Non-Aligned Movement Action on Climate Change? by Ambassador mo

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Does the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) have a purpose, some 50 years after creation and with its founding fathers gone, (including Tito of Yugoslavia and the country he led), as well as the Cold War divide which it was meant to counter. When I first became Bosnia & Herzegovina’s Ambassador to the United Nations, the NAM continued to hold regular meetings to debate and perhaps coordinate votes in various UN organs and agencies, including the Security Council. However, discussion rarely translated into coordinated action and a solid voting block, even only a couple of years after the collapse of the Iron Curtain.

Over 100 Members and 3 Areas of Focus – Including Climate Change
Now, the NAM with more than 100 countries as members, the NAM continues as a force on paper at least, and is coming together on a few crucial issues. Could climate change be one area of unusual effectiveness? The UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon (UNSG) s urging the NAM to assist “urgent global action” to combat the threat posed by climate change.

The UNSG proposed climate change as one of three fields “in which joint action by the United Nations and the Non-Aligned Movement is essential.” The others were building a safer world, and fighting extreme poverty.

Implementing Cancun Agreements
The Secretary-General told ministers from the member countries of NAM that “governments must implement fully all the agreements made at Cancún, including on climate finance, protecting forests, adaptation, and technology.” In Cancún last December, at the 16th Conference of the Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), some 190 countries made commitments to formalize mitigation pledges and ensure increased accountability for them, as well as to take concrete action to tackle deforestation, which account for nearly one fifth of global carbon emissions.

Speaking through his Envoy to the recent NAM session held in Bali, Indonesia, the UNSG offered that “National efforts on the ground must be accelerated to curb emissions and strengthen climate resilience, As always, the UN stands ready to support these efforts, including in the vitally important area of energy access, energy efficiency, and clean energy.”

Eliminating Extreme Poverty
Turning to the challenge of eliminating extreme poverty, the Secretary-General said: “The budget crisis around the world should not be an excuse to abandon commitments. Now is the time to strengthen the global partnership for development.”

Preventive Diplomacy-Measures
The UNSG complimented NAM’s efforts to try to build a safer world through responding early to emerging crises. “Preventive action is more prudent and principled than waiting to respond to full-blown conflicts. It saves scarce resources and, more importantly, it saves lives. Conflict prevention is also intrinsically linked to our efforts to lift countries from poverty.”

The UNSG noting that the Bali conference marked the 50th anniversary of the NAM, said: “Fifty years ago, many countries were still living under colonialism. The military and ideological competition between the two superpowers threatened unprecedented destruction. Sweeping changes were taking place throughout the world. From its beginning, the Non-Aligned Movement understood that there is no alternative to multilateralism.”

Principles of Human Rights Grounded in Origins Rejecting Colonialism & Bi-Polar Cold World
He complimented NAM’s principles of “respect for human rights, equality of all races and all nations, peaceful settlement of disputes, and international cooperation,” and said “a commitment to these universal values led to some of the Movement’s most important achievements, including decolonization and concerted action to resolve many conflicts. While new challenges have emerged, the values at the heart of the Non-Aligned Movement remain relevant today.”

New Effort on UN Security Council Reform for NAM
General Assembly President Joseph Deiss, who attended the conference, called on NAM to contribute to advancing the reform process in the UN, according to a statement issued by a spokesperson for the Assembly President.
By Ambassador Muhamed Sacirbey

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About the author


"Voice of the Global Citizen"- Diplomatically Incorrect ( provide film and written reports on issues reflecting diplomatic discourse and the global citizen. Ambassador Muhamed Sacirbey (@MuhamedSacirbey) is former Foreign Minister Ambassador of Bosnia & Herzegovina at the United Nations. "Mo" is also signatory of the Rome Conference/Treaty establishing the International…

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