HE DR. ZACARIAS ALBANO DA COSTA
MINISTER FOR FOREIGN AFFAIRS
XVI MINISTERIAL CONFERENCE
AND COMMEMORATIVE MEETING
OF THE NON-ALIGNED MOVEMENT
Ladies and gentlemen
Allow me first to thank the Republic of Indonesia for hosting this 16th Ministerial Conference, and the commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the establishment of the Non-Aligned Movement. Indonesia is a fitting host for this historic event, as home to the Bandung Principles, and as one of the original founding members in 1954.
Let me also take this opportunity to commend the Arab Republic of Egypt for its stewardship of the work of the Movement since 2009, and for their historic role in the founding of the Non-Aligned Movement.
Today, we not only reaffirm the founding principles of the movement, but we use this opportunity to reflect upon the achievements of the past fifty-years, and the way forward to revitalize our movement to effectively respond to contemporary global challenges. It is fitting that the theme of this meeting is entitled: shared vision on the contribution of NAM for the next fifty years, which invites us on this journey of reflection.
A journey that spans from the time five progressive leaders met and reached an agreement on a common vision for our countries. A vision that would promote the national independence, sovereignty, territorial integrity, and security of the non-aligned countries, which remains relevant to the comtemporary realities and challenges that we all are facing today.
Mr Chairman, Honourable Ministers
The geo-political landscape of the world has changed in the last 50 years. What began as a movement in response to the East-West divide, has transformed and matured since the height of the Cold War. The strength of the Non-Aligned Movement lies in the diversity of its membership, stretching from Africa to Asia, from the Americas to the Pacific. In 1961 the movement began with 25 members and we have now grown to 118. In this regard, I take this opportunity to welcome Azerbaijan and Fiji.
With our vast resources, member states have and continue to be drivers of economic development. These resources allow us to call for more balanced representation for the developing world, and for a stronger voice in the existing global decision making architecture.
In revitalizing NAM we must look at both its founding principles and at contemporary realities. We must also look at areas that are important for our development and the active promotion and effective participation of developing countries in the international community.
Constructive dialogue amongst States in pursuit of our shared goals and values is key to addressing the multiple challenges. Such dialogue must be grounded in a vision of shared responsibilities, and must be based on respect for national ownership.
Enhanced partnership must take advantage of the movement’s diversity and richness in membership to forge strong alliances. Despite our differences, our problems and its solutions are common.
With 118 countries the movement comprises more than half of UN membership. Through unified positions, as a group, we can use our collective voice to defend our positions, effect change and create growth and development. We can also improve the plight of our people for a better and just world.
In today’s globalized world, the challenges we face are multifaceted and crosscutting. The immediate problems of climate change, transnational crime, terrorism, and human trafficking, are compounded by the lingering effects of the recent food, fuel and financial crises, and highlight the need for both global solutions and effective and enhanced partnership.
Addressing these common challenges requires greater coordination between us on political, economic and social issues, in the context of South-South cooperation. It is also imperative that we strengthened the dialogue under the North-South framework, which is in keeping with the spirit of NAM.
The Bandung Principles should be a catalyst in this endeavor. In moving towards recognizing the equality of all nations, races and people, it is also important to highlight the need to empower women and the youth.
Gender equality and the empowerment of women are critical to the sustainable development of our countries. Increasing educational and economic opportunities for women and youth have an exponential effect on society, creating the conditions necessary for development without depending on outside aid and the conditionality’s that come with it. NAM should have a prominent role in the empowerment of women and the engagement of youth, as they are mutually beneficial for all.
In the same regard, it is equally important to reiterate universal respect for fundamental human rights and for the purposes and principles enshrined in the Charter of the United Nations. As this is the first Bandung Principle it is not only compatible with the NAM position, but should be strongly promoted.
My country advocates this principle along with the importance of democracy, rule of law, peaceful coexistence, mutual respect and solidarity between peoples and nations. Timor-Leste’s Constitution codifies the entitlement of all to fundamental human rights and they are integrated in our policies.
As such, we follow with concern the developments in the world today, as well as the continuing situation of those in the Non-Self Governing territories. The ongoing oppression of peoples constitutes a denial of fundamental human rights, contravenes the Bandung Principles, the United Nations Charter, and impedes the promotion of world peace and cooperation.
Timor-Leste has long supported the struggle for self-determination and independence of the Palestinian and Sahrawi people, as was reaffirmed by NAM during the Sharm El Sheikh summit in 2009. In particular, we remain concerned at the human rights situation in the refugee camps, and the ongoing unresolved Arab-Israeli conflict and affirm our support for ongoing efforts to peacefully resolve this conflict.
In conclusion, Mr. Chairman, these are some of the challenges we face in reinvigorating the Non-Aligned Movement for the future.
This forum has a key role in shaping that future, and in doing so, we must look for equitable and fair solutions. The world has changed and indeed NAM must continue to change and adapt in order to navigate the future path. In adapting to the new realities we must preserve the core of the movement’s fundamental principles and objectives.
This gathering presents an opportunity for fruitful dialogue for the movement, to develop its vision, and to recalibrate our strategy to ensure that is responsive to the evolving complex challenges that lie ahead in the next 50 years.
You may count on myself and Timor Leste to continue to work along side you in meeting these challenges.