NAM emerged as a body which rose to prominence as one of conscience keepers in international politics despite criticisms from high quarters as ‘immoral’ or unethical or opportunist. In the post-cold war setting importantly it redeemed itself from the old task of maintaining neutrality and aimed at developing friendly relations with all countries with focus on a range of issues.
The issues ranged from climate change, peaceful resolution of conflicts, democratization of international decision making process, giving voice to the poor countries at global high table. More so, its existence pointed to the imbalance and asymmetry in international power structure which needs to be addressed.
In the sphere of conflict resolution. NAM has strived for a greater role. To build harmony and concord in a war-worn society is an overwhelming task in itself which requires the restoration and renovation of institutions and socio-economic structures. The challenge of civilian crisis management and conflict resolution is nothing less than an all-inclusive re-structuring of institutions in a given country. A daunting task even when it is to be done by a legitimate and capable national government and more so when attempting to do so in a post-conflict context, through intervention from the outside, often without a functioning state, would appear an impossible challenge.
This has not been enough and finds various loop holes which NAM needs to cover up in order to efficiently manage space and the populace after a particular crisis hits the state. Four vital areas it needs to take care of so to be able to make its relevance more sustainable in the present times are.
First and foremost is the deficiency of integration at headquarters level, which customarily trickles down to the field. This turns the formulation of an overall strategy defective, and as a result makes it hard to successfully execute peace-building policies at country level. NAM’s dependence on synchronization as a means to guarantee calculated coherence is not efficient, and often produces a self-defeating tendency to devote too much time and resources to internal synchronization. What is needed instead is more integration between the UN’s peacekeeping, humanitarian, development and political sides at headquarters level is needed to get more coherent and effective peace-building policies at country level.
Second, the establishment of separate assessment criteria for countries in extraordinary state of affairs is another way forward. Lack of financial support for critical post-conflict rebuilding efforts, such as desegregation of ex-combatants, often countermines long-term peace-building strategies.
Donors’ leaning to finance specific programs directly undercuts the capability to launch a coherent peace-building policy, and it exacerbates territory battles between different NAM Member States. Trust fund mechanisms are one way of settling this deficiency, giving NAM the needed discretion to actually put into action the tasks that Member States identify as critical.
Third, the existence of an overabundance of scheduling and preparation of program and measurement tools, none of which are analytically interpreted and applied, and many of which are counter-productive in ascertaining collaboration from key NAM actors, let alone buy-in from local participants. Fewer and simpler tools for planning and measurements should be established.
Fourth, the deficiency of devotion to, and understanding of, the fundamental goals of building local capacity and ensuring local ownership. Securing possession and building competence seem to necessitate more delegation of authority to NAM presence in a country, enabling decisions to be made as close as possible to those in need.
Thus, integration implies operational centralization through a streamlining of mandates, budgets and decision-making authority. In addition, geographical decentralization could serve as means to sensitise NAM strategies and planning to local contexts and developments on the ground. In the character of operational centralization, an inter-governmental body should lend a hand in ensuring that NAM planning and funding support overall peace-building objectives. Similarly, a secretariat function in charge of formulating strategy and planning should be given the appropriate authority to guarantee cooperation from relevant departments, funds and programs.