18th Non-Aligned Movement Summit begins

BAKU, AZERBAIJAN: The 18th Summit of Heads of State and Government of the Non-Aligned Movement began here today. The two-day summit kicked off with the official opening ceremony at the Baku Congress Centre at 10:00am local time.

Delegates, including heads of state and government as well as senior government officials from 120 member countries, and representatives of the 17 observer countries and 10 observer organisations, are taking part in the summit.

At the summit, Nepal is being led by Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli, who arrived here last night, leading a 21-member Nepali delegation. Prime Minister Oli is accompanied by his spouse Radhika Shakya.

The Nepali delegation includes Minister of Foreign Affairs Pradeep Kumar Gyawali, Chief Adviser to the Prime Minister Bishnu Rimal, Foreign Affairs Adviser to the Prime Minister Rajan Bhattarai, Foreign Secretary Shanker Das Bairagi, Permanent Representative of Nepal to the United Nations Amrit Rai and senior officials at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Preceding the 18th NAM Summit, the Preparatory Ministerial Meeting was held on October 23 and 24 and Senior Officials Meeting on October 21 and 22. The summit will consider the report of the Preparatory Ministerial Meeting, review the progress achieved on the implementation of the outcomes of the 17th summit held in 2016, and will conclude tomorrow with the adoption of the Baku Declaration.

Earlier, talking to National News Agency and Nepal Television on the eve of the summit here yesterday, Foreign Minister Gyawali said the ministerial meeting of NAM had analysed the present world situation, which reaffirmed the significance of NAM in the new world order.  “Majority of the developing countries still face the same problems related to development and meaningful representation in the world system as it was when NAM was formally established in 1961,” he said.

The two-day ministerial meeting preceding the summit has also drafted the Baku Declaration, which will be the major outcome document of the 18th NAM Summit. The essence of the Baku Declaration is that Bangdung Principles are still relevant today and that members of NAM should strengthen their collaboration and unify further to play a greater role in the world order.

It may be noted that the General Debate of the 18th NAM Summit is being held on the theme of “Upholding the Bandung Principles to Ensure concerted and Adequate Response to the Challenges of Contemporary world.”

Even though countries like China, India and Brazil have increased their contribution to the world economy, standing in the 2nd, 6th and 9th position respectively in terms of economy, their share in the global balance of power has not increased accordingly, Gyawali said while referring to some developing countries that had raised their economic profile in recent years.

The Sustainable Development Goals are epoch-making initiatives that we have taken up, but the developed countries have not taken up their share of responsibility accordingly. “Hence, the development aid structure needs to be changed to help the developing countries meet the SDGs,” he said.

NAM holds that the developing counties need to have an independent identity, independent existence and right to develop independently, with a just representation in the world system. As far as Nepal is concerned NAM is linked with our development, which is why our foreign policy is based on the principles of non-aligned movement. “It’s an opportunity for Nepal to reaffirm its commitment to NAM principles,” Minister Gyawali said.