Address to Summit Expresses Concern for `Weak and Deprived' In Emerging Global Society, Warns against Dangers of `Exclusion'


This is the text of an address by Secretary-General Boutros Boutros- Ghali today, delivered in English and French, to the eleventh Summit Conference of Heads of State or Government of the Non-Aligned Countries, at Cartagena de Indias, Colombia:


All of us here at this Summit Conference owe you, Mr. Chairman, and the Government and people of Colombia, a special word of thanks. Colombia has a rich tradition of concern for the common interests of humanity. Colombia has spoken forcefully on behalf of developing nations. This Conference has been organized in the face of many obstacles, but the success of the effort is here for all to see. Colombia's hospitality has been gracious. The welcome of the citizens of Cartagena has been warm. We are all grateful.

Allow me, Mr. Chairman, to express our deep appreciation to President Suharto for his role in guiding the Movement over the past three years. Indonesia symbolizes the remarkable progress and economic growth in south-east Asia in recent times. This period has also been marked by tireless efforts to sustain and build upon the North-South dialogue and cooperation and to enhance South-South cooperation.

Indonesia's commitment to these objectives has resulted in two important resolutions in the United Nations General Assembly. At the forty-eighth session, the resolution on the "Renewal of the Dialogue on Strengthening International Economic Cooperation for Development through Partnership". And at the forty-ninth session, the resolution on "Enhanced International Cooperation Towards a Durable Solution to the External Debt Problem of Developing Countries".

From Asia, with its many models of freshly earned prosperity, the Chairmanship of the Movement comes to Latin America. This vast continent has been in the vanguard of the anti-colonial struggle. It is a model of a multiracial, multi-ethnic, multicultural community. It has played a famous part in the history of liberation and democratization. Latin America's dynamism will be critical to the Non-Aligned Movement's present and future success.

In a matter of days, the Special Commemorative Meeting of the General Assembly will meet. I am grateful to the many heads of State and government from the Movement who have agreed to attend. It is my sense that the unified political direction their presence lends to the deliberations will help the United Nations redeem the promises upon which it was founded, and reassert the unity of the Movement's commitment to them.

With the non-aligned at its heart, the United Nations can at last serve the peoples of the world as they must be served. Together we can turn the next century into a time of truly revolutionary change.

The same international climate of participation, solidarity and cooperation needs to be extended to the areas of disarmament and the security of peoples. As it has in the collective effort to curb the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, so the Movement can play a leading role in the effort to curb the growing transfer of conventional arms, both legal and illicit. The Movement's commitment to halt the spread of land-mines will prove decisive to ending this inhuman scourge. To the search for solutions to the new breed of internal conflicts, the Movement can bring its commitment to the resolution of competing interests without violence -- as well as its partnership with the United Nations and regional organizations.

I have attended many, many meetings of the Non-Aligned Movement. On each and every occasion, I have been filled with emotion. That is not only because so much of my career has been associated with the Non-Aligned Movement. It is because this Movement has meant so much to the world for so long. And it is because this Movement has so much to offer to the world of the future.

Six months ago I joined many of you in Bandung, to celebrate the fortieth anniversary of the Afro-Asia Conference of 1955 -- to celebrate the birth of non-alignment. Today, in Cartagena, we all gather in the name of non-alignment, to look forward to the future of the Movement.

At a time when international relations were defined by power and might - - when international ideals were casualties of colonialism and of the East- West confrontation -- the non-aligned introduced a wholly new perspective. Freed from the shackles of colonial oppression, the non-aligned stepped onto the international stage, raising a new voice for all the world to hear.

When this voice was heard, it became possible to consider political issues in ethical terms. It became possible to create economic policies with compassion. It became possible to address strategic concerns from a moral and human dimension. Values under threat acquired a new lease on life. People began to matter. People began to be considered in the councils of the world.

At Bandung in 1955, the birth of non-alignment was an act of stunning, world-transfixing boldness. International politics were fundamentally and for ever transformed.

Six years later, in 1961, the Cairo preparatory meeting to the first Non-Aligned Summit gave expression to the founding principles of non- alignment. They reflected the Non-Aligned Movement's original concerns: colonialism and super-Power confrontation.

Today, the disappearance of the East-West confrontation and the eradication of colonialism, far from undermining the bases of non-alignment, are imposing new tasks upon it.

The end of the cold war has freed the world of some of the political encumbrances that impeded its progress. The global society which is coming into being is rich with promise. But, as we well know, it may also be fraught with dangers for the weakest and the most deprived. It may marginalize peoples, countries and even entire regions of the planet.

The Non-Aligned Movement, more than any other entity, should therefore become active in this combat against exclusion. Against exclusion from the fruits of progress, by fighting for economic and social development. Against exclusion from the major decisions which affect the future of the world, by fighting for the democratization of international life.

Development and democratization are, in my view, the two challenges confronting the global society which we must all face together.

The development imperative must remain, more than ever before, one of our basic concerns. The relative consensus concerning the world economic system is by no means helping to bridge the wide gap which still separates the rich countries from the poor countries.

That is a fact I was intent upon recalling forcefully in the "Agenda for Development" that I submitted for consideration by the States Members of the United Nations. I remain convinced, like you, that the international community must ensure that a new culture of development prevails. Like you, I believe that development is a never-ending battle. Like you, I know that the struggle to achieve a more equitable distribution of wealth must continue. Like you, I am convinced that the non-aligned countries must be the builders of a new world that will sanction the right to development for all peoples and all nations.

From the outset, non-alignment derived its force from a new principle, the principle of solidarity. Today, it is still our duty to ensure that this principle plays a greater role in world economic activity.

For we are well aware that the major free-market States are not among the least protectionist. For we are well aware that the world crisis is exacerbating national egoisms. For we are aware, too, that many legitimate claims of the third world countries have yet to be satisfied, including those relating to commodity prices, the opening of markets to manufactured goods, access to technology, increased official development assistance and reduction of the debt burden. And this list could be much longer. In any event, we cannot today be satisfied with the existing economic order.

In order to give the developing States and the peoples of the third world the means to express their aspirations and state their claims, in order to enable them to conduct on a collective basis the difficult negotiations imposed by the contemporary economic situation, a grouping such as yours must continue to exist and grow even stronger.

This means that the Non-Aligned Movement is, today more than ever before, one of the essential actors in international action for development.

However, economic and social progress will not attain its full significance unless it is accompanied by an effort to democratize international life. In my view, democratization is an imperative, not only within States but also between States and in all the power centres of international society. In effect, unless we remain on our guard, world power may become concentrated in the hands of a few powerful States which will impose their rules and practices on the entire planet.

It is therefore essential that other voices -- in particular those of the developing countries -- should be able to make themselves heard. The international order of the future must be more attentive to the diversity of the world.

This means that the Non-Aligned Movement, which represents a substantial part of mankind, must play its proper role in that order. For if the immense numbers of people whom you represent are not given a sufficient hearing, international relations as a whole will be adversely affected. The very legitimacy of international society is at stake.

I therefore wish to state most firmly that no genuinely democratic project can be undertaken within the framework of the international order without you and without the Movement that you represent.

Today, here in Cartagena, I have sought to have you all bear witness to the direction in which I hope to see international society evolve and the role which I believe the Non-Aligned Movement should play in that evolution. From the outset, I have perceived non-alignment representing an aspiration towards a world characterized by greater solidarity and greater equity. At this time, when we are living in the post-cold-war period, and in the office which I now occupy, I still have the same confidence in the Non-Aligned Movement and place the same hope in it.

It is against this background, and prompted by these feelings, that I wish your Conference the greatest success.

For information media. Not an official record.