President Ranil Wickremesinghe of Sri Lanka delivered a powerful address at the 19th Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) Summit in Kampala, Uganda, on Friday, January 19, 2024. He urged member states to redefine the movement’s objectives and transform it into the largest bloc representing the Global South in the evolving multipolar world.

Calling for a united and assertive NAM, Wickremesinghe said, “This transformation involves opposing big power rivalry and coercion of uncommitted states. NAM should contribute to building a multipolar world that addresses the political, economic, social, and climate change mitigation aspirations of the Global South.”

He highlighted the deepening inequalities between the Global South and the developed world, exacerbated by digital divides, weapons of mass destruction, trade protectionism, and the weaponization of the dollar. “The need is for a strong, united Non-Aligned Movement,” he emphasized.

 key initiatives:

Recasting NAM’s objectives to focus on opposing big power coercion, promoting a multipolar world, and addressing the specific challenges facing the Global South.
Transforming NAM into the largest bloc representing the Global South, leveraging the economic advancement of many member states.
Establishing a permanent operational structure to enable NAM to effectively tackle contemporary challenges and shape the new world order.
Seeking a resolution to the Palestinian crisis within five years, including the recognition of a sovereign Palestinian state.
Wickremesinghe’s speech was met with mixed reactions, reflecting the diversity of opinions within the NAM. While some welcomed the call for a more active and assertive role, others expressed concerns about the feasibility of such a transformation and the potential risks of challenging the existing power structures.

The summit’s outcome will hinge on the ability of member states to bridge their differences and reach a consensus on the future direction of the NAM. If successful, a reinvigorated NAM could play a significant role in shaping the multipolar world and advocating for the interests of the Global South.

Key challenges :

Achieving consensus among NAM’s diverse membership, which has often been hindered by internal divisions.
Effectively challenging the established powers, which will require considerable resources and diplomatic skill.
Building alliances with other countries and international organizations that share NAM’s vision for a more equitable and just world order.
The 19th NAM Summit marks a critical juncture for the movement. Whether it can rise to the challenges and seize the opportunities of the multipolar world remains to be seen.


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