“Upholding the Bandung Principles to Ensure Concerted and Adequate Response to the Challenges of Contemporary World”
Statement by Right Honourable Mr. K P Sharma Oli, Prime Minister of Nepal and Leader of the Nepali delegation to the 18th Summit of Non-Aligned Movement (NAM)
Baku, Azerbaijan, 25-26 October 2019
Your Excellency Mr. Ilham Aliyev, President of the Republic of Azerbaijan, Chairman of this Summit,
Namaste, Salam and Good Morning/ Good Afternoon!
I congratulate you, Mr. Chairman, on your assuming the Chair of our Movement. I am confident that the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) will reach a new height under your able leadership.
I would like to express my sincere gratitude to the Government and people of the Republic of Azerbaijan for the warm welcome and generous hospitality extended to us.
The outgoing chair, the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, deserves our appreciation for successfully steering the Movement for the last three years.
I have brought with me greetings and best wishes from the land of Buddha and Sagarmatha (Mt. Everest) for the success of the Summit.
Sixty-four years ago, the leaders from Asia and Africa assembled in the Indonesian town of Bandung.
They assembled for a specific purpose and that was the need of the hour.
They developed new set of principles to govern relations among nations. Those principles were:
– about respecting and observing in good faith the principles of UN Charter,
– about supporting national independence,
– about upholding of sovereign equality, territorial integrity and non-interference in the internal affairs, and
– about settlement of all disputes through peaceful means.
These principles are so sacrosanct and have timeless value that if we fail to observe them the world order will turn into anarchy.
And, this is certainly not the objective of humanity.
The objective is to respect them, which makes the world peaceful, safer, stable and prosperous.
The Non-aligned Movement (NAM) was conceived as a decisive response to unjust and unfair world, a dehumanizing world where the basic essentials of human being- the freedoms were denied and brutally suppressed.
It was conceived to defend fundamental rights of the peoples and the nations in the South.
It was a thoughtful decision to practice an independent foreign policy based on objective analysis of the worldview, away from biased judgement in an international environment that was characterized by intense east-west rivalry, the Cold War.
In doing so, we wanted to preserve our autonomy in decision-making, which is the soul of sovereignty.
The Bandung principles, which are eloquently manifested in the objectives of the NAM, form the fundamentals of our foreign policy as enshrined in our Constitution.
We take immense pride in saying that the five principles of peaceful co-existence better known as Panchasheela, were derived from the teachings of Buddha, the immortal son of Nepal.
They make a perfect sync with the essence of Nepal’s foreign policy principle that believes in ‘Amity with all, enmity with none’.
Nepal’s experience presents a testimony of how peace, democracy, development and human rights are closely interlinked.
Human rights can find true meaning only in a condition of comprehensive democracy.
One would ask what is the essence of comprehensive democracy?
I stand for a holistic empowerment of individual so that he/she enjoys freedom from poverty, access to equal opportunity, right to life, security and dignity.
I would say the political rights alone are not sufficient to empower individual in the true sense of the term. They remain useless if a person remains hungry and homeless, which threatens his most fundamental right – the right to life.
Being cognizant of the fact, we in Nepal have crafted social security system to cover the entire cycle of human life so that no one dies due to lack of food and shelter.
Beyond the borders, comprehensive democracy must be practiced at the global level as well.
How do we promote this?
We promote this by ensuring sovereign equality, non-use of threat or force, non-interference in internal affairs, respect and dignity of all nations, non-exploitation, and fair opportunities for all countries to grow and develop.
Comprehensive democracy demands a world order:
– that is democratic,
– that is inclusive,
– that is just, and
– that is fair.
Unless and until we achieve it, the NAM will continue to be relevant for us. The NAM is a synonym for peace, security, justice and development.
It has time-tested value and appeal.
Mother earth is common to all and has bestowed enough to fulfil human needs in a rational way.
We cannot live in a situation where excessive greed and intolerable destitution stand in two opposite extremes. Excessive greed is the primary reason for environmental catastrophe as well as the social conflict.
We must therefore ensure:
- prosperity for all so that no one is left behind as the SDGs have underlined; and
- protection of mother earth so that the needs of the future generations are not compromised.
How we achieve this?
We achieve this by ensuring global justice in such a manner that all states enjoy their rights and fulfil their obligations in a balanced manner.
However, in judicious utilization of natural resources, there should not be any restriction on the sovereign choice of the people.
Climate change has assumed crisis proportion.
Being acutely aware of this fact, the Government of Nepal has decided to host the ‘Sagarmatha Sambad’, a global dialogue, under the theme of ‘Mountains, Climate Change and the Future of Humanity’ in April next year.
In the interval of every three years we meet to make the assessment of the Movement. In every Summit we take decisions and define a new course of action. Our collective wisdom finds space in a comprehensive declaration that we adopt at the end of our gathering.
But let’s seriously ponder:
– Have we ever developed the system to ensure that the decisions we made are implemented in good faith?
– Have we ever tried to reach broad consensus that the political message of the Movement needs to be translated into action on the ground?
– Have we ever analysed the deep rooted conflicts and differences among ourselves and tried to resolve them in the spirit of solidarity?
The time has come to seriously reflect on how could we collectively make the Movement more dynamic and effective.
Here are my humble suggestions:
– We want to see a NAM that is internally cohesive, united, strong and externally influential so that entrenched global inequalities are uprooted for once and for all.
– We want to see a NAM that fosters goodwill, understanding and cooperation so that division and discord do not surface to undermine the unity of the Movement.
– We want to see a NAM that helps leverage the strength and capability of the South so that all developing nations build collective strengths to address development challenges to achieve shared prosperity.
- We want to see a NAM that takes up burning global issues in a systematic manner and devises concrete solutions to address them.
- We want to see a NAM that contributes to strengthening multilateralism with the United Nations at its centre.
I believe that the consideration of these suggestions will make a difference in the way our Movement functions in making the NAM truly a force to respond adequately to the contemporary challenges and to advance development journey for collective prosperity.
As a founding member of NAM, Nepal stands firmly to shoulder its responsibilities from the forefront.
I thank you all for your kind attention.