South Bulletin 85, 15 May 2015
Asian-African Summit commemorates 60th anniversary of Bandung Conference
A series of commemorative events including the Asian-African Summit was held in Jakarta and Bandung, Indonesia on 22-24 April 2015 to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the Bandung 1955 Conference, which had set the stage for political solidarity and economic cooperation of the South for decades to come. This special issue of the South Bulletin reports on these events:
- In Bandung, leaders take the same walk and pledge their predecessors did 60 years ago
- Asian-African Summit commemorates 60th anniversary of Bandung Conference
- Indonesian President Attacks Global Injustice in Opening Asian-African Summit and his remarks during the commemorations in Bandung, 24 April
- Asian-African Summit adopts 3 documents
- Asian-African leaders’ speeches deliver a strong message of global justice
- South Centre Statement at Asian-African Summit 2015
- Revisiting the 1955 Bandung Asian-African Conference and its legacy
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In Bandung, leaders take the same walk and pledge their predecessors did 60 years ago
The 60th anniversary of the historic Bandung conference of 1955 was marked by a short but meaningful ceremony on 24 April by top political leaders from Asia and Africa, who took the same walk and made the same pledge their predecessors did. Before that, they concluded a two-day Summit conference in Jakarta.
By Martin Khor
On 24 April, top political leaders of Asian and African countries took a 10 minute walk from an old hotel to another old building, a conference hall. About 300 people were in the same walk on the warm and sunny day.
It didn’t seem anything remarkable or newsworthy. But this was no ordinary walk. Sixty years ago, on this same date, a small but powerful group of men and women took the same walk and then launched a movement that snowballed into a united anti-colonial and post –colonial movement.
They had come to commemorate and celebrate the anniversary of the Bandung conference of Asian and African leaders, all of who had just won Independence or were on the verge of doing so.
The same grand Savoy Homann hotel was where the leaders had stayed in 1955, and they had taken the historic short walk on the Asia Africa Road to the Merdeka Building.
Bandung 24 April 1955 saw giants like the host, President Sukarno of Indonesia, Prime Ministers Chou En Lai of China and Jawaharlal Nehru of India, President Gamal Abdel Nasser of Egypt, U Nu of Burma and some leaders of Africa, coming together to discuss the need for newly independent countries to unite and fight for their common interests.
They adopted the Bandung principles that included respect for national sovereignty and self-determination, equality of all nations and abstention from use of force or exerting pressure on countries.
Bandung 1955 was the first ever meeting of the leaders of developing countries, who pledged to help other countries still under colonialism to complete their independence struggle, and to cooperate to develop their poor economies.
That Bandung spirit led to the formation of the Non Aligned Movement in 1961, and indirectly also led to the Group of 77 in 1964, the two major umbrella organisations of the developing countries.
On 24 April 2015, political leaders from over 40 countries, led by Indonesian President Joko Widodo, and officials from international organisations walked from Savoy Hotel to Merdeka Building and took part in a brief but meaningful commemoration ceremony.
Among the leaders present were the Presidents of China, Zimbabwe and Myanmar, the Prime Ministers of Malaysia, Nepal and Egypt, and the King of Swaziland.
We were told the Merdeka Building had not changed, and the chairs were the same as the ones used 60 years ago.
Widodo invoked the memory of the leadership and spirit of the giants of old, who had pioneered their nations’ independence and forged unity among the newly independent countries.
The leaders present listened to and reaffirmed the Bandung Principles of 1955 which remain valid today, and they signed the new documents that they had just approved during a two day Asian African summit conference in Jakarta preceding the Bandung ceremony.
The apt theme for the Summit was South-South Cooperation for Peace and Prosperity.
President Widodo made a strong speech highlighting the continuing power inequalities and injustices in the world, in which developing countries were still struggling to get their rightful fair share in decision making in world affairs.
Global injustice is obvious, when wealthy nations think they can change the world with their might, when the United Nations is powerless, and the use of force is used without the mandate of the UN and powerful countries ignore the existence of the UN, he said.
Injustice exists when the rich countries refuse to recognise the shifts in world economic power and only recognise the World Bank, IMF and the Asian Development Bank, he added.
“The fate of the global economy cannot be left to these three organisations, we need to build a new world order that is open to new countries. A new and fair global system is needed.”
Widodo also stressed that as the Bandung spirit demanded independence for countries, we are still indebted to the people of Palestine. “We have to struggle with them to give birth to an independent state of Palestine.”
The plight and struggle of Palestinians became a major issue at the Summit. It was obvious that the continuing occupation of Palestine lands and their unfulfilled fight for an independent state was a big piece of “unfinished business” of the Asian African Bandung conference.
