked to the decolonisation process characterised by the anti-imperial slogans, apartheid, racism and Zionism. The Non-Alignment of the third world countries somehow meant the rejection of control of superpower and solidarity among them to uphold their interests in social and economic aspects.
During its over 50 years of journey, NAM has lost control over internal division and changing objectives as it comprises of a loose and diverse political grouping of countries. The journey of NAM started with the decolonisation issue, watershed changes in early 1990s and the current agenda for a North-South dialogue on common interest. But it has survived many setbacks to remain an important voice in international relations. It has nevertheless redefined itself to play a more significant role in major debates, so it refocused its attention on the UN reform.
On the context of UN reform, India had also believed that NAM has a major role to play in the UN reforms. The country has believed that NAM has a role to play in ensuring that the reform of the UN is both balanced and equitable. During its 17th summit in Venezuela, the Caribbean, Latin America and other developing countries appealed for more say in the process of reforming UN. They also appealed to have more say in the process of selection of top officers of the world’s prestigious body. The member countries of the movement had also propelled the establishment of balanced relation between the main bodies of organisation. A call was also made to make the reforms in the Security Council also to make it a more democratic and transparent body.
NAM had also reiterated the significance of the structural reforms in UN in accordance with the UN charter. A couple of years back, the Iran’s ambassador to the UN, Hussein Dehqani in his speech on behalf of NAM in New York focussed on the importance of strengthening the fundamental principles of UN charter. He further stressed the role of the UN general assembly and also criticised the Security Council’s interference in the issues related to general assembly and ECOSOC. He further criticised some countries for pursuing unconstructive approach toward NAM proposal about issues pertaining to the UN charter.
The view of NAM for the purpose of UN reform is to make the UN development system more effective, in support to the developing countries to achieve international development goals. With this approach, NAM wants the reform efforts to be transparent, comprehensive and balanced. It should be undertaken to the inter-governmental and universal nature of the organisation with the view that every member be heard and respected.
In the Secretary-General’s 1997 seminal report on renewal of United Nations, it was stressed that any efforts regarding the UN reforms should focus on strengthening the role of organisation in promoting the development. It was considered as the most extensive and far reaching reforms in its history.
In regards to the UN reform, there were some of the key issues which were discussed in its Summit in 1998.
Relationship between principal organs of the United Nations
NAM aims at strengthening the role of general assembly with regard to the Security Council activity and the role of the General Assembly for policy making and representing UN in all matters which includes international security. NAM had expressed great hopes to the Security Council to look over the issues pertaining to breach the international peace and security. The member countries expressed grave concern over the matters involving crime against humanity, genocide and other brutal international atrocities.
Although this role doesn’t correspond with the reform proposal of high level panel which while conforming its role was less concerned to the matters concerned to the international peace and security.
Security Council reform
The reforms in the Security Council are a process held at regular intervals. In 1992, when Germany and Japan desired to become the permanent members of the Security Council, NAM vowed to revitalise the Security Council to play a significant role in the membership process. This led to the 1993 General Assembly resolution to give recognition to the changed international situation. In 2006 summit, NAM expressed concern about the lack of progress in the General Assembly on question of equitable representation in the Security Council.
Human Rights Council
In 2006, the United Nations Commission on Human Rights was replaced by the United Nation’s Human Rights Council. This change came in the wake of the high panel report findings. This concrete institutional change led the UN to raise the Human Rights protection to one of the three pillars on which the work of UN will be based.
This change had come with the view that the newly formed council will avoid the errors of the commission and secure the human rights of the nations.
The involvement of NAM in the council’s affair provides a good food for thought.