NAM to Non-Aligned for Medicine: Changing course of South-South Cooperation

The Global pandemic COVID-19 in the last six months has shaken the world economies leading to a misbalance in their financial markets and creating depredation in their respective healthcare sectors. Today as the world experiences one of the most fatal wide spread of infections and the only thing that is becoming the principle focus of all the countries are healthcare, medicines and vaccinations. The Future of all strategic relations among nations would now be healthcare and research on vaccinations which would, in turn, be the cornerstone of partnerships. Thereby, this article explains Non-Aligned Movement can be renamed as ‘Non-Aligned for Medicine’ and how it could be a pioneer in the field of medicine, vaccination and research paving a way for the human well-being strategic collaboration in the South-South Cooperation.

On 4 May 2020, an online Summit of Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) Contact Group was hosted by the current Chairman of NAM, President of Republic of Azerbajan HE IIham Aliyev discussed the ongoing COVID-19 global pandemic crisis with its theme of “United against COVID-19”. This event also commemorated the International Day of Multilateralism and Diplomacy for Peace. The objective of this Summit was to promote international solidarity in the fight against COVID-19 and to mobilise efforts of the States and international organisations. The NAM Leaders together assessed the impact of the COVID-19 and identified the possible needs and requirements remedies. Further, they urged for an action-oriented follow-up measures. The Leaders also adopted a Declaration underlining the importance of their international solidarity in the fight of the coronavirus and to tackle it, they announced the creation of a ‘Taskforce’ which would help identify the needs and requirements among the member states. They also aimed for the establishment of a common database which would help reflect their basic medical, social and humanitarian needs to fight the deadly coronavirus.

It is important to understand that today due to the deadly coronavirus, the human civilization faces a serious crisis which would be felt for many decades and Non-Aligned Movement can be the only institutions which can genuinely provide and promote global solidarity as it is called the world’s moral voice and it must remain inclusive to honour that. NAM can also help provide a new template of globalisation keeping in mind, the principles of fairness, equality and humanity and promoting human welfare as its primary goal and not focus on economic growth alone which would help represent today’s world. Non Aligned Movement should be renamed to ‘Non Aligned for Medicines promoting health, medical research and human betterment’ which would pave a way for ‘human well-being for strategic collaboration in the South-South Cooperation’.

Non-Aligned for Medicine could further call upon the international community and the World Health Organisation and their paramount focus would be building health capacity in developing countries especially in the South-South countries which would further led to a strategic cooperation of human well-being as it will ensure equitable, affordable and timely accessible health products, vaccinations and technologies for everyone. Also, NAM should be used as a forum for the exchange of one’s experiences and best practices in healthcare and research development which would also help the countries work on health management crisis protocols and provide resources like medicines, medical equipment like gloves, masks and hand sanitisers. By doing all this, Non-Aligned Movement would be reinvigorated as ‘Non-Aligned for Medicines fostering a spirit of togetherness in health, research and well-being’. This could also be termed as the ‘World Medicine and Equipment Bank’ which would help these South-South countries to cooperate with the rest of the world in times of future pandemic and together work to build a platform where countries would be partners in this inclusive and cooperative global response.

Non-Aligned for Medicine could also take cue from India to focus on the well-being of humans through events like the International Day of Yoga which would help to improve physical and mental well-being of all humanity, International Solar Alliance would help heal our planet Earth from all climate change diseases and would also protect ourselves from climate change disaster risks by promoting the Coalition for Disaster Resilient Infrastructure. Most countries are busy investing their time in organising military drills and India, on the contrary has taken the initiative to organise disaster management drills in its region, this could also be a way to learn from India and since, India is being termed as the ‘Pharmacy of the world’ as it has been actively supplying essential medicines to countries hit by COVID-19 and so, India can well be the founding member of the World Medicine and Equipment Bank paving a way for other South-South cooperating countries.

Thereby, it is time that Non Aligned Movement reinvigorated itself as Non-Aligned for Medicine especially in the devastating times of the COVID-19 pandemic and paves the way for a humanitarian aid and cooperation among all nations across the world especially for the South-South Cooperation.

Gitanjali Sinha Roy
Gitanjali Sinha Roy
Gitanjali Sinha Roy is a research associate at the Centre for Security and Strategy Studies (CesCube) and also fellow at the Japan desk at Cescube.