Non-Aligned Movement Marks Third Anniversary of Azerbaijan’s Chairmanship (OPINION)
by Vasif Huseynov
Three years have passed since the Republic of Azerbaijan took over the chairmanship of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) in 2019. This period coincided with the enormous global challenges including pandemic, large-scale wars and conflicts. The NAM, under Azerbaijan’s chairmanship, has been able to play an active global role realizing the potential of this universal movement whose members account for 120. The movement has become an impactful international player loudly expressing the voice of its member countries. A number of initiatives have been made by Azerbaijan during the period of its chairmanship to coordinate the cooperation amongst the member states, strengthen the values of multilateralism and international cooperation, and to revitalize this movement.
Importantly, the major principles and goals of the NAM overlap with those of the Republic of Azerbaijan. The South Caucasian republic has been pursuing a policy of non-alignment in international relations since the early years of its post-Soviet independence, although unlike, for example, Moldova, its constitution does not prohibit joining military alliances. The government of Azerbaijan used to characterize its policy of non-alignment, which has been reaffirmed by the country’s membership to the Non-Aligned Movement since 2011, as an imperative conditioned by its geographical location.
Hence, Azerbaijan, during its chairmanship, has made various efforts to reinforce this movement and encouraged debates for its institutionalization. Azerbaijan has put forward dozens of draft resolutions and other initiatives, and organized coordination meetings with ambassadors and other levels.
The launch of the parliamentary network and youth network of the Movement at Baku’s initiative has been a significant move on this path towards institutionalization of the Movement. “Another initiative, which Azerbaijan put forward and was supported by member states is the creation of NAM support office in New York”, said President Ilham Aliyev at the inauguration ceremony of the parliamentary network of the NAM on June 30, 2022. “I think it is the right time now to make more steps towards institutional development and that, in its turn, will help us to defend our interests on international arena and also strengthen solidarity between our countries”, he added. Baku also proposed the use of the potential of the NAM to promote peace and reconciliation amongst the conflicting member states. “I know that there are certain problems between some member states. I think that NAM can be a platform to find resolution to these problems”, President Aliyev emphasized on June 30.
During Azerbaijan’s chairmanship, the NAM has indeed demonstrated its potential to bring the member countries together in the face of global challenges. For example, in the fight against the ramifications of Covid-19 crisis, the NAM, at the initiative of the Azerbaijani government, for the first time in its history, held an extraordinary summit of Member States on May 4, 2020, virtually attended by more than 45 Member States and international organizations. The President of the 74th session of the United Nations General Assembly, the Chairperson of the African Union Commission and the Director-General of the World Health Organization were amongst the leaders addressed the summit and endorsing the initiative.
Demonstrating its readiness and willingness to play a leading role in the global fight against national egoism, unilateralism and protectionism, Azerbaijan, as part of its proposals to the virtual summit of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM), also called for the special session of the UN General Assembly. The initiative was supported by more than 150 UN Member States and took place on 3-4 December 2020.
Azerbaijan is hopeful that the Movement will preserve this momentum of cooperation in the years beyond the country’s chairmanship and will raise the voice of member countries in the face of increasingly more confrontational international politics.
Vasif Huseynov, head of department at the Baku-based Center of Analysis of International Relations (AIR Center), especially for News.Az