A special declaration in support of Palestine was adopted by the conference. Two other documents adopted were the Bandung Message and the Declaration on Re-invigorating the New Asian African Strategic Partnership. They present details of actions that are to be taken to promote more cooperation in economic, health, food security, education and other areas.
President Xi Jinping of China pledged to provide places for 100,000 students and officials in Asia and Africa for education and training in his country over five years.
He put forward several principles, including to seek common ground and be open to one another’s views; expand South-South cooperation; the closing of the North-South gap. He also mentioned the new Chinese initiatives of setting up the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank as well as a new fund to finance the activities of the Economic Silk Road and the Maritime Silk Road.
These initiatives by China was a reminder that with the growing wealth of China and some other emerging economies, there is now a real possibility for the developing countries to help one another in financing their own development.
A new trend in South-South gatherings is that criticism of the ways of the West in dominating the South is now combined with announcements of how the developing countries are organising various ways to rely more on one another, including creating new institutions.
Bandung 1955 was a landmark event that launched many good developments for the newly independent countries.
Bandung 2015 could also prove to be a landmark event that catalyses further breakthroughs in South-South cooperation which together with our better performance in multilateral relations will implement the building of the new world order that our first generation of leaders were dreaming of.
As the Jakarta and Bandung events came to a close, Indonesian officials indicated that they will be undertaking follow-up actions after the Summit. It is important that concrete programmes are formulated, so that the good-intentioned declarations do not remain only on paper but spark new shoots of South-South cooperation.
Martin Khor is the Executive Director of the South Centre. Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
Asian-African Summit commemorates 60th anniversary of Bandung Conference
On 19-24 April 2015, a series of commemorative events including the Asian-African Summit was held to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the Bandung Conference in Jakarta and Bandung hosted by the Indonesian government.
The first Asian-African Conference also known as the Bandung Conference was held on 18-24 April 1955 in Bandung, West Java, Indonesia. The Conference held under the leadership of the governments of Burma (Myanmar), Ceylon (Sri Lanka), India, Indonesia and Pakistan was attended by 29 developing countries and marked a milestone event in the history of developing countries in their struggle against colonialism and to promote South solidarity. The Conference adopted the 10 principles of Bandung, which became the mantra for developing countries’ solidarity and led to many important developments including the establishment of the Non-Aligned Movement, the Group of 77 and the South Commission and South Centre.
By Adriano José Timossi
The Asian-African Summit and other commemorative events on the occasion of the 60th Anniversary of the 1955 Asian-African Conference and the 10th Anniversary of the New Asian-African Strategic Partnership were held on 22-24 April 2015 in Jakarta and Bandung, Indonesia under the theme “Strengthening South-South Cooperation to Promote World Peace and Prosperity”. The commemoration events had a notable high attendance with 91 Asian and African countries, 21 heads of state/government of Asian and African countries, 15 observers and 10 international organizations, including the South Centre. The summit was hosted by Indonesian President Joko Widodo, and co-chaired by Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe, current Chair of the African Union (AU).
The Summit adopted three outcome documents: the Bandung Message 2015, the Declaration on Reinvigorating the New Asian-African Strategic Partnership(NAASP), and the Declaration on Palestine. Commemorations also took place in Bandung on 24 April with a historical walk and speeches at the Gedung Merdeka building.
A series of other important events took place on the side-lines of the conference. On 21 April, over 600 representatives of the Asian-African business community attended a summit at the Jakarta Convention Centre and agreed to establish the Asian-African Business Council to be based in Jakarta. A meeting of over 200 Asian and African Parliamentarians was also organized.
Other important events included the first Asia Africa Smart City Summit, the Asian-African Students Conference and the Bandung Historical Study Games. To celebrate the cultural linkages between Asian and African peoples, a beautiful carnival was also organized with a photo exhibition, parades, concerts, and numerous cultural performances marking with great joy the festivities of the 60 Years of the Asian-African Conference.
Follow-up to the Asian-African Summit
In a press conference, PresidentJoko Widodo said that the Summit has sent out a message to the world that there remain imbalances in the world today, far from fairness and far from peace and in this regard, “the Bandung Spirit remains relevant in today’s context”.
The event also identified concrete steps to promote Asian-African cooperation and established an operational framework for a monitoring mechanism.
The summit highlighted the importance of strengthening South-South cooperation through technical cooperation and capacity building initiatives and programs and measures in this regard are to be undertaken with the example of the decision of establishing an Asian-African Centre in Bandung to boost South-South Cooperation.
Leaders also agreed that all Asian and African Foreign Ministers will meet regularly every two years at the side-lines of the UN General Assembly in New York.
