Non-Aligned Movement

Non-Aligned Movement
Non-Aligned Movement
World map with the members and observers of the Non-aligned movement
Members (  ) and observer countries (  )
Coordinating Bureau New York City
Membership 120 members
17 observer countries[1]
 -  Principal Decision-making organ Conference of Heads of State or Government of Non-Aligned Countries[2]
 -  Chair[2]
 -  Secretary-General
Establishment 1961 in Belgrade as Conference of Heads of State or Government of Non-Aligned Countries

The Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) is a group of states considering themselves not aligned formally with or against any major power bloc. As of 2011, the movement had 120 members and 17 observer countries.[1] Generally speaking (as of 2011), the Non-Aligned Movement members can be described as all of those countries which belong to the Group of 77 (along with Belarus and Uzbekistan), but which are not observers in Non-Aligned Movement and are not Oceanian (with the exception of Papua New Guinea and Vanuatu).

The organization was founded in Belgrade in 1961, and was largely the brainchild of Yugoslavia's President, Josip Broz Tito, India's first Prime Minister, Jawaharlal Nehru, Egypt's second President, Gamal Abdel Nasser, Ghana's first president Kwame Nkrumah, and Indonesia's first President, Sukarno. All five leaders were prominent advocates of a middle course for states in the Developing World between the Western and Eastern blocs in the Cold War. The phrase itself was first used to represent the doctrine by Indian diplomat and statesman V.K. Krishna Menon in 1953, at the United Nations.[3]

The purpose of the organisation as stated in the Havana Declaration of 1979 is to ensure "the national independence, sovereignty, territorial integrity and security of non-aligned countries" in their "struggle against imperialism, colonialism, neo-colonialism, racism, and all forms of foreign aggression, occupation, domination, interference or hegemony as well as against great power and bloc politics."[4] They represent nearly two-thirds of the United Nations's members and 55% of the world population, particularly countries considered to be developing or part of the Third World.[5]

Members have, at various times, included: SFR Yugoslavia, Argentina, SWAPO, Cyprus, and Malta. Brazil has never been a formal member of the movement, but shares many of the aims of Non-Aligned Movement and frequently sends observers to the Non-Aligned Movement's summits. While many of the Non-Aligned Movement's members were actually quite closely aligned with one or another of the super powers, the movement still maintained surprising amounts of cohesion throughout the Cold War. Additionally, some members were involved in serious conflicts with other members (e.g., India and Pakistan, Iran and Iraq). The movement fractured from its own internal contradictions when the Soviet Union invaded Afghanistan in 1979. While the Soviet allies supported the invasion, other members of the movement (particularly predominantly Muslim states) condemned it.

Because the Non-Aligned Movement was formed as an attempt to thwart the Cold War,[6] it has struggled to find relevance since the Cold War ended. After the breakup of Yugoslavia, a founding member, its membership was suspended[7] in 1992 at the regular Ministerial Meeting of the Movement, held in New York during the regular yearly session of the General Assembly of the United Nations.[8][9] The successor states of the SFR Yugoslavia have expressed little interest in membership, though some have observer status. In 2004, Malta and Cyprus ceased to be members and joined the European Union. Belarus remains the sole member of the Movement in Europe. Turkmenistan, Belarus and the Dominican Republic are the most recent entrants. The applications of Bosnia and Herzegovina and Costa Rica were rejected in 1995 and 1998.[9]



The Non-Aligned movement was never established as a formal organization, but became the name to refer to the participants of the Conference of Heads of State or Government of Non-Aligned Countries first held in 1961. The term "non-alignment" itself was coined by V.K. Krishna Menon in 1953 remarks at the United Nations. Menon's friend, Jawaharlal Nehru used the phrase in a 1954 speech in Colombo, Sri Lanka. In his speech, Nehru described the five pillars to be used as a guide for Sino-Indian relations, which were first put forth by Chinese Premier Zhou Enlai. Called Panchsheel (five restraints), these principles would later serve as the basis of the Non-Aligned Movement. The five principles were:

  • Mutual respect for each other's territorial integrity and sovereignty
  • Mutual non-aggression
  • Mutual non-interference in domestic affairs
  • Equality and mutual benefit
  • Peaceful co-existence

