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No. 53, 16 June 2014

SOUTHNEWS is a service of the South Centre to provide information and news on topical issues from a South perspective.
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Algiers Ministerial conference of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) reviews existing, new and emerging challenges to the developing world

Ministers and Senior Officials of the members of the Non-Aligned Movement at the NAM Ministerial Conference in Algiers in May 2014.
A Ministerial Conference of the Non Aligned Movement was successfully held in Algiers on 26-29 May.   Below is a report of the conference by Adriano Jose Timossi of the South Centre, who was a participant at the meeting.
The XVII Ministerial Conference of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) was held in the Palace of Nations, Algiers (Algeria) from 26 to 29 May 2014, under the theme of: "Enhanced Solidarity for Peace and Prosperity". A ministerial segment was held from 28 to 29 May with the participation of over 80 Ministers and Deputy Ministers representing nearly 120 countries, two thirds of the UN membership.

The mid-term NAM ministerial meeting served to review the progress and implementation of the Tehran Plan of Action adopted at the XVI NAM Summit of Heads of State and Governments held in 2012 in Tehran, the Islamic Republic of Iran, and to prepare for the upcoming NAM Summit to be held in the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela in September 2015. The ministerial conference in Algiers also addressed existing, new and emerging issues of concern and interest of the group. The Post-2015 Development Agenda was also discussed, with African Union’s common position at the core of the discussions.
The Ministerial Conference was opened by Algerian Prime Minister Abdelmalek Sellal in a statement delivered on behalf of President of the Republic Abdelaziz Bouteflika which urged the non-aligned countries to join efforts for the strengthening of the role of the United Nations General Assembly and the reform of the Security Council. President Evo Morales of Bolivia, current chair of the G77 attended the opening session and urged the countries present to attend the G-77 summit, scheduled for June 14 and 15 in Santa Cruz de la Sierra which will celebrate the Group’s 50th anniversary. The Minister of Foreign Affairs of Algeria, H.E. Ramtane Lamamra, chair of the 17th NAM Ministerial Conference said that "in the globalization era and a world that is more and more complex, NAM’s call for a new international order remains a requirement”.
The current chair of NAM, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Islamic Republic of Iran, Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said that the success of the NAM “hinges on unity, solidarity and cohesion of member states of the Non-Aligned Movement and a sober realization of the challenges and the opportunities that bind them together”. He said that the international community has been undergoing profound and rapid changes in the past two decades; and unprecedented opportunities and challenges have presented themselves. “While members of the Movement like the rest of the world have different views and perspectives and at times divergent interests on some issues, what brings us together is far greater than those differences”.
H.E. Ramtane Lamamra organized a special breakfast session where African Union Commission Chairperson H.E. Ms. Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma and Carlos Lopes, Executive Secretary, UN Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) led a discussion on the Post 2015 development agenda.
The day after the NAM Ministerial Meeting, the first meeting of the NAM-G77 Joint Coordination Committee at the Ministerial Level was held at the Palace of Nations in Algiers on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the creation of G77. Minister Lamamra said on opening the meeting that the forthcoming end of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) era and the ongoing drafting of the Post-2015 Development Agenda is a double reason for the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) and the Group of 77 to coordinate efforts.
Minister Lamamra stressed the importance of joint efforts between the NAM and the G-77 “to make these two organizations to influence the decision making and be able to reshape the configuration of the future economy for the welfare and development of our peoples." He also said that “The African common position will be at the heart of the positions of NAM and G-77 in next September’s meeting”. In his capacity as chair of the G77, H.E. Mr. Sacha Llorenti, Ambassador, Permanent Representative of the Plurinational State of Bolivia to the United Nations in New York, was critical of developed countries’ role in the achievement of the millennium development goals.  . "The developed countries often tried to hinder the achievement of the millennium goals for development, as they did not respect all of their commitments in terms of development aid." Ambassador Llorenti stated that "colonization still exists, but under other forms and through international economic and financial bodies, including the International Monetary Fund."