Leaders also declared 24 April as Asian-African Day and Bandung as the capital of Asian-African solidarity.
Adriano José Timossi is Senior Programme Officer of the Global Governance for Development Programme (GGDP) of the South Centre.
Indonesian President Attacks Global Injustice in Opening Asian-African Summit
The Indonesian President, Joko Widodo, attacked the continuation of global injustice, inequality and violence when opening the Asian African Summit in Jakarta on 22 April, in commemoration of the 60th anniversary of the historic Bandung Conference of 1955.
Widodo said global injustice prevails in today’s world when the Palestinians are deprived of a state, when rich countries with 20% of the world’s population consume over 70% of global resources, when a group of rich countries think that they could change the world by the use of force and the United Nations looks on helpless, and when they think the IMF, World Bank, Asian Development Bank still rule the world. Widodo called for a new international order which recognises the role of developing countries. Below is his speech.
On behalf of the people and the government of the Republic of Indonesia, I welcome all of you to Indonesia, the initiator and host of the first Asian-African Conference in 1955.
Sixty years ago, our Founding Father, President Soekarno, proposed the initiative to raise a new awareness among Asian and African nations to claim their right to live as free nations, to refuse injustice, and to oppose imperialism in all of its manifestations.
Sixty years ago, we declared the Asian-African solidarity in our fight for independence, prosperity and justice for our peoples.
That is the flame of the 1955 Asian-African Conference. This is the essence of the Bandung Spirit.
Now, sixty years later. In a different global situation, the colonized nations have gained their sovereignty, but our struggle is far from over.
The world that we inherited today is still fraught with global injustice, inequality and violence.
Our common dream of a new world civilization based on social justice, equality, harmony, and prosperity, has yet to become a reality.
Global injustice and inequality are clearly on display before us.
When the rich nations, which comprise a mere 20 percent of the world’s population, consume 70 percent of the world resources, then global injustice becomes real.
When hundreds of people in the northern hemisphere enjoy the lives of the super rich, while more than 1.2 billion people in the southern hemisphere struggle with less than 2 dollars per day, then global injustice becomes more visible before eyes.
When a group of rich countries think that they could change the world by the use of force, the global inequality clearly brings about misery, of which the United Nations looks helpless.
The use of unilateral force without a clear UN mandate, as we have witnessed, has undermined the existence of our common world body. Therefore, we, the nations of Asia and Africa, demands the UN reform, so that it could function better, as a world body that puts justice for all of us before anything else.
For me, the global injustice feels more suffocating, when the Bandung Spirit, that demanded freedom for all nations of Asia and Africa, still left one outstanding debt for six decades. We, and the world, still owe it to the Palestinians.
The world is helpless before the suffering of the Palestinians, who live in fear and injustice, due to years of occupation.
We cannot turn away from the misery of the Palestinians. We have to continue to fight with them, to support the birth of a free Palestine.
We also feel the global injustice when a group of established nations are reluctant to recognize that the world has changed. The view that the world economic problems can only be solved by the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund, and the Asian Development Bank, in an outdated view.
I am of the view that the management of the global economy cannot be left only to the three international financial institutions. We must build a new global economic order, that is open to new emerging economic powers.
We push for a reform of the global financial architecture, to eliminate the domination of one group of countries over other countries.
The world needs a collective global leadership which is exercised in a just and responsible manner. Indonesia as a new emerging economic force, as a country with the largest Muslim population on earth, and as the third largest democracy, stands ready to play a global role as a positive to fulfil a noble goal.
Today and tomorrow, we gather here in Jakarta to respond to those challenges of global injustice and inequality.
Today and tomorrow, the world awaits our steps in bringing the Asian and African nations to stand in equality with other countries in the world.
We can do all that by bringing the Bandung Spirit down to earth, by contextualizing the three core objectives that our predecessors had fought for sixty years ago.
First, prosperity. We must cooperate closely to eradicate poverty, improve education and health services, promote science and technology, and provide jobs for our people.
Second, solidarity. We must grow together, by increasing and expanding trade and investment between us. We must develop inter-regional economic cooperation between Asia and Africa, by helping each other in strengthening connectivity among us, by building infrastructures that connect our ports, our airports, and our roads. Indonesia will strive to be a maritime bridge that connects the two continents.
Third, internal and external stability, and respect for human rights. We have to ask ourselves, what is wrong with us that many of our countries are plagued by internal and external conflicts that derail our economy.
We must work together to withstand the challenges of violence, conflicts, and radicalism in our society, and respect and protect our people’s rights. We must declare war against illegal drugs that destroy the future of our children.