A significant milestone in the development of the Non-Aligned Movement was the 1955 Bandung Conference, a conference of Asian and African states hosted by Indonesian president Sukarno, who gave a significant contribution to promote this movement. The attending nations declared their desire not to become involved in the Cold War and adopted a "declaration on promotion of world peace and cooperation", which included Nehru's five principles. Six years after Bandung, an initiative of Yugoslav president Josip Broz Tito led to the first Conference of Heads of State or Government of Non-Aligned Countries, which was held in September 1961 in Belgrade.[10] The term non aligned movement appears first in the fifth conference in 1976, where participating countries are denoted as members of the movement.[11]

At the Lusaka Conference in September 1970, the member nations added as aims of the movement the peaceful resolution of disputes and the abstention from the big power military alliances and pacts. Another added aim was opposition to stationing of military bases in foreign countries.[6]

The founding fathers of the Non-aligned movement were: Sukarno of Indonesia, Jawaharlal Nehru of India, Josip Broz Tito of Yugoslavia, Gamal Abdul Nasser of Egypt and Kwame Nkrumah of Ghana. Their actions were known as 'The Initiative of Five'.

Organizational structure and membership

The movement stems from a desire not to be aligned within a geopolitical/military structure and therefore itself does not have a very strict organizational structure.[2] Some organizational basics were defined at the 1996 Cartagena Document on Methodology[12] The Summit Conference of Heads of State or Government of Non-Aligned States is "the highest decision making authority". The chairmanship rotates between countries and changes at every summit of heads of state or government to the country organizing the summit.[12]

Requirements for membership of the Non-Aligned Movement coincide with the key beliefs of the United Nations. The current requirements are that the candidate country has displayed practices in accordance with the ten "Bandung principles":[12]

  • Respect for fundamental human rights and for the purposes and principles of the Charter of the United Nations.
  • Respect for the sovereignty and territorial integrity of all nations.
  • Recognition of the movements for national independence.
  • Recognition of the equality of all races and of the equality of all nations, large and small.
  • Abstention from intervention or interference in the internal affairs of another country.
  • Respect for the right of each nation to defend itself singly or collectively, in conformity with the Charter of the United Nations.
  • Refraining from acts or threats of aggression or the use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any country.
  • Settlement of all international disputes by peaceful means, in conformity with the Charter of the United Nations.
  • Promotion of mutual interests and co-operation.
  • Respect for justice and international obligations.

Policies and ideology

The South Africa Conference NAM Logo

Secretaries General of the NAM had included such diverse figures as Suharto, an authoritarian anti-communist, and Nelson Mandela, a democratic socialist and famous anti-apartheid activist. Consisting of many governments with vastly different ideologies, the Non-Aligned Movement is unified by its commitment to world peace and security. At the seventh summit held in New Delhi in March 1983, the movement described itself as "history's biggest peace movement".[13] The movement places equal emphasis on disarmament. NAM's commitment to peace pre-dates its formal institutionalisation in 1961. The Brioni meeting between heads of governments of India, Egypt and Yugoslavia in 1956 recognized that there exists a vital link between struggle for peace and endeavours for disarmament.[13]

The Non-Aligned Movement espouses policies and practices of cooperation, especially those that are multilateral and provide mutual benefit to all those involved. Many of the members of the Non-Aligned Movement are also members of the United Nations and both organisations have a stated policy of peaceful cooperation, yet successes that the NAM has had in multilateral agreements tends to be ignored by the larger, western and developed nation dominated UN.[14] African concerns about apartheid were linked with Arab-Asian concerns about Palestine[14] and success of multilateral cooperation in these areas has been a stamp of moderate success. The Non-Aligned Movement has played a major role in various ideological conflicts throughout its existence, including extreme opposition to apartheid regimes and support of liberation movements in various locations including Zimbabwe and South Africa. The support of these sorts of movements stems from a belief that every state has the right to base policies and practices with national interests in mind and not as a result of relations to a particular power bloc.[5] The Non-Aligned Movement has become a voice of support for issues facing developing nations and is still contains ideals that are legitimate within this context.