A joint communiqué was adopted acknowledging the importance of vision, principles and objectives of the rationale for creation of the G77 and NAM that are indispensable today, and indeed, “more valid, than at that time”, in a world of continued deterioration of the world political, social, economic, financial, environmental situation which is increasingly affecting the countries of the South. The statement called on the 133 heads of state and government of the G77 to attend the upcoming G77 Summit, to be held in Santa Cruz, Bolivia, on 14-15 June.     It also endorsed Algeria's initiative to convene a ministerial meeting of the NAM-G77 Joint Coordination Committee in New York in September 2015, on the occasion of the 60th anniversary of Bandung Declaration and 70th anniversary of the creation of the United Nations and to shape an enhanced coordination on economic and environmental issues, including climate change, on the agenda of the UN system.
The week of meetings in Algiers ended with the High Level Panel of Eminent Personalities of the South with the view of updating the Platform for the Development of the South, as well as to reiterate the commitments of the group to the promotion of South-South Cooperation. The meeting was a follow-up to the Panel meeting held in Fiji, in May 2013. Eminent personalities taking part in the event included former South African President Thabo Mbeki, Mr. Lakhdar Brahimi, well known Algeria diplomat, former Minister of Foreign Affairs,  and who had attended the Belgrade Summit in 1961 which created the NAM; the AU Commission Chairperson, H.E. Ms. Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, South African Minister of International Relations and Cooperation, H.E. Ms. Maite Emily Nkoana-Mashabane and Minister of Foreign Affairs of Namibia, H.E. Netumbo Nandi-Ndaitwah among others. The chairs of the G77 chapters were also present in the meeting.  Dr. Manuel Montes, Senior Advisor on Financing for Development at the South Centre, introduced the two background papers prepared by the South Centre to the Panel of Eminent Personalities on the issues of Climate Change and Sustainable Development and the Post-2015 Development Agenda.
In a  speech, former President Mbeki recalled that the G77+China was established to ‘provide the means for the countries of the South to articulate and promote their collective economic interests and enhance their joint negotiating capacity on all major international economic issues within the United Nations system, and promote South-South cooperation for development.’
Talking on the global financial and economic crises, President Mbeki referred to the South Centre papers “The Staggering Rise of the South?” and “Waving or Drowning: Developing Countries after the Financial Crisis” which has argued that in the aftermath of the 2008 financial and economic crisis the favourable conditions which facilitated the rapid growth of the South will no longer exist.
Below is an extract of former South African President Mr. Mbeki speech:
More recently, the South Centre has argued that in the aftermath of the 2008 financial and economic crisis the favourable conditions which facilitated the rapid growth of the South will no longer exist.
Accordingly, to adjust to this, in a 2012 article entitled “The Staggering Rise of the South?”, Yılmaz Akyüz of the South Centre has suggested that:
“Emerging economies such as BRICS and others need to reconsider their development strategies in order to gain considerable autonomy in growth and become major players in the global economy…First, starting with China, the East Asian surplus economies need to reduce their dependence on markets in Advanced Economies by promoting national and regional markets. They need to expand domestic consumption rapidly and this calls for a significant increase in the share of household income in GDP” and,
“Deficit Developing and Emerging Economies need to reduce their dependence on foreign capital. Most of them also need to increase investment significantly. The majority of these countries are commodity exporters and the two key determinants of their economic performance, capital flows and commodity prices, are largely beyond their control. Reducing vulnerability on both fronts crucially depends on their progress in industrialisation.”
More generally, the South Centre has proposed that:
“Dependence on foreign markets and capital should be reduced. There is also a need to redefine the role of the state and markets, not only in finance but also in all key areas affecting industrialization and development, keeping in mind that there is no Industrialisation without active policy.”
(Waving or Drowning: Developing Countries after the Financial Crisis: Yılmaz Akyüz, Paper 48, June 2013).
The preceding remarks and recommendations, which relate to strengthening South-South Cooperation, about diverse matters such as trade, foreign capital, industrialisation, mobilisation of domestic investment resources, domestic and regional markets, and income distribution make a critically important statement.
