The 17th Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) Summit was held at the Venezuelan resort island of Margarita from September 13 to 18, 2016. The theme of the Summit was “Peace, Sovereignty and Solidarity for Development.”
The key issues conversed at the Summit were climate change, sustainable economic development, human rights, unilateral sanctions, peacekeeping missions, religious tolerance, and U.N. Security Council reforms. Also discussed were international solidarity, South-South cooperation, the role of youth, gender equality, the need for a new world communications and information order, and independence for Palestine and the Western Sahara.
In a 21 point closing declaration the member states urged the United Nations to give equal footing to the developing countries in the Security Council. The member states also committed to build more harmony, initiate new alliances, work on promoting peace, eradicating poverty, and addressing climate change on the world stage. The declaration rejected the U.S. economic blockade of Cuba, condemned Europe’s policy on refugees, and expressed support for the people of Palestine and Puerto Rico in their struggle against occupation and for self-determination as well.
Speaking about the Summit at a press conference, Venezuelan President Maduro said, “This Summit, we can say, has been a total success, a victory of Bolivarian diplomacy.”
The membership of NAM today comprises 53 countries from Africa, 39 from Asia, 26 from Latin America and the Caribbean and 2 from Europe (Belarus, Azerbaijan). There are 17 countries and 10 international organizations that are Observers at NAM. The Non Aligned Movement came into being 55 years ago when leaders of 25 developing countries met at the 1961 Belgrade Conference.