Role after the Cold War

Since the end of the Cold War and the formal end of colonialism[clarification needed], the Non-Aligned Movement has been forced to redefine itself and reinvent its purpose in the current world system. A major question has been whether many of its foundational ideologies, principally national independence, territorial integrity, and the struggle against colonialism and imperialism, can be applied to contemporary issues. The movement has emphasised its principles of multilateralism, equality, and mutual non-aggression in attempting to become a stronger voice for the global South, and an instrument that can be utilised to promote the needs of member nations at the international level and strengthen their political leverage when negotiating with developed nations. In its efforts to advance Southern interests, the movement has stressed the importance of cooperation and unity amongst member states,[15] but as in the past, cohesion remains a problem since the size of the organisation and the divergence of agendas and allegiances present the ongoing potential for fragmentation. While agreement on basic principles has been smooth, taking definitive action vis-à-vis particular international issues has been rare, with the movement preferring to assert its criticism or support rather than pass hard-line resolutions.[16] The movement continues to see a role for itself, as in its view, the world’s poorest nations remain exploited and marginalised, no longer by opposing superpowers, but rather in a uni-polar world,[17] and it is Western hegemony and neo-colonialism that the movement has really re-aligned itself against. It opposes foreign occupation, interference in internal affairs, and aggressive unilateral measures, but it has also shifted to focus on the socio-economic challenges facing member states, especially the inequalities manifested by globalisation and the implications of neo-liberal policies. The Non-Aligned Movement has identified economic underdevelopment, poverty, and social injustices as growing threats to peace and security.[18]

Current activities and positions

Criticism of US policy

In recent years the organization has criticized US foreign policy. The US invasion of Iraq and the War on Terrorism, its attempts to stifle Iran and North Korea's nuclear plans, and its other actions have been denounced as human rights violations and attempts to run roughshod over the sovereignty of smaller nations.[19] The movement’s leaders have also criticized the American control over the United Nations and other international structures.

Self-determination of Puerto Rico

Since 1961, the group have supported the discussion of the case of Puerto Rico's self-determination before the United Nations. A resolution on the matter will be proposed on the XV Summit by the Hostosian National Independence Movement.[20]

Self-determination of Western Sahara

Since 1973, the group have supported the discussion of the case of Western Sahara's self-determination before the United Nations.[21] The Non-Aligned Movement reaffirmed in its last meeting (Sharm El Sheikh 2009) the support to the Self-determination of the Sahrawi people by choosing between any valid option, welcomed the direct conversations between the parts, and remembered the responsibility of the United Nations on the Sahrawi issue.[22]

Sustainable development

The movement is publicly committed to the tenets of sustainable development and the attainment of the Millennium Development Goals, but it believes that the international community has not created conditions conducive to development and has infringed upon the right to sovereign development by each member state. Issues such as globalization, the debt burden, unfair trade practices, the decline in foreign aid, donor conditionality, and the lack of democracy in international financial decision-making are cited as factors inhibiting development.[23]

Reforms of the UN

The Non-Aligned Movement has been quite outspoken in its criticism of current UN structures and power dynamics, mostly in how the organisation has been utilised by powerful states in ways that violate the movement’s principles. It has made a number of recommendations that would strengthen the representation and power of ‘non-aligned’ states. The proposed reforms are also aimed at improving the transparency and democracy of UN decision-making. The UN Security Council is the element considered the most distorted, undemocratic, and in need of reshaping.[24]

South-south cooperation

Lately the Non-Aligned Movement has collaborated with other organisations of the developing world, primarily the Group of 77, forming a number of joint committees and releasing statements and document representing the shared interests of both groups. This dialogue and cooperation can be taken as an effort to increase the global awareness about the organisation and bolster its political clout.

