The need for a non aligned block 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 with the end of cold war the relevance of NAM has been questioned again and again. However, Non-Aligned Movement has a very relevant and vital part to play with certain important issues facing the Southern countries on the globe at present. While it is also important to realise that all its concerns of the past are not addressed completely and have reshaped itself in a different garb that ailing the contemporary times which need to addressed.
Poverty and underdevelopment still remain a major problem in this region. Despite the almost total elimination of colonialism, the essence of colonialism, such as control and hegemony of external forces, continues in different forms. Neo-colonialism has evolved into a major concern of weak societies in this part of the world.
Environmental degradation, climate change, disarmament, external debt, state and non-state terrorism, and violence emanating from ethnic and religious conflicts are some of the common issues facing the NAM states today. External actors, including sympathetic states, can hardly resolve these issues for the Third World. In addition, depending on external actors to resolve Third World problems goes against the very essence of independence that the NAM states were seeking relentlessly. These issues may be easily handled and resolved through internal mechanisms and collaboration among the states of the Third World. The NAM could and should continue to focus on these issues.
Along with them 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.
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. 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 privacy, 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.