Hon. Gen Jeje Abubakhar ODONGO, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, represented the Government of the Republic of Uganda at the recently concluded Summit level meeting of the Non Aligned Movement (NAM) contact group in response to COVID-19 which took place on 2nd March 2023 in Baku – Azerbaijan.
In his remarks, the Minister conveyed a message of gratitude on behalf of H.E. Yoweri Kaguta Museveni, the President of the Republic of Uganda to H.E. President IIham ALIYEV, and the Government the of the Republic of Azerbaijan for organizing this crucial Summit-level meeting.
He further underscored that this Summit-level meeting is a valuable platform for exchanging information between member States and Organizations on lessons learned from the combating the COVID-19 pandemic that will be vital in collectively responding to future global threats and emergencies.
Hon. Odongo reiterated the commendable strides taken to respond to post-pandemic challenges that the Non-Aligned Movement has taken since the outbreak of the pandemic, stressing that Member States must build upon these efforts & follow-up with concerted post-covid recovery measures.
He registered Government of Uganda’s immense gratitude to bilateral and multilateral partners that supported her response to the COVID-19 challenge. The Minister further recognised the need to scale up cooperation in enhancing capacity to manufacture vaccines and resource mobilization to support efforts to mitigate the impact of pandemics.
In this regard, the Minister commended the Government of Azerbaijan for the donation of One Million dollars towards supporting the recovery of Africa and Small Island Developing States (SIDS). He however noted that the global support to recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic has been insufficient and called for more comprehensive actions, including debt relief package, debt cancellations, easy access to concessional finance and building capacity of developing countries to develop vaccines nationally and regionally.
The Minister also appreciated NAM for the efforts rendered during the COVID-19 pandemic and further called for Member States of NAM to be resilient and unite to combat new and emerging threats.
As Uganda assumes Chair of the Organization in January 2024, the Minister reiterated the readiness of the Government of Uganda to meaningfully contribute to the efforts of the global community in tackling shared challenges. He reaffirmed willingness to cooperate with the NAM and expressed support to the NAM initiative on establishing UN High-Level Panel on post-COVID-19 Global Recovery, with a task of working out recommendations for the post-pandemic recovery.
With two-thirds of the UN Member States, the Non-Aligned Movement has a critical role to play in revitalizing multilateral cooperation and forging a new social contract based on inclusivity and sustainability.
In conclusion, Hon. Odongo commended the NAM Members States for the confidence entrusted to Uganda to Chair the NAM Movement for the period 2023 – 2026 and to host the 19th Summit of the NAM
Heads of State and Government in Kampala.
The Minister further informed that preparations for hosting the Summit are on course and Uganda will work with all NAM Member States to prepare to deliver a successful Summit.
“It is our conviction, that with your unwavering support, the Summit will be a monumental success and its outcomes will further strengthen our Movement. We look forward to the participation of your respective delegations at the highest level.” the Minister reiterated.
The Summit was attended by Heads of State and Government of about 70 countries, including Presidents of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Iraq, Libya. Vice Presidents of Cuba, Gabon, Tanzania, Prime Ministers of Algeria and Kenya, Ministers, Deputy Ministers, Ambassadors and other high-level Representatives of various countries, Heads of International organizations – Secretary-General of the World Tourism Organization (WTO), International Organization for Migration (IOM), United Nations Office at Geneva (UN Geneva) Secretary General of the Economic Cooperation Organization (ECO).
ABOUT THE NON ALIGNMENT MOVEMENT (NAM)
NAM is an International organisation consisting of 120 countries that are not formally aligned with or against any major power bloc. It aims at creating dialogue for a peaceful and Prosperous world in a just and equitable order. It is the largest grouping of Member states worldwide after the United Nations (UN).
The basic concept for the organisation originated in 1955 during discussions that took place at the Asia-Africa Bandung Conference held in Indonesia. The first NAM Summit Conference took place in Belgrade, Yugoslavia in September 1961.
It has an official membership of 120 States as of April 2018 comprising 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 are7 Observers at NAM. Uganda has been endorsed to officially Chair the organisation on behalf of Africa for the period from 2023 – 2026.
NAM operates on the ten (10) Bandung principles, including: respect for the sovereignty, equality and territorial integrity of all states; rejection of the possibility of an unconstitutional change of government, as well as external attempts to change the regime of government; the preservation of the inalienable right for each state is free, without interference from outside, to determine its political, social, economic and cultural system; refusal from7 aggression and direct or indirect use of force; non-application of any unilateral economic, political or military measures.
NAM holds Summits, Foreign Ministers level7 conferences, and meetings in New York at the level of Ministers of Foreign Affairs of the NAM member countries during the sessions of the UN General Assembly, Meetings of the NAM Coordination Bureau, activities of the Chairman and “Troika”, meetings of sectoral ministers of NAM members countries (ministers of labor, health, information), topical thematic meetings.
Uganda will host the 19th Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) Summit under the theme “Deepening cooperation for Shared Global Affluence” and will take over Chairmanship of the organization from the Republic of Azerbaijan. H.E. Yoweri Kaguta Museveni, President of the Republic of Uganda will officially open this Summit at the Speke Resort Munyonyo in January 2024.