Cultural diversity and human rights

The movement accepts the universality of human rights and social justice, but fiercely resists cultural homogenisation. In line with its views on sovereignty, the organisation appeals for the protection of cultural diversity, and the tolerance of the religious, socio-cultural, and historical particularities that define human rights in a specific region.[25]

Working groups, task forces, committees[26]
  • High-Level Working Group for the Restructuring of the United Nations
  • Working Group on Human Rights
  • Working Group on Peace-Keeping Operations
  • Working Group on Disarmament
  • Committee on Palestine
  • Task Force on Somalia
  • Non-Aligned Security Caucus
  • Standing Ministerial Committee for Economic Cooperation
  • Joint Coordinating Committee (chaired by Chairman of G-77 and Chairman of NAM)


The conference of Heads of State or Government of the Non-Aligned Countries, often referred to as Non-Aligned Movement Summit is the main meeting within the movement and are held every few years:[27]

Logo of the Sharm El Sheikh Summit, 2009
  1. Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia Belgrade, September 1–6, 1961
  2. United Arab Republic Cairo, October 5–10, 1964
  3. Zambia Lusaka, September 8–10, 1970
  4. Algeria Algiers, September 5–9, 1973
  5. Sri Lanka Colombo, August 16–19, 1976
  6. Cuba Havana, September 3–9, 1979
  7. India New Delhi, March 7–12, 1983
  8. Zimbabwe Harare, September 1–6, 1986
  9. Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia Belgrade, September 4–7, 1989
  10. Indonesia Jakarta, September 1–6, 1992
  11. Colombia Cartagena de Indias, October 18–20, 1995
  12. South Africa Durban, September 2–3, 1998
  13. Malaysia Kuala Lumpur, February 20–25, 2003
  14. Cuba Havana, September 15–16, 2006
  15. Egypt Sharm El Sheikh, July 11–16, 2009
  16. Serbia Belgrade, September 5–6 2011
  17. Iran Tehran, 2012

Other meetings (such as the Bali meeting of May 23–27, 2011) are held between the official moments.

50th Anniversary Celebration

The Non-Aligned Movement celebrated it's 50th Anniversary in Belgrade on September 5–6, 2011.[28]


Between summits, the Non-Aligned Movement is run by the secretary-general elected at last summit meeting. As a considerable part of the movement's work is undertaken at the United Nations in New York, the chair country's ambassador to the UN is expected to devote time and effort to matters concerning the Non-Aligned Movement. The Coordinating Bureau, also based at the UN, is the main instrument for directing the work of the movement's task forces, committees and working groups.

Secretaries-General of the Non-Aligned Movement
Name Country Party From To
Josip Broz Tito  Yugoslavia League of Communists of Yugoslavia 1961 1964
Gamal Abdel Nasser  United Arab Republic Arab Socialist Union 1964 1970
Kenneth Kaunda  Zambia United National Independence Party 1970 1973
Houari Boumediène  Algeria Revolutionary Council 1973 1976
William Gopallawa  Sri Lanka Independent 1976 1978
Junius Richard Jayewardene United National Party 1978 1979
Fidel Castro  Cuba Communist Party of Cuba 1979 1983
Neelam Sanjiva Reddy  India Janata Party 1983
Zail Singh Congress Party 1983 1986
Robert Mugabe  Zimbabwe ZANU-PF 1986 1989
Janez Drnovšek  Yugoslavia League of Communists of Yugoslavia 1989 1990
Borisav Jović Socialist Party of Serbia 1990 1991
Stjepan Mesić Croatian Democratic Union 1991
Branko Kostić Democratic Party of Socialists of Montenegro 1991 1992
Suharto  Indonesia Partai Golongan Karya 1992 1995
Ernesto Samper  Colombia Colombian Liberal Party 1995 1998
Andrés Pastrana Arango Colombian Conservative Party 1998
Nelson Mandela  South Africa African National Congress 1998 1999
Thabo Mbeki 1999 2003
Mahathir Mohamad  Malaysia United Malays National Organisation 2003
Abdullah Ahmad Badawi 2003 2006
Fidel Castro[29]  Cuba Communist Party of Cuba 2006 2008
Raúl Castro 2008 2009
Hosni Mubarak  Egypt National Democratic Party 2009 2011

Members, observers and guests

Current members

Member states of the Non-Aligned Movement (2009). Light blue states have observer status.