We must work hard to establish external stability and security which are prerequisites to development in each country. We must cooperate to ensure that our oceans, or seas, are safe for international trade. We hope that no inter-state conflict and dispute is resolved through the use of force.
These are the challenges before us, the solutions of which need to be found during the Asian-African Conference in the next two days.
Allow me to use this forum to express my conviction, that the future of the world rests with the countries around the equator, in our hands, the people of Asia and Africa.
Therefore, in the Name of Allah the Merciful and the Compassionate, Bismillahirrahmanirrahim, I declare the 2015 Asian-African Conference officially open.
May God Bless Us All. Thank You.
Remarks by Joko Widodo at the Commemorations in Bandung, 24 April
Peace be upon us all.
Welcome to Bandung, the city of the fiery spirit against colonialism and injustice.
Decades ago, in this very hall, gathered our forefathers, who had inspired the world.
In this hall, the spirit of the initiator, SOEKARNO, our Great Leader, still echoes;
In this hall, the fighting spirit of the Great Leader JAWAHARLAL NEHRU, stays aflame;
In this hall, the spirit of solidarity from the Great Leader MOHAMMAD ALI BOGRA, remains alive;
In this hall, the noble dream of the Great Leader SIR JOHN KOTELAWALA to bring prosperity to his people still lives among us;
In this hall, the revolutionary perseverance of the Great Leader U NU, still touches our hearts.
INDIA was a dream.
PAKISTAN was a dream.
SRI LANKA was a dream.
MYANMAR was a dream.
INDONESIA was also a dream.
The dream of a free, just, and prosperous life,
The dream which gave birth to the Spirit of Bandung.
In this city, they called for independence, prosperity and justice to the Asian-African nations.
Such was the great vision of our forefathers.
Their dreams were ahead of their times.
Sixty years ago, only 3 African nations took part in the Asian-African Conference.
The representative of Sudan was even present, with a white cloth in his hands with “Sudan” written on it. There was no flag, as they had not gained their independence yet.
The world has changed. The Asian-African Conference this year is attended by 91 states, with the same spirit, against different challenges.
The spirit to bring prosperity to our peoples.
We realize that our dreams will be fulfilled through cooperation, in equal partnership with other countries.
Once again, cooperation on equal footing, with fellows from other countries.
As the President of more than 250 million people, I am well aware that Indonesia has yet to be free of poverty;
Indonesia has yet to reach the level of progress as the developed countries in other parts of the world.
This is also the issue faced by our friends in Asia and Africa.
Therefore, on this august occasion of the 60th Commemoration of the Asian-African Conference,
Let us reignite the Spirit of Bandung.
Let us continue the aspiration of our Leaders 60 years ago.
We need to enhance mutual understanding and attain world peace. All forms of violence must be stopped.
We shall continue our support for Palestine in their struggle for independence.
We must work hand in hand to enhance the welfare of our peoples, through economic and trade relations.
We should work together for equal standing with the developed countries in other parts of the world.
I fervently hope that we will keep the spirit of the Asian-African Conference among us and in our respective countries.
I highly appreciate your active participation in this Asian-African Conference.
Until we meet again in the next Asian-African Conference.
Asian-African Summit adopts 3 documents
The political leaders adopted the Bandung Message 2015, a Declaration on Re-invigorating the New Asian—African Strategic Partnership and a special Declaration on Palestine. Adriano José Timossi reports on the three outcomes.
Bandung Message 2015
The Bandung Message, a political declaration adopted on 24 April in Bandung by the Asian-African leaders focused on prosperity, solidarity and stability. Its most important action point was the leaders welcoming Indonesia’s decision to establish an Asian-African Centre in Indonesia. It will serve as an “institutional support base” of the New Asian-African Strategic Partnership.
The Message reiterated that the Spirit of Bandung, including on self-determination, as enshrined in the Final Communiqué of the 1955 Asian-African Conference remains solid, pertinent and effective as a foundation for nurturing stronger relations among Asian-African countries. After 60 years, the Spirit of Bandung continues to provide guidance to resolve regional and global issues of common concern in accordance with the relevant principles of the Charter of the United Nations.
Leaders expressed their commitment to boost cooperation and to explore innovative and concrete ways and means to strengthen linkages between Asia and Africa, to contribute to regional and global peace and security as well as to promote economic cooperation and trade, to eradicate poverty and achieve sustainable development. Redoubled efforts will be given to revitalise the New Asian-African Strategic Partnership (NAASP) of 2005. In this regard, while recognizing the importance of South-South Cooperation, it was the common view that this framework of cooperation is a manifestation of solidarity among Asian and African countries and a complement to, rather than a substitute for, North South cooperation.
