NAM or the Non-Aligned Movement, the largest forum in the world after the UNO with 120 members, came into existence, formally, in 1961 at Belgrade, former Yugoslavia, but the concept of such a movement actually started taking form during the cold war, when the world’s two major superpowers USA and the USSR were at war. The Second World War gave rise to a large number of Independent nations, and not only that, USA and the former USSR emerged as superpowers after the end of the Second World War. During the cold war, these two superpowers formed military alliances with small countries. In these circumstances, India decided not to commit to any of these two power blocs. Hence, Jawaharlal Nehru, the late prime minister of India, put forth his novel concept of non-alignment for the realisation of the common aspirations of the newly independent countries of Africa and Asia. In this venture he was supported by the President of Yugoslavia, Marshal Tito, President of Indonesia, Sukarno and President of Egypt, Nassar. In 1955, a conference was held at Bandung, Indonesia where NAM took its birth. The basic principles or concerns of NAM are to struggle against all forms of imperialism, to keep co-operation and close terms of friendship with all countries, disarmament and international security so on and so forth. Basically, the aim of NAM is to “shape a better world”, create an equitable world. Although, the basic thrust of the movement is in favour of peace, disarmament and security, NAM has stressed the need of equality and development, and to realize its dream of a better world, NAM has given importance and emphasis to development of its member countries, eradication of poverty and illiteracy. The steps NAM has taken to eradicate poverty and establish equality in this world are commendable. One of the major concerns of the movement has always been upgrading the standard of living of the people of the member countries.
In the 1994 Cartagena summit, the member nations of NAM clearly stated that from now on, the economic development of the countries will be given topmost priority and certain steps will be taken to resolve the financial crisis of these countries. In this regard, NAM stressed the strengthening of the “United Nation’s capacity and effectiveness in the field of development”. In the Cartegena summit, it has been stated that, although the general economic situation has recovered distinctly, in many cases, this development has benefited only a few who have accumulated unnecessary amounts of wealth and power, while unemployment, in various regions, has reached to an alarming magnitude and poverty is spreading inexorably, giving rise to grim social imbalances.
The curse of hunger continues to terrorize and has dramatically increased and illiteracy continues, however, to be one of the greatest obstacles to the efforts to improve the living conditions of our peoples. Moreover, wide sectors of our societies continue to lack basic medical services, including drinking water, to satisfy their primary needs for survival…. The Non-Aligned Movement continues to strive for peace, independence, sovereign equality of the States and non-intervention in their internal affairs, which some are now trying to disregard. At the same time will continue unflinchingly to work towards the economic and social betterment, the strengthening of democracy and the free determination of the peoples. This summit made it clear that from now on NAM will work to:
1. “to promote the restructuring, revitalization and democratization of the United Nations based on the principles contained in its Charter, as well as the restructuring of the international financial system, including the Bretton Woods institutions, all in basis of the principle of sovereign equality of States.”
2. “We consider essential the complete fulfilment of commitments agreed upon at the Children’s Summit at New York, the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development at Rio De Janeiro, the World Assembly of the Group of Education for All at Jon-Tien, the World Conference on Human Rights in Vienna, the International Conference on Population and Development at Cairo, the World Summit on Social Development at Copenhagen, and the IV World Conference on Women in Beijing, as well as those agreed on at the Uruguay Round.”
3. “We shall persevere in our call for a once-and-for-all settlement of the debt problems of the developing countries, including, in particular, multilateral, and the cancellation of debt of the least developing countries.”
4. “Pursue reduction of military expenditures with the aim of devoting such resources towards the economic and social development of our peoples.”
5. “We commit ourselves to eradicate illiteracy and poverty.” In addition, NAM has created three committees to resolve the issue of poverty and hunger, and to strengthen the economic condition of its member countries through co-operation, Standing Ministerial Committee for Economic Cooperation, High-Level Working Group for the Restructuring of the United Nations and Working Group on Human Rights.