The Non-Aligned Movement
The Non-Aligned Movement emerged as an expression of the efforts of a large number of developing countries, mostly in the process of decolonisation, as a kind of political alternative to avoid opting for one military-political bloc during the Cold War division of the world and articulate an independent foreign policy approach.
The principles of peaceful coexistence were outlined at the conference in Bandung (Indonesia) in 1955, and the first Conference of Non-Aligned Countries was held in 1961 in Belgrade at the initiative of the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (SFRY).
During the Cold War Era, the Non-Aligned Movement played a significant role in preserving peace and calming the competition between the two blocks, and especially in accelerating the decolonisation process. It was an important factor in the struggle for the respect of equality and sovereignty of countries, and in efforts towards a balanced economic and social development.
Today, the activities of the Non-Aligned Movement are aimed at promoting the principles of multilateralism and representing the interests of developing countries, especially within the United Nations (UN).
Serbia and the Non-Aligned Movement
The SFRY was one of the founding members of the Non-Aligned Movement and had a leading role in its operations. After the disintegration of the SFRY, membership of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (FRY) in the Non-Aligned Movement was suspended in 1992. After the FRY’s membership in the UN was confirmed, the FRY’s request for observer status in the Non-Aligned Movement was accepted at the meeting of the Coordinating Bureau of the Non-Aligned Movement on 25 September 2001, and later verified at the ministerial meeting in November 2001 in New York.
The Republic of Serbia makes use of its status to achieve vital state and national interests. Serbia’s presence in the Non-Aligned Movement and cooperation with the Non-Aligned countries does not conflict with its European perspective. It is rather a complimentary aspect of Serbia’s foreign policy orientation. Observer status also allows the Republic of Serbia to monitor global political and economic issues from the perspective of the Non-Aligned countries and to promote comprehensive bilateral cooperation with those countries.
In 2010, the Government of the Republic of Serbia initiated a scholarship program The World in Serbia ― 100 scholarships for students from the Member States of the Non-Aligned Movement. A commemorative ministerial meeting of the Non-Aligned Movement countries was held in Belgrade in 2011 to mark the 50th anniversary of the founding meeting of the Movement in Belgrade.