The Message reaffirms Asian-African leaders’ commitment to advance a constructive approach in the promotion and protection of all human rights and fundamental freedoms at relevant international fora based on the principles of universality, transparency, impartiality, objectivity and non-selectivity, respect for cultural values, in accordance with the 1993 Vienna Declaration and Programme of Action. The central role of the United Nations in the achievement and maintenance of international peace and security, as well as advancement of common prosperity based on the purposes and principles contained in the Charter of the United Nations and the spirit enshrined in the Bandung Final Communiqué of 1955, in particular, respect for territorial integrity, sovereignty and political independence of States, refraining from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of States and non-interference in their domestic affairs and repudiation of the use of unilateral coercive measures including sanctions which violate the Charter of the United Nations, is a central part of the Message.
The section on economic and development issues stressed the important role to be played by the two most dynamic regions in the world representing 75% of world population and 30% of global GDP. The important role of trade and investments for both regions was also highlighted as well the impacts of the continuing global financial and economic crises which have caused a decline in trade and investment growth. The message makes a strong call for a development oriented, non-discriminatory and inclusive multilateral trading system that contributes to growth, investment, sustainable development and employment, particularly for developing and least developed countries.
Other issues covered included food security, sustainable infrastructure, the importance of the maritime sector and including the strategic relevance of the Indian and the Pacific Oceans in bridging Asian and African economic advancement. Also included were concerns over vulnerability to the adverse impact of climate change, a call for an inclusive and equitable post-2015 development agenda, which should focus on eradicating poverty and promoting sustainable development and inclusive economic growth and the need for a strengthened international development cooperation including appropriate financing for the implementation of the agenda under the framework of global partnership.
On social and cultural relations the Message underlines the importance of closer international collaboration and coordinated responses to combat epidemics and communicable and infectious diseases. It recognizes the importance of strengthening people to people contacts by facilitating and encouraging interaction and exchange among youth, women, business, intellectuals, scholars, experts, athletes, artists, and media of the two regions. Leaders welcomed the “Bandung declaration of a human rights city”, as signed by the Mayor of Bandung on 2 April 2015 and also, declared Bandung as the capital of Asian-African solidarity and April 24th as Asian-African Day to celebrate Asian-African solidarity, cooperation and partnership to promote world peace and prosperity.
Declaration on Re-invigorating the New Asian-African Strategic Partnership
The declaration reviewed some of the key achievements of the partnership over the past ten years. On peace and security, it reaffirmed commitment to support maintenance of international peace and security under the auspices of the United Nations, particularly through the UN Peacekeeping Operations, where more than 87% of peacekeeping personnel in the field come from Asian-African countries.
The Declaration also emphasized the need to strengthen cooperation in the agricultural sector as part of their future agenda to improve food security, while stressing the importance of sharing knowledge, practices and technologies through collaborative research and development projects, to better the livelihoods of rural communities and small and medium-scale farmers of Asia and Africa.
Countries of the two regions will work together in the development of reliable and affordable infrastructure in order to increase regional connectivity and to boost trade, investment, bankable projects and assistance, industrial development, maritime cooperation, specifically to initiate a forum for SMEs to bridge the gap in energy security, knowledge and technology transfer in Asian-African countries through science, technology and innovation, including cooperation on maritime air transport, roads, energy and telecommunications and easing of travel visa restriction. Special efforts will be made to substantiate the establishment of a forum for small and medium-scaled industries between Asian and African countries.
The Declaration also reiterated that fulfilling the ultimate objective of the UNFCCC will require strengthening the multilateral, rules-based regime under the Convention. They, therefore, further reaffirm their resolve to continue the negotiations on climate change under the Convention and to adopt, at COP-21/CMP-11 UNFCCC, in Paris, in 2015, a protocol, another legal instrument or an agreed outcome with legal force under the Convention applicable to all Parties, and adhering to the principles set out in the Convention, on the basis of equity and common but differentiated responsibilities and respective capabilities in light of different national circumstances.
It also stressed the importance of protection of genetic resources, traditional knowledge and folklore. Therefore, they support the current process under the Intergovernmental Committee on Intellectual Property, Genetic Resources, Traditional Knowledge and Folklore of the World Intellectual Property Organization towards the objective of reaching agreement to ensure the appropriate protection of Traditional Knowledge, Traditional Cultural Expressions and Genetic Resources.
