The Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) was conceived and developed amid the fall of the colonial system and the liberation struggles of peoples in Africa, Asia, Latin America, and other parts of the world, as well as during the Cold War's height. During the Movement's early years, its activities played a key role in the decolonization process, which eventually resulted in the attainment of freedom and independence by several countries, as well as the establishment of tens of new sovereign states. The Movement of Non-Aligned Countries has played a critical role in preserving world peace and security throughout its history.
The Conference was held in Bandung in 1955 and gathered 29 Heads of states belonging to the first post-colonial generation of leaders from the two continents with the aim of identifying and assessing world issues at the time and pursuing out joint policies in international relations.
The ten principles of Bandung
Respect of fundamental human rights and of the objectives and principles of the Charter of the United Nations.
Respect for the sovereignty and territorial integrity of all nations.
Recognition of the equality among all races and of the equality among all nations, both large and small.
Non-intervention or non-interference into the internal affairs of another -country.
Respect of the right of every nation to defend itself, either individually or collectively, in conformity with the Charter of the United Nations.
A. Non-use of collective defence pacts to benefit the specific interests of any of the great powers.
B. Non-use of pressures by any country against other countries.
Refraining from carrying out or threatening to carry out aggression, or from using force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any country.
A peaceful solution to all international conflicts in conformity with the Charter of the United Nations.
Promotion of mutual interests and of cooperation.
Respect of justice and of international obligations.
The "Ten Principles of Bandung," which would regulate interactions between large and small nations, were proclaimed during the Conference. These concepts were later embraced as the core goals and objectives of the non-alignment policy.
Following the defeat of fascism in World War II, the formation of two military blocs (NATO and the Warsaw Pact), the collapse of colonial empires, the emergence of a bipolar world, and the formation of two military blocs (NATO and the Warsaw Pact), a new international context arose, necessitating the establishment of multilateral coordination fora between the countries of the South. The Global South came together to fight dominance, colonialism, and poverty. In a world where two ideologically opposed groups were brutally competing and threatening to spark another horrific global war, a certain political balance was required. The Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) was founded by a group of Third World countries that did not wish to overtly align with or against any major power bloc but instead desired to maintain their military and political independence.
In this context, the developing countries, the majority of which are in Asia and Africa, felt compelled to join powers and take sides in the defence of their interests. These countries were lured by superpowers who promised them security in the savage world affair. This was not the most desired way out because these countries who just attained Independence didn’t wish to trade it. The major aim was to strengthen sovereignty, and the cultural and economic revival or salvation of their people, as well as to express a strong commitment to peace by declaring themselves "non-aligned" with either of the two nascent military blocs.
While one of the Movement's founding ideologies, anti-colonialism, appears to have lost favour and undergone a transformation, other socio-economic struggles continue, and new challenges, such as widespread poverty, ecological crises, excessive foreign debt, terrorism, and religious and ethnic clashes, have emerged as major current issues. More international attention and a proper institutionalised structure for advocacy and resolution are needed for these pertinent challenges.
Despite the fact that colonialism in its original sense has almost vanished from the international political scene, many manifestations of neo-colonialism, such as economic control and foreign hegemony, continue to exert pressure on the developing countries of the South. The NAM must solidify its position as a forceful counterweight to unilateral military involvement and economic pressure, as well as a stronger voice for the Global South.
The NAM, according to critics, lacks clear regulations and a robust institutional framework. The organization's structural flaws prohibit it from becoming a relevant international player with a compelling agenda that reflects relevance and validity to the world community. When Koechler (2009) says, "the NAM has no charter," he is referring to the heart of the NAM's institutional problems. Unlike other international organisations, it does not have a statute. It is an informal structure of cooperation with no permanent secretariat, therefore there is no legal duty to follow any policies or allegiances, The establishment of a permanent secretariat could help the Movement gain more unity and be better able to respond to current global crises that, more than ever before, require partnership and coordinated institutional action. Some opponents think that the Movement's activities have been unfairly restricted to infrequent summits of non-aligned country heads of state or government who only give long speeches and issue pretentious, unimplemented resolutions.
The Movement was essential in assisting countries in the Third World that were fighting for independence at the time, and it demonstrated strong support for humanity's most just ideals. It made an undeniable contribution to the victory in the fight for national independence and decolonization, garnering significant diplomatic clout in the process.
Protecting the principles of international law, eliminating weapons of mass destruction, combating terrorism, defending human rights, working to make the United Nations more effective in meeting the needs of all its member states in order to preserve international peace, security, and stability, and achieving justice in the international economic system are among the current challenges facing the NAM.
In conclusion, the Non-Aligned Movement is called upon to maintain a prominent and leading role in current international relations in defence of its member states' interests and priorities, as well as for the achievement of peace and security for mankind, in light of the goals yet to be achieved and the many new challenges that are arising.
The Non-Aligned Movement may have begun as a political organisation in a bipolar world where the post-colonial, developing nations of the South's principal purpose was to maintain and strengthen their hard-won political independence. Today, however, it has evolved into a multifaceted organisation with a broad agenda that includes, among other things, political, socioeconomic, and environmental challenges, as well as global collaboration.