Take leading role to reform UN, NAM told
THE Non-Aligned Movement should take a leading role in advocating reform of the United Nations, democratisation of the international economic and financial system, and an end to unilateral and harmful actions by strong countries against developing nations, Foreign Affairs Minister Simbarashe Mumbengegwi has said.
Minister Mumbengegwi was speaking at the ministerial meeting of NAM here on Thursday ahead of President Mugabe’s address to the Heads of State and Government Summit today (Saturday).
After Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammed Javed Zarif handed over leadership of the NAM ministerial council to his Venezuelan counterpart Mr Delcy Eloina Rodriguez Gomez, Minister Mumbengegwi rallied the world’s second-largest inter-nation group to be at the forefront of global change.
“The Non-Aligned Movement should be at the centre of promoting multilateralism and the reform of multilateral institutions to ensure that they cater for the interests of all member states, not just a few powerful states.
“The reform of the United Nations, which is the apex of the multilateral system, is central to the objective of strengthening multilateralism. The composition of the Security Council must be brought in line with current geopolitical realities.
“The council needs to be more representative, democratic, accountable, accessible and transparent to enhance the legitimacy of its decisions.
“… The General Assembly, as the most universal body of the United Nations, should continue its revitalisation process to ensure that it asserts its role as the chief deliberative, policymaking and representative organ of the United Nations.”
The African Union position on Security Council reform, as captured in the Ezulwini Consensus and Sirte Declaration, is that Africa should have at least two permanent seats on the organ, and an additional five non-permanent seats.
The AU also holds that as long as veto power exists in the Security Council, then Africa should have representatives wielding that same power on the organ.
The Security Council has the same five permanent members it had at establishment in 1945: Britain, China, France, Russia and the United States, who all have veto power. The other 10 seats on the council are rotational and have no power to veto decisions.
Minister Mumbengegwi told his fellow ministers on Thursday, “We also reiterate our calls for the reform of the international economic and financial architecture to democratise the decision-making process of the Bretton Wood institutions and other structures of global economic governance in order to give developing countries a meaningful voice.”
Zimbabwe’s foreign minister also said the noble ideals of Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Management, the Addis Ababa Action Agenda, the Paris Agreement on Climate Change and the UN Sustainable Development Goals — while providing “hope and opportunities for a progressive world order” — would be undone by rapacious unilateralism.
“… We continue to witness efforts by some powerful ( UN) member states to pursue punitive agendas through the imposition of unilateral sanctions and other measures on some weaker members, including my own country Zimbabwe.
“We call for the removal of these illegal sanctions in order for us to achieve the progressive agenda of ‘Leaving No One Behind’,” he said.
The United States, European Union and other Western countries imposed illegal sanctions on Zimbabwe at the turn of the millennium after Harare embarked on the revolutionary land reform programme that has seen transfer of farms previously held by just 6 000 white farmers to over 300 000 black families.
NAM — like several other progressive international organisations such as Sadc, Comesa, the AU and Pan-African Parliament among others — has in the past condemned the illegal sanctions on Zimbabwe and called for their unconditional removal.
In pledging Zimbabwe’ continued commitment to NAM’s principles and objectives, and to the UN Charter, Minister Mumbengegwi also expressed outrage at the continued occupation and persecution of Palestine by Israel; while also calling on NAM to unambiguously stand by the people of the Saharawi Arab Democratic Republic (Western Sahara) in their quest for independence from Morocco.
Minister Mumbengwi said, “The violation of the United Nations Charter principles has spawned conflicts and consequent major humanitarian crises. Interference, use of force at the slightest excuse and military interventions for the purpose of achieving regime change have created instability in a number of our member states.
“In the aftermath of these interventions, previously stable countries have been thrown into turmoil and total chaos, the authority and structures of government have been undermined, economies and infrastructure have been destroyed, while livelihoods have been disrupted…
“Of greater concern is that the vacuum created by the overthrow of legitimate governments has provided fertile ground for terrorism and other radical idea.
“It is, therefore, important for (NAM) to play its role in ensuring that such man-made disasters are avoided through strict adherence to the (UN) Charter’ universal principles.”
Apart from Zimbabwe, the 17th NAM Summit host — Venezuela — and immediate past NAM chair Iran have been direct targets of the unilateral interventions Minister Mumbengegwi was referring to.
The minister said the threat of a nuclear holocaust loomed large over mankind, and said NAM should “continue to play (a) positive role in the negotiations to attain a legally binding and verifiable international treaty forbidding the production, usage and storage of nuclear weapons”.
“Such an agreement should, however, respect the sovereign right of states to develop nuclear energy for peaceful purposes,” he added.