The declaration ended with a series of operational decisions aimed at enhancing the structural and systematic cooperation between the two regions including an Asian-African permanent forum. The key decisions are:
- “Organizing a Commemorative Asian-African Summit every ten years;
- “Consolidating the institutionalized process of the NAASP by rotating the co-chairmanship of NAASP every four years as stipulated in the NAASP Declaration 2005;
- “Organizing biennial ministerial consultations at the sidelines of the UN General Assembly in New York to provide strategic direction for Asian-African partnership;
- “Organizing annual meetings between Co-chairs;
- “Strengthening people-to-people interactions, particularly in business, academia, media, youth and sports as well as civil society. In this regard, we encourage interregional University to University (U to U) cooperation, including the establishment of an Asian-African Academic Forum to strengthen closer collaboration among higher education institutions and academicians in the two regions. We also see the benefits of establishing a network of Asian-African think-tanks to enhance research and assist policy development.”
The Asian-African countries are committed to working together to shape their future, so as to harness the energy of their respective economies and to make a contribution to the long-term development and common prosperity of the two regions.
They will also review the progress of implementation of this Declaration in the next Summit of Asian-African countries.
Declaration on Palestine
A declaration on Palestine with 15 paragraphs was adopted in the Asian-African Summit. Referring to the principle of self- determination as set forth in the Final Communiqué of the Bandung Conference in 1955, and in accordance with the Charter of the United Nations, leaders deplored the fact that sixty years since the Bandung Conference, the Palestinian people remain deprived of their rights, freedom and independence, and that millions of Palestinians are still living under occupation and as refugees, and that this historic injustice continues.
The leaders paid a special tribute to the resilience and steadfastness of the Palestinian people in the face of the illegal Israeli occupation, and reaffirmed their full support of the just struggle of the Palestinian people to regain their inalienable right to self- determination, including the realization of the sovereignty and independence of their State of Palestine with East Jerusalem as its capital, based on the 4 June 1967 borders and relevant United Nations resolutions, as set out in the two-State solution.
They stressed that the only viable solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is an agreement, which ends the illegal Israeli occupation that began in 1967, resolves all permanent status issues – Palestine refugees, Jerusalem, settlements, borders, security and water – and justly fulfils the inalienable rights and legitimate national aspirations of the Palestinian people. And that a just, lasting and comprehensive settlement of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is imperative for achieving peace and security in the region.
The declaration strongly deplored the Israeli military operation in the Gaza Strip in July – August 2014, which caused the tragic loss of Palestinian lives, the majority being civilians, including hundreds of children and women; massive destruction of homes and vital civilian infrastructure; widespread trauma to the civilian population; and the dramatic deterioration of socio-economic and humanitarian conditions of the Palestinian citizens in the Gaza Strip. In this regard it appealed for a rapid and full disbursement of pledges made at the Cairo Conference on Palestine: Reconstructing Gaza to alleviate the humanitarian disaster and support urgently needed economic recovery and reconstruction.
The declaration concluded by calling for continued efforts to support and assist the Palestinian people in the realization of their right to self-determination, independence and freedom without delay. Leaders of Asian-African countries expressed their hope that Palestine’s application for full membership in the United Nations will be considered favourably. In light of the latest recognitions of the State of Palestine by a number of countries and Parliaments, they called upon the countries, which have not yet recognized the State of Palestine to do so to ensure that the freedom and independence of all Asian and African nations are comprehensive and complete.
Asian-African leaders’ speeches deliver a strong message of global justice
For two days, political leaders from Asia, Africa and also a Latin-American country made speeches at the Summit. The following are extracts from some of these speeches.
Robert Mugabe, President of Zimbabwe, Chair of the African Union (AU) and co-Chair of the Asian African Conference 2015
Our presence here is evidence of our shared desire and common commitment to expand, deepen, and solidify, the new partnership between Africa and Asia, that we agreed upon ten years ago. We have to admit, though, that we need to put in more extra efforts into this new partnership, if we are to attain its ambitions.
For a start, we will have to adhere by the operational framework that we are going to adopt at this meeting. In addition, we will have to go beyond mere intentions, important and essential as they may be, to the vitality of the new partnership, to the stage we actually implement projects of cooperation.
The countries of our two regions have awakened to the fact that we should be no longer consigned to the role of exporters of primary goods and importers of finished goods, a role that had historically been assigned to us by the colonial powers. In Asia, you have made much more remarkable progress in transforming your economies to become producers of manufactured goods and processed goods than we have in Africa. That wave of economic transformation, anchored on adding value to and beneficiating our divinely endowed natural resources, is also sweeping across Africa, taking root in many countries.
We are convinced that, in the framework of the NAASP, there is unlimited room for sustainable and mutually beneficial practical cooperation between ourselves and our Asian friends.
Beyond information sharing and technical cooperation programmes, we would want to establish joint ventures, between ourselves, that can produce not just more products, but more products of better quality. Such joint industrial ventures would also be taken in an integrated manner that benefits not only Zimbabwe, but also other countries in the region, with whom we enjoy many synergies and complementarities.
