Player hitting over weight
By Orkhan Amashov
In a modern world, the international weight and global reach of a nation is no longer determined exclusively by its territorial size or population, but by a complex set of circumstances, ranging from the advantages deriving from its geographical location to its representation in different international organizations and its ability to shape and influence the global affairs agenda.
A modern Azerbaijan is a good example: it is a regional power at the head of the South Caucasus and occupying a strategic place in its wider neighborhood. Since November 2021, it has also been a victorious country with undisputed and widely recognized military capabilities.
Azerbaijan’s membership in the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM), the second largest forum of sovereign states after the United Nations, entitles it to the support of a large number of countries with which it shares values and common goals.
His presidency of the NAM allows official Baku to be a greater voice at the international level, because while defending and promoting the shared vision of the Movement at the UN and in other forums, Azerbaijan finds itself as an actor. endowed with the resources to influence the global agenda and ultimately be a source of change around the world.
This role is particularly relevant at a time when the United Nations finds itself in a state in which it risks losing its relevance due to a diverse set of factors, most of which center on its perceived inability to safeguard world peace.
UN: frozen in the past
In a rapidly changing and evolving world, the United Nations, which arose from the rubble of the most catastrophic war in human history, has long since ceased to correspond to the dynamism of world affairs.
In fact, the post-1945 architecture of the international relations system has been fraught with a litany of problems since its inception. The fact that the United Nations is in urgent need of fundamental reform is recognized by its discerning observers, as well as those familiar with the inner workings of the organization.
As sitting UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has said, the current system is old, outdated and to some extent irrelevant, as the global geopolitical order has been subjected to a myriad of influences in the world. over the past seven decades, but the UN itself has largely remained the same.
The power structures at the heart of its institutional core, the most visible manifestation of which is the Security Council and the norms that underpin its decision-making process, depend very much on what the world was like in 1945.
NAM: the voice of change
NAM and the possibilities offered by its resources offer a specific angle for examining the stagnant state of the United Nations. The MNA, at first glance, may appear to be suffering from the same situation as the UN, since it was also created in light of the politico-economic conditions prevailing in the post-WWII era.
When the idea for the movement was first conceived in the 1950s, the importance of distancing itself from the big Cold War blocs and adhering to a third way, in conjunction with the “struggle against colonialism” and imperialism ”was at the heart of the thinking of its founders. But NAM is more than that and always has been.
First of all, the Bandung principles, the fundamental principles of the organization, among which mutual respect for the territorial integrity and sovereignty of each other, mutual non-aggression and peaceful coexistence figure prominently. still relevant and fully compliant with the Charter of the United Nations. .
In addition, the movement managed to redefine and reinvent itself over the following decades. The MNA’s unwavering commitment to “multilateralism” and “multilateral diplomacy” enables it to be a powerful voice for more balanced and fairer relations between developed and developing countries.
Third, while the MNA cannot be seen as an alternative to the UN or a panacea for all the pitfalls associated with it, the potential of the movement is not to be underestimated. NAM, made up of 120 members, is a legitimate voice for fundamental reform.
The NAM has long been outspoken in its criticism of current UN structures and power dynamics, saying that a small group of member states have a disproportionate voice on world affairs. It is not surprising that a number of recommendations aimed at strengthening the representation of the “non-aligned”, as well as improving the transparency and democracy of UN decision-making mechanisms, have been made over the years. .
Fourth, in addition to being a source of legitimate and constructive criticism, the large number of members of the MNA allows it to influence the decision-making structures of the United Nations which are currently unreformed.
Azerbaijan was accepted into the NAM in 2011 and became its president in 2019. Its presidency was then extended until 2023, which is a vote of confidence in Baku’s powers as a leading country. It is essential to recognize that Azerbaijan’s presidency in the world’s second largest international forum is not just a matter of prestige. NAM provides tangible political and legal support to Baku on a global scale. Regarding the former Armenian-Azerbaijani conflict in Nagorno-Karabakh, the Movement has been a strong supporter of Azerbaijan, adopting numerous documents espousing its territorial integrity.
The consolidated position of the NAM was manifested in the clearest possible way during the Second Karabakh War, when the three members of the Security Council who are also the Co-Chairs of the OSCE Minsk Group, sought to adopt a declaration concerning the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict without making reference to the famous four resolutions of the Security Council itself adopted in 1993.
The attempt was unsuccessful, due to the intervention of the seven members of NAM (also non-permanent members of the UNSC), who insisted on the inclusion of the resolutions in question, which have long been the cornerstone of the international legal position regarding to protracted conflict.
The episode in question was the moment for a diplomatic check on reality for Baku; it is up to any impartial observer to accept that Azerbaijan rose to the occasion when it needed it.
Azerbaijan: the player strikes above his weight
The Azerbaijani presidency has enabled the NAM to be proactive in solving global problems. On May 4, 2020, at the initiative of Azerbaijan as chairman of the NAM, a high meeting in the form of a contact group in response to COVID-19 was held and, as a follow-up, a new proposal aiming to have a broader debate at the UN level was suggested by President Ilham Aliyev, who eventually received the support of 150 UN members.
A special session of the United Nations General Assembly, which took place later in December 2020, was the result of the mentioned initiative and firmly placed Azerbaijan at the forefront of the fight against the pandemic. global. The extraordinary session was also remarkable, in that when it was proposed, the sovereign state opposing it was Armenia, whose recalcitrant approach served no purpose, reaffirming the moral foundation of Azerbaijan.
As chairman of the NAM, Azerbaijan also raised the troubling issue of “vaccine nationalism” expressed by the unfair distribution of vaccines between developed and developing countries. Since 53 percent of the world’s vaccines are ordered by around 30 rich countries, this militates against equitable access to vaccines globally.
On the whole, the active leadership within the MNA attributed Baku attributes of “medium power”. Azerbaijan’s central role is testament to the ability of a relatively small nation to be able to influence the international response far beyond its presumed reach.
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