NAM‘s Role in transforming the nature of North-South Relations

In the post-colonial era, the field of development cooperation has undergone deep changes. On the one hand, South– South cooperation has grown substantially as NAM member states like India, boosted by economic growth and stability, have expand their partnerships abroad in pursuit of new opportunities and influence. At the same time, the relations of the developing countries of the global South with the developed and industrialized countries of the West, referred to as the Global North, have also underwent a positive transformational changes, from being the peripheries in the colonial times to that of an equal partner. This can be primarily attributed to the efforts of the Non-Aligned Movement that has made the global south a major political force since the second half of the 20th century.
The countries of the South differ enormously with regard to their size, their cultural traditions, their climates and resources, as well as their political constitutions. What many of them had in common, however, was the struggle for independence from the former imperial powers. The Bandung-Conference in Indonesia in 1955, where the heads of 29 states from Asia and Africa came together, marked the beginning of the rise of the South in international affairs. It was the first time, that several important leaders of the South (such as Nehru, Nasser, and Sukarno) manifested their will to play an independent role in world politics.
The relationship between the Northern countries, especially the dominant East–West conflict, undoubtedly had an enormous impact on the relationships within the South: whereas some developing countries decided to cooperate with the Soviet Union in order to challenge the powerful states in the North, a majority of developing countries chose to be independent from the Western as well as from the Eastern bloc. In 1961, the first conference of the nonaligned states was held in Belgrade and within a few years, the Non-Aligned Movement became a strong force within the United Nations General Assembly. Following the demands of the South for the establishment of a new institution concerned with the regulation of North–South exchange, the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) was founded in 1964. UNCTAD I marked the beginning of a continuous cooperation of developing countries with the formation of the so-called Group of 77 (G77).
In present times, there are still a lot of North-South development cooperation projects with signs that northern partners are overtly willing to transform unequal North-South engagement partnerships into what is now often referred to as ‘true partnerships’. The convergence of South and North countries in Afghanistan speaks to the fact that the world has become increasingly interdependent on North-South co-operation considering that international security and development imperatives are inextricably intertwined. More than fifty countries, along with many international and regional organizations, have been partnering with the Afghan government to secure and develop Afghanistan.
These countries and organizations represent both the Global South (developing & least developed countries) and the Global North (developed countries), in an unprecedented environment of international partnership to support the stabilization and reconstruction of Afghanistan. India and the United States stand out as two good examples. As a developing country itself, India has significant expertise and experience in poverty reduction and development with relevant application in Afghanistan. Similarly, India’s approach to aid implementation is demand-driven, based on the specific needs of the Afghan government, in line with its development priorities. However, India lacks the kind of aid resources the U.S. as a developed country has at its disposal, while the U.S. lacks India’s relevant development expertise and experience in the Afghan context.
It is primarily due to the efforts of NAM that global South has a greater say in the international affairs today, and is on equal footing with the North due to the collective cooperation. The Movement has ensured that the views of developing countries are fully taken into account before decisions on relevant issues affecting them and the international community is made by developed countries, which could be achieved through, inter alia, institutionalizing established contacts between the leaders at the highest level of developing and developed countries. NAM has highlighted the importance of North South Cooperation being aligned with national development priorities of recipient countries as well as the importance of increasing the efficiency of economic and technical cooperation, and development assistance.

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