One of the critical factors in ensuring the success and sustainability of the envisaged economic transformation and integration in Africa is the development of modernised and integrated infrastructure on the continent. In recognition of this, the African Union has adopted a Programme for Infrastructure Development in Africa (PIDA) composed, at present, of sixteen inter-regional projects…The programme offers yet other immense opportunities and possibilities for concrete, practical cooperation between our two regions.
I am informed that in less than two months a Continental Business Network will be launched in Africa…As the Network will encompass both African and global business andfinancial bodies, itisourhopethatAsiaprivate sectormemberswillparticipate in the Network andteamupwith their African counterparts in bringing better, more modern andmoreefficientinfrastructuretothecontinent. A more productive and better connected Africa will be a stronger partnerforandwithAsia.
African and Asian countries are a formidable force, in numerical terms, at the multilateral level. Yet, that numerical strength counts for little, when it comes to the running and control of the multilateral system. In the UN, the voice of the five permanent members of the Security Council carries more weight than that of the rest of us, the majority. Our calls for a reform of the Security Council review have yielded nothing so far. We must remobilise for success. One of the essential ingredients in doing so will be the strengthening of our unity in continuing to fight for a UN that recognises all its members as equal partners, not only in terms of the Charter, but more crucially, in practice.
Our unity is founded on the enduring ten principles of the Bandung Conference. But, that unity cannot thrive of itself. We have to act it out by being faithful to, and being advocates of those principles in our actions and in our pronouncements.
I am glad that at the conclusion of this Summit, we will adopt a declaration on reinvigorating our new partnership. Let us reinvigorate it in solidarity, in friendship, and in concrete cooperation for the greater benefit of the peoples of our two regions, regions that are linked by history and geography, and enriched by the diversity of our cultures.
Xi Jinping, President of China
Sixty years ago, leaders from 29 Asian and African countries attended the Bandung Conference, giving birth to the Bandung Spirit of solidarity, friendship and cooperation, galvanizing the national liberation movement that swept across Asia, Africa and Latin America, and accelerating the global process of decolonization. On the basis of the Five Principles of Peaceful Co-existence, the Conference put forth the ten principles for the handling of state-to-state relations, which played a historic role in charting the right course for international relations, advancing Asia-Africa and South-South cooperation, and promoting North-South cooperation. The Bandung Conference, indeed, stands as a major milestone for the solidarity and cooperation between Asian and African peoples.
The Bandung Spirit under the new circumstances retains strong vitality. We must carry forward the Bandung Spirit by enriching it with new elements consistent with changing times, by pushing for a new type of international relations featuring win-win cooperation, by promoting a more just and equitable international order and system, and by building a community of common destiny for whole humanity so as to bring about even greater benefits to the people in Asia, Africa and other parts of the world. To this end, I wish to make the following proposals:
First, we should deepen Asian-African cooperation. As important cradles of human civilization, the two continents are home to three quarters of the world population, and boast more than half of the UN member states. Asian-African cooperation is acquiring a global dimension of growing importance. In the face of new opportunities and new challenges, Asian and African countries need to hold on to their tradition of sharing weal and woe, seize the opportunities and meet the challenges together, and push Asian-African cooperation constantly to a higher level, so that we will always stay as good friends, good partners and good brothers.
As an African proverb goes, “One single pillar is not sufficient to build a house.” In China, we have an old saying, which reads, “The going is difficult when doing it alone; the going is made easier when doing it with many others.” By working closely together, Asian and African countries will gain far more than what their combined strengths could produce. We need to follow a win-win approach for common development, align our development strategies, enhance infrastructure connectivity, promote result-oriented cooperation in industry, agriculture, human resources development and other fields, and cultivate such new bright spots of cooperation as green energy, environment and e-commerce so as to translate the economic complementarity of the two continents into a collective driving force for their development. We should deepen regional and sub-regional cooperation, make better use of the existing mechanisms, build new cooperation platforms when conditions allow to advance trade and investment liberalization and facilitation, and promote a new architecture of wide-ranging, multi-levelled and all-dimensional Asian-African cooperation.
Second, we should expand South-South cooperation. Mr. Deng Xiaoping, the chief architect of China’s reform and opening-up, once said that South-South cooperation was such a well-put term that we must give whoever invented it a big medal. Indeed, developing countries in their large numbers are all faced with the common mission of accelerating development and improving people’s lives. They ought to look to one another for comfort and come to each other’s aid in times of difficulty. And they should actively carry out cooperation across the board to realize their respective development blueprints. A successful Asian-African cooperation will set a good and important example for South-South cooperation in other parts of the world.
