24 September 1996

Press Release


19960924 Following is the text of Secretary-General Boutros Boutros-Ghali's address to the commemorative meeting of the Movement of Non-Aligned Countries on its thirty-fifth anniversary, held at Headquarters today:

Welcome to your United Nations!

I am personally happy and proud to join you today, on the thirty-fifth anniversary of the Movement.

Mr. Chairman, President Ernesto Samper, I salute your leadership of the non-aligned. To advance social development. To pursue South-South cooperation as a complement to North-South cooperation. To promote the rule of law among nations. To strengthen the Non-Aligned Movement as a consensus- building mechanism for developing nations. Colombia's commitment to all these goals bodes well for the future of the Movement.

But let us turn, for a moment, back to the origins of the Movement -- back to Bandung, to the Afro-Asia Conference of 1955, and to Belgrade, 1961, to the first Summit of the non-aligned.

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

Six years later, at Cairo, the preparatory meeting to the first Non- Aligned Summit gave expression to the five founding principles of non- alignment: non-alignment in the East-West confrontation; alignment with respect to anti-colonial struggles; non-participation in multilateral military alliances; non-participation in any bilateral alliance with a super-Power; and refusal to accommodate the military bases of a super-Power.

These principles reflect the Movement's original concerns: colonialism and super-Power confrontation.

With the defeat of apartheid in South Africa, colonialism has virtually ended. With the collapse of the Berlin Wall, the cold war came to an end. So the twin pillars of non-aligned action have fallen.

But today, the underlying philosophy of non-alignment remains valid. It is of immediate and enduring value for all nations:

-- Rejection of power and military might as the basis for international order;

-- Assertion of independence and sovereign equality as the organizing principles of international relations;

-- Recognition of the universal need for development, and of the link between disarmament and development;

-- Commitment to multilateral decision-making on global issues through the United Nations; and

-- Belief in a solidarity that transcends -- yet draws strength -- from diversity.

At the United Nations, I carry with me every day the philosophy of non- alignment. It informs every aspect of my work as Secretary-General. And I am here today to testify to its increasing significance.

Now is the time for a renaissance of non-alignment. Even though the cold war is no more, and even though decolonization is nearly complete, our goal of a just, peaceful and equitable global order is far from being realized.

The philosophy of non-alignment is needed more than ever. A clear line can be traced from the Movement's first principles, to the philosophy they embody, to the new agenda which today calls for action: that is, to democratization at the international level.

International relations are in a critical, transitional stage. The bipolar system has collapsed. A new structure for international relations has yet to take its place. Persistent problems now emerge in new contexts. And the world confronts a daunting array of new problems, undeniably global in dimension.

The sovereign equality of nations has always implied a common stake in, and responsibility for, the survival and betterment of humanity. But, with the new world environment, international cooperation has never been more necessary, nor more possible.

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The Non-Aligned Movement has at its core a culture of democracy among nations. The Movement is living proof that a culture of democracy among nations contributes to both development and peace.

And at its very inception, the Movement made clear that it was determined to play a positive and independent role in world affairs -- to be a unified, outward-looking force.

These elements -- its culture of democracy, its will to involvement in world affairs -- feed the Movement's historic and organic association with the United Nations. When the United Nations began it had 51 Members. When the Non-Aligned Movement began it had 25 members. Today the United Nations has 185 Members -- and a large majority of them are represented here in this Hall!

The interaction of these two vital institutions should be a source of pride for us all. The United Nations is the most representative forum for the peoples of the world. The non-aligned constitute the largest political movement among nations. Each draws strength from the other. Together, we can bring about the international changes that are urgently needed.

I see three main dimensions of our work: the struggle for development; the search for peace; and strengthening the United Nations itself, as an effective mechanism for development and peace.

The Struggle for Development

Support for and commitment to development cooperation in the post-cold war period has weakened. The volume of assistance to developing countries not only has failed to show growth -- it has in fact declined. This downward trend continues even as the alarming gap between the world's richest and poorest peoples, and countries, grows only wider.

A new rationale and framework for development cooperation is urgently needed.