That statement is that if we are indeed serious about South-South Cooperation, as we are, we must be ready to fashion our domestic policies in a manner that promotes this Cooperation.
Naturally this poses the question whether we have the effective institutions accepted by all of us, members of the G77+China, which have the authority and capacity to help drive these and other policy initiatives!
Full speech available at:
Below is an excerpt of South Centre Statement (complete version) delivered by Dr. Manuel Montes, Special Advisor on Financing to Development on behalf of the Executive Director, Mr. Martin Khor at the to the XVII Ministerial Conference of the Non-Aligned Movement, Algiers 30 May 2014.
“The world economy is facing bleak prospects largely because the systemic shortcomings in the global economic and financial architecture that gave rise to the most serious post-war crisis remain unresolved. This scenario poses serious risks to peace and security globally. The Non-aligned Movement has a vital role to play in ensuring that the actions and commitments undertaken to respond to the crisis, which must include a fundamental transformation of the international economic system, are realized in a timely manner. Particular attention must be paid to disciplining policy measures by the developed world, which are greatly harming the South. The unity of the Movement and a constant generation of mutual political support with its sister organization, the Group of 77, is crucial. Developing countries, both through the NAM and the G77 as well as through their respective regional institutions and groupings, are now deeply engaged on a daily basis in critical international governance and negotiations processes in a variety of issues, including the economic and financial crisis, the multilateral trading system, sustainable development and post-2015 agendas, global health, and climate change, all of which will involve crucial decisions either by the end of this year and during the coming year.
With the global economy mired in the deepest economic crisis since the 1930s and in light of the harmful, self-interested, policies of the North, cooperation among developing countries at all levels and in all spaces of international and domestic relations is critical for meeting the challenges of the times.
For far too long, the many have had their fortunes determined by the few who benefited from the days of empire and colonization. The situation of ongoing crises is an opportunity to intensify efforts to restructure the rules and arrangements of the global economic towards the interests of developing countries. These are crises that, in large part, are due to the policies and actions of those that would seek to continue to dominate the world. In the midst of the multiple crises that buffet our global community lie the seeds for the rearrangement of international affairs into more equitable forms.
Thoroughgoing changes in global economic policy and architecture will be necessary to reflect the interests of developing countries, removing unfair and unbalanced processes in existing institutions, strengthening others to make them more development-oriented and introducing mechanisms and regulations that are required to sustain development efforts.
Eliminating monopoly and hegemonic control over global resources and markets will require domestic initiatives and coordinated actions among disadvantaged nations at the international level.  Through legal manoeuvring and the exercise of domineering economic power, the developed world blocks the ability of nations to apply their own resources toward their own development and obstruct poor nations’ access to knowledge and technologies needed to upgrade the capabilities of their peoples.  Developing countries must turn back this unfavourable tide through a fundamental reshaping of free trade agreements and multilateral obligations. 
Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,
The South Centre was born as a result of a conscious understanding by our Member States that developing countries need to have their own independent multilateral intergovernmental think tank.
The South Centre is, like the NAM and its sister the Group of 77, a genuine multilateral institution of the South, for the South, and by the South. It is therefore my honour to invite those Member States of the NAM that are not yet Member States of the South Centre to consider joining the Centre by acceding to our Intergovernmental Agreement.
The South Centre will continue working tirelessly to assist developing countries on major policy issues and generate ideas and action-oriented proposals for consideration by their governments and formal and informal groups such as the Group of 77 and the Non-Aligned Movement.
These transformations will no doubt be resisted by those who currently benefit from the present policies and architecture. Hence, the most important prerequisite for us as developing countries to be able to effect real changes in the rules and relations that govern us is for us to work collectively – to enlarge South-South cooperation at all levels, on all issues, and in all forums, into practice. In this regard, the NAM will find the South Centre to be a reliable partner.
NOTE:  The Outcome Documents of the XVII Ministerial Conference of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) will be available at
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For more information, please contact Vicente Paolo Yu of the South Centre: Email, or telephone +41 22 791 80 50.
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