Summit Conferences in Havana and New York
an article by David Adams
A week apart in September, two summit conferences of heads of state have been held in Havana and New York. In Havana, the summit conference of the Non-Aligned Movement was held from 11-16 September, and at the United Nations in New York, the annual plenary debate involving heads of state was held from 19-29 September. Both summits supported peace, but the Non-Aligned Summit was more explicit. Peace itself is mentioned 15 times in their final document, including "the right of peoples to peace and development."
In the Non-Aligned document, special reference is made to the role of civil society with a commitment to "enhance the role that civil society, including NGO's, can play at the regional and international levels in order to promote the purposes, principles and objectives of the Movement." Special reference is also made to the dialogue of cultures and civilizations.
The Havana Summit recognized its heritage from the Bandung Conference of 1955, and called for a renewal of the Non-Aligned Movement. It also called for coordination with the "Group of 77" which represents the developing countries at the United Nations.
Perhaps most important was the high level of participation at the Havana summit. Among the 110 participating countries, there were 55 heads of state in attendance. Many of them went on to the opening debate at the United Nations in New York. In fact, while there were fewer Latin American heads of state in Havana (6 compared to 20 in New York), there were 25 heads of state from elsewhere in the world that came to Havana but did not go on to New York.
This is a new day in international affairs. The high level and unity of the Havana Summit counters attempts by the United States and its allies to isolate Cuba and to divide the developing countries. Accounts in the US commercial media such as the New York Times followed the lead of the Bush administration by mentioning only the presence of five or six heads of state opposed to the United States including Venezuela and Iran, while ignoring the presence of another 50 heads of state from other countries including India, Pakistan, Malaysia, Indonesia, Philippines and South Africa.
Details of the Havana Summit are available at http://www.cubanoal.cu/ingles/index.html, while details of the United Nations summit are available at http://www.un.org/webcast/ga/61/index.shtml.
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Once again, as they have done now each year since 2009, the Nobel Women's Initiative provides biographies of 16 women leaders involved in local action for peace and justice around the world, and in particular to stop violence against women. Last year's biographies were listed in the CPNN discussionboard.