NAM Extending Cooperation to UNASUR

The Union of South American Nations (UNASUR), which was founded by 12 South American states in December 2004, was an attempt to consolidate the countries in this region with a variety of political orientation. It was UNASUR that opened the way for the other integration initiatives in the South American region. Originally known as the South American Community of Nations (SACN), the organization was conceived with the objective of creating a collective constructing voice of the South American countries to further the interests of its member state, all of which belong to the ‘global south’. The Constitutive treaty of UNASUR clearly expresses the necessity of integration and unity in order to promote sustainable development and, in the most unequal region of the world, to fight against poverty and inequality. UNASUR represents the assertion of newly confident governments in the region, for the first time in a generation able to envisage economic and social development outside of external hegemony and looking for an alternative path that will allow them greater room for maneuver As such, the principles of UNASUR share much in common with those of the Non-Aligned Movement. This can be attributed to the fact that the members of UNASUR are mostly members of the Non- Aligned Movement as well as through both these forums, they actively seek to protect the interest of the global South against the unilateral policies of the developed world. NAM, as the largest collective grouping of countries of the global South has extended its full cooperation and support to UNASUR on issues that affect the member countries of the organization.
In a significant achievement for the UNASUR, the organization received the observer status in the UN General Assembly Resolution 66/109 after the committee of judicial affairs of the organization unanimously approved its request in 2011. The mission of Venezuela, an important NAM Member state affirmed that the members of UNASUR were working to overcome the social and economic inequality, achieve the social inclusion, in order to foster “the citizen’s participation and maintain the sovereignty and independence of the States. NAM leaders have expressed their pleasure at this development and both at the 2012 Tehran Summit and the 2014 Algiers Ministerial summits and assured UNASUR of complete cooperation. As mentioned earlier, the overall goals of NAM and UNASUR of establishing a peaceful order and protection of the interests of the global south converge to a large extent. Thus, it is no surprise that on many issues, NAM and UNASUR have offered a combined voice in multilateral forums. In the 67th General Assembly meeting of 19 October 2012pertaining to the reduction in the use of nuclear weapons, NAM and UNASUR were in complete unison to such an extent that their statements were associated. Jose Eduardo Proano (Ecuador), associating with the statements of Union of South American Nations (UNASUR) and the Non-Aligned Movement, condemned weapons of mass destruction and considered their use a crime against nature and humankind. Porano stated that Ecuador – in its capacity as both a NAM as well as UNASUR member state – was in strict compliance with the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) and its international commitments, and was disappointed that it had not seen reciprocity regarding disarmament from the nuclear-weapon States.
One of the principle ideological dispositions of the Non Aligned Movement is non-interference in the internal matters of the sovereign states and supporting the constitutionally established democratic institutions of a country. Thus, when UNASUR recognized the presidency of Nicolas Maduro in Venezuela in 2013, NAM leaders fully backed UNASUR. In its statement after the election, UNASUR issued a statement that urged all sectors involved in the electoral process to respect the official results of the presidential elections. Within hours of the UNASUR meeting, the 120 nations of the NAM endorsed a separate statement of support for Maduro. Issued by the president of the NAM Coordinating Bureau Mohammad Khazaee, the document called for stability and a cessation of violence.
“Venezuela, under presidency, continues to contribute to the consolidation of the unity of the NAM and the joint fight in defense of the principles of the movement,” the NAM document stated. In March 2015, NAM extended complete support to UNASUR, when the latter condemned unilateral sanctions imposed on Venezuela. The Non-Aligned Movement, a group of 120 nations, then presided over by Iran, condemned the sanctions as a further attempt “to undermine Venezuela’s sovereignty, its political independence and its right to self-determination.”
In the pursuit of its objective of creating a peaceful and just world order, where the interests of the global south are equally protected, NAM has extending its cooperation to smaller but significant groupings of NAM member states. The movement’s support to UNASUR is part of this objective and as such, the movement acknowledges the role UNASUR is playing towards the cultural, social, political, and economic integration of the South American region. NAM and UNASUR cooperation could not only imply political alignment and a greater economic autonomy of South American countries, but also developing a framework capable of channeling the yearnings of social movement in the Global South.

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