In the new world environment, democratization can change the nature of international economic relations -- from assistance to cooperation. With continuing democratization among nations, the concerns of developed and those of developing States can be mediated in conferences and other United Nations intergovernmental consultations. Democratization can help guarantee that, through the United Nations, the poorest countries have an ever-growing voice in the international system. And it can help guarantee that the international system does not leave a vast portion of the world to fend for itself.

Such an effort to advance development cooperation is already under way at the United Nations, through the ongoing debate on An Agenda for Development. The continuum of special global conferences has been an integral

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part of this democratic process of reflection. The emphasis is on forging a new partnership among all development actors -- North and South, governmental and non-governmental, public and private.

I salute the initiative of the Non-Aligned Movement, joined by the "Group of 77" developing countries, to renew the development dialogue based on partnership -- on mutual interest, on genuine interdependence, and on shared responsibility -- to achieve sustainable development, and to create an international environment favourable to development. Your initiative can serve as a mechanism for formulating and implementing An Agenda for Development.

The time has come for the United Nations and the non-aligned to summon the same spirit, the same determination that brought such shining success in our struggle against colonialism and apartheid -- to the struggle for development.

The Search for Peace

With the end of the cold war, the acute danger of global conflict and nuclear devastation has receded. Yet regional conflicts, and a new outbreak of conflict within States, still make the world a dangerous place.

A new opportunity -- and a new urgency -- exist to achieve a truly effective system for maintaining international peace and security. Here again, democratization internationally offers a path forward.

During the cold war, many of the major decisions of international peace and security were taken outside the United Nations.

Today, the effort to achieve an effective system for collective security is well under way at the United Nations, through the ongoing debate on An Agenda for Peace. The emphasis is on strengthening, within the framework of the Charter, the United Nations capacity and efficiency in its efforts to prevent, control and resolve conflicts. The result has been an ongoing process of initiative and reflection. Preventive diplomacy has been identified as a priority. New initiatives have been taken in peace-keeping. And a new emphasis has been put on both peace-building and advancing United Nations cooperation with regional organizations, under Chapter VIII of the Charter.

The Non-Aligned Movement has given much to this process, and has still more to offer. To the search for solutions to conflicts, the Movement can bring its longstanding commitment to the peaceful resolution of disputes -- as well as its partnerships with the United Nations and regional organizations. With its impressive history of leadership in disarmament, the Movement can help ensure that disarmament remains an integral aspect of United Nations

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efforts for peace and security. It can bring its same determination in the effort to eliminate weapons of mass destruction, to the effort to curb the uncontrolled flows of conventional arms, and to ban permanently all land-mines

and their components. And the Movement can help ensure that urgent efforts to deal with the outbreak of conflict, do not come at the expense of longer-term development.

The Strengthening of the United Nations

The surge in new activity and substantive change across the full range of United Nations efforts has both demanded, and enabled, major institutional reform. The aim is to achieve a strengthened United Nations, able to meet the needs and expectations of Member States for their Organization in this new era. In the aftermath of the cold war, the task of building a new international system has fallen to the United Nations. The most legitimate, effective and responsive way to build such a system, is by strengthening the structures and mechanisms of the Organization.

I have been engaged in streamlining and improving the working of the Organization since my first day in office. Reform is a never-ending task. It must and it will continue.

The Non-Aligned Movement and the United Nations are brothers. We must stand by each other. The Non-Aligned Movement must never allow reform to be misused. Together we must ensure that a stronger United Nations will work to bring all the developing nations into full participation and mutual prosperity within a democratized international system.

As with the birth of non-alignment, the renaissance of non-alignment can today transform international relations, fundamentally and for the better.

The Jakarta Message, issued at the Tenth Non-Aligned Summit, was a call for collective action and the democratization of international relations. It elaborated upon the elements of a new and equitable international order. Its structure was dedicated to peace and justice. To security and development. To democracy within and among States. And to the promotion of the fundamental rights and freedoms of individual human beings as well as nations.

The world needs to hear this message. The world needs to act on this message.

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For information media. Not an official record.