NAM focuses on social issues with women’s meet

Agence France Presse

Kuala Lumpur, May 5:

The 116-member Non-Aligned Movement (NAM), formed during the Cold War and facing increasing irrelevance in the modern world, is turning its focus to social issues with a first conference on women starting on Saturday.

Government ministers from 55 members states will attend the four-day meeting on “Empowering Women in Facing the Challenges of Globalisation”, Malaysia’s women’s minister Shahrizat Abdul Jalil told reporters today.

Malaysia is the current chairman of the movement, a grouping of mainly developing nations originally formed as an alternative to the Western and Eastern power blocs.

Malaysia’s ambassador-at-large for NAM, Hasmy Agam, said the meeting showed that it had shifted its attention from pure politics to social issues for the first time in its 44 year history.

“At a time when there is no more Cold War, NAM can now focus on a balanced approach by not looking merely at traditional issues such as politics and economics,” Hasmy told the official Bernama news agency.

The meeting will focus on economic development, education, health, information technology, decision-making, armed conflict and violence against women, Jalil said.

It aims to share experiences among NAM nations on best practices, achievements and challenges in empowering women and achieving gender equality, development and peace, she said. Officials from 75 countries will meet over the weekend in Putrajaya.