  1.  Afghanistan
  2.  Algeria
  3.  Angola
  4.  Antigua and Barbuda
  5.  Azerbaijan
  6.  Bahamas
  7.  Bahrain
  8.  Bangladesh
  9.  Barbados
  10.  Belarus
  11.  Belize
  12.  Benin
  13.  Bhutan
  14.  Bolivia
  15.  Botswana
  16.  Burma (Myanmar)
  17.  Brunei
  18.  Burkina Faso
  19.  Burundi
  20.  Cambodia
  21.  Cameroon
  22.  Cape Verde
  23.  Central African Republic
  24.  Chad
  25.  Chile
  26.  Colombia
  27.  Comoros
  28.  Congo
  29.  Côte d'Ivoire
  30.  Cuba
  31.  Democratic Republic of the Congo
  32.  Djibouti
  33.  Dominica
  34.  Dominican Republic
  35.  Ecuador
  36.  Egypt
  37.  Equatorial Guinea
  38.  Eritrea
  39.  Ethiopia
  40.  Fiji
  41.  Gabon
  42.  Gambia
  43.  Ghana
  44.  Grenada
  45.  Guatemala
  46.  Guinea
  47.  Guinea-Bissau
  48.  Guyana
  49.  Haiti
  50.  Honduras
  51.  India
  52.  Indonesia
  53.  Iran
  54.  Iraq
  55.  Jamaica
  56.  Jordan
  57.  Kenya
  58.  Kuwait
  59.  Laos
  60.  Lebanon
  61.  Lesotho
  62.  Liberia
  63.  Libya
  64.  Madagascar
  65.  Malawi
  66.  Malaysia
  67.  Maldives
  68.  Mali
  69.  Mauritania
  70.  Mauritius
  71.  Mongolia
  72.  Morocco
  73.  Mozambique
  74.  Namibia
  75.  Nepal
  76.  Nicaragua
  77.  Niger
  78.  Nigeria
  79.  North Korea
  80.  Oman
  81.  Pakistan
  82.  Palestine
  83.  Panama
  84.  Papua New Guinea
  85.  Peru
  86.  Philippines
  87.  Qatar
  88.  Rwanda
  89.  Saint Lucia
  90.  Saint Kitts and Nevis
  91.  Saint Vincent and the Grenadines
  92.  São Tomé and Príncipe
  93.  Saudi Arabia
  94.  Senegal
  95.  Seychelles
  96.  Sierra Leone
  97.  Singapore
  98.  Somalia
  99.  South Africa
  100.  Sri Lanka
  101.  Sudan
  102.  Suriname
  103.  Swaziland
  104.  Syria
  105.  Tanzania
  106.  Thailand
  107.  Timor-Leste
  108.  Togo
  109.  Trinidad and Tobago
  110.  Tunisia
  111.  Turkmenistan
  112.  Uganda
  113.  United Arab Emirates
  114.  Uzbekistan
  115.  Vanuatu
  116.  Venezuela
  117.  Vietnam
  118.  Yemen
  119.  Zambia
  120.  Zimbabwe

Former members

  1.  Argentina[30][31]
  2.  North Yemen[31]
  3.  South Yemen[31]
  4.  Cyprus[7][31]
  5.  Malta[7][31]
  6.  Yugoslavia[7][31]


The following countries and organizations have observer status:[1]




There is no permanent guest status,[32] but often several non-member countries are represented as guests at conferences. In addition, a large number of organisations, both from within the UN system and from outside, are always invited as guests.

See also

Further reading


  1. ^ a b c d XV Summit of the Non-Aligned Movement, Sharm El Sheikh, 11–16 July 2009: Members, Observers and Guests
  2. ^ a b c "The Non-Aligned Movement: Background Information". Government of Zaire. 21 September 2001. Retrieved 23 April 2011. 
  3. ^
  4. ^ Fidel Castro speech to the UN in his position as chairman of the non-aligned countries movement 12 October 1979; Pakistan & Non-Aligned Movement, Board of Investment - Government of Pakistan, 2003
  5. ^ a b Grant, Cedric. "Equity in Third World Relations: a third world perspective." International Affairs 71, 3 (1995), 567-587.
  6. ^ a b Suvedi, Suryaprasada (1996). Land and Maritime Zones of Peace in International Law. Oxford University Press. pp. 169–170. ISBN 0198260962. 
  7. ^ a b c d XII Summit, Durban, South Africa, 2–3 September 1998: The Non-Aligned Movement: Member States
  8. ^ Lai Kwon Kin (September 2, 1992). "Yugoslavia casts shadow over non-aligned summit". The Independent @ Independent News and Media Limited. Retrieved 2009-09-26. "Iran and several other Muslim nations want the rump state of Yugoslavia kicked out, saying it no longer represents the country which helped to found the movement." 
  9. ^ a b Najam, Adil (2003). "Chapter 9: The Collective South in Multinational Environmental Politics". In Nagel, Stuard. Policymaking and prosperity: a multinational anthology. Lanham, Md.: Lexington Books. p. 233. ISBN 0-7391-0460-8. Retrieved 2009-11-10. "Turkmenistan, Belarus and Dominican Republic are the most recent entrants. The application of Bosnia-Herzegovina and Costa Rica were rejected in 1995 and 1998." 
  10. ^ "Belgrade declaration of non-aligned countries". Egyptian presidency website. 6 September 1961. Archived from the original on 23 April 2011. Retrieved 23 April 2011. 
  11. ^ "Fifth conference of heads of state or Government of non-aligned nations". Egyptian presidency website. 6 September 1961. Archived from the original on 23 April 2011. Retrieved 23 April 2011. 
  12. ^ a b c "Meeting of the Ministerial Committee on Methodology of the Movement of the Non-Aligned Countries, Caratagena de Indias, May 14–16, 1996". Head of State and Government of the Non-Alligned Countries. Government of Zaire. 14–16 May 1996. Retrieved 24 April 2011. 
  13. ^ a b Ohlson, Thomas; Stockholm (1988). Arms Transfer Limitations and Third World Security. Oxford University Press. pp. 198. ISBN 0198291248. 
  14. ^ a b Morphet, Sally. “Multilateralism and the Non-Aligned Movement: What Is the Global South Doing and Where Is It Going?” Global Governance 10 (2004), 517–537
  15. ^ Putting Differences Aside, Daria Acosta, September 18, 2006.
  16. ^ Profile: Non-Aligned Movement, BBC News, January 30, 2008.
  17. ^ XII Summit, Durban, South Africa, 2–3 September 1998: Final Document, no. 10-11
  18. ^ XII Summit, Durban, South Africa, 2–3 September 1998: Final Document, no. 16-22
  19. ^ Non-aligned nations slam U.S., CBC News, September 16, 2006.
  20. ^ No Alineados preparan apoyo a la libre determinación de Puerto Rico, 14/07/2009 (Spanish)
  21. ^ 3162 (XXVIII) Question of Spanish Sahara. U.N. General assembly 28th session, 1973.
  22. ^ XV Summit of heads of state and government of the Non Aligned Movement - Final Document. Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt.16-04-2009. See points 237, 238 & 239.
  23. ^ Statement on the implementation of the Right to Development, January 7, 2008.
  24. ^ XII Summit, Durban, South Africa, 2–3 September 1998: Final Document, no. 55
  25. ^ Declaration on the occasion of celebrating Human Rights Day
  26. ^ XII Summit, Durban, South Africa, 2–3 September 1998: The Non-Aligned Movement: Background Information 2.4.
  27. ^ XV Summit of the Non-Aligned Movement, Sharm El Sheikh, 11–16 July 2009: Previous Summits
  28. ^ Non-aligned again in Belgrade
  29. ^ Fidel Castro, having recently undergone gastric surgery, was unable to attend the conference and was represented by his younger brother, Cuba's acting president Raúl Castro. See "Castro elected President of Non-Aligned Movement Nations", People's Daily, 16-09-2006.
  30. ^ La Nación - Opinión - Pág. 19: Los No Alineados ("The Non-Aligned"), for Lucio Garcia del Solar, 10/10/2006 (Spanish)
  31. ^ a b c d e f Final Document of the 7th Summit of the Non-Aligned Movement -(New Delhi Declaration)
  32. ^ XII Summit, Durban, South Africa, 2–3 September 1998: The Non-Aligned Movement: Background Information 4.4.

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