Enhanced South-South cooperation calls for more effective institutions and mechanisms. It is important to make good use of the Non-Aligned Movement, the Group of 77 and other groupings, strengthen cooperation platforms such as the Conference on Interaction and Confidence-Building Measures in Asia (CICA) and BRICS, encourage dialogue and exchanges among regional organizations of developing countries and explore new frameworks for South-South cooperation. In this connection, China supports Indonesia’s initiative of establishing an Asia-Africa Center. It is necessary to increase the representation and voice of the developing countries in the various international systems, guide the negotiations on the post-2015 development agenda so that they will focus more on addressing the difficulties and challenges of the developing countries, especially African countries and the least developed countries, and safeguard more effectively the legitimate rights and interests of the developing countries.
Third, we should advance North-South cooperation. The Bandung Spirit is not only relevant to Asian-African cooperation and South-South cooperation, it also provides important inspiration and useful reference for greater North-South cooperation. Balanced global development will remain elusive if a group of countries is allowed to get richer and richer while another group gets trapped in prolonged poverty and backwardness. From the strategic perspective of building a community of common destiny for mankind, North-South relations are not merely an economic and development issue but one that bears on the whole picture of world peace and stability.
Helping developing countries to achieve development so as to close the North-South gap is the bounden responsibility and obligation of the developed countries. It is important to prod developed countries to earnestly deliver on their ODA commitments, step up their support for developing countries with no political strings attached, and build a more fair and balanced new global development partnership by strengthening the developing countries’ capacity for independent development. It is also important to uphold and promote an open world economy, build fair, equitable, inclusive and rules-based international economic and financial systems, and create a sound external environment favorable for the development of developing countries.
It is necessary to abandon such outdated thinking as Cold War mentality and zero-sum game, champion the new vision for common, comprehensive, cooperative and sustainable security, and settle conflicts and disputes peacefully through dialogue and consultation. Concerted efforts should be made to address non-traditional security issues and meet global challenges such as terrorism, public health hazards, cyber security and climate change, so as to build a community of common destiny, find a new path featuring security by all, of all and for all, and work together for lasting peace and stability in regions and around the world.
Under the new circumstances, China will stay firmly committed to closer Asian-African cooperation. Having already signed with eight of its neighbors the treaty of good-neighborliness, friendship and cooperation, China is ready to do the same with the rest of its neighboring countries. China will step up peace and security cooperation with African countries with a view to enhancing their capacity for peacekeeping, counter-terrorism, and counter-piracy operations. China is ready to carry out production capacity cooperation with Asian and African countries, helping African countries with the building of high-speed rail, expressway and regional aviation networks and facilitating the industrialization process in Asia and Africa. By the end of this year, China will extend zero-tariff treatment to 97% of tax items from all the least developed countries having diplomatic ties with China. And China will continue to provide assistance to developing countries without political conditions. China will work with all parties in the building of the Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road, managing well the launch of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) and making proper use of the Silk Road Fund. China will join the relevant countries in improving ASEAN Plus China, the China-Arab States Cooperation Forum, the Shanghai Cooperation Organization and other cooperation platforms, and ensuring the success of the 6th Ministerial Conference of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation to be held in South Africa later this year. China will continue to promote South-South cooperation and North-South cooperation, working with other countries to secure peace and stability at regional and global levels and achieve common development and prosperity.
I would like to announce here that in the next five years, China will offer 100,000 training opportunities for candidates from developing countries in Asia and Africa and host the annual Asia-Africa Youth Festival, inviting a total of 2,000 Asian and African youth to China. China will set up a China-Asia and Africa cooperation center to further exchanges and cooperation among Asian and African countries. China will launch a program for exchanges and research on international law between China and the Asian-African Legal Consultative Organization. And China will host an international seminar this year themed on the Bandung Spirit. Your active participation in the event will be greatly appreciated.
No matter how developed it may become and how much the international landscape may change, China will remain a reliable friend and sincere partner to the developing countries. This bedrock of China’s foreign policy has not and will never change.
According to the traditional Chinese calendar, every 60 years form a cycle. That brings Asian-African cooperation of 60 years to a new starting point. The past six decades saw China and countries in Asia and Africa stand together, rain or shine, with a relationship that flows as vigorous as the mighty Yangtze, Solo and Nile rivers. Looking ahead, we should carry forward the Bandung Spirit and make our dream for rejuvenated Asia and Africa come true. In so doing, we can bring more benefits to our people and contribute more to the lofty cause of peace and development for mankind.
Hassan Rouhani, President of Iran
The commemoration of the sixtieth anniversary of the historical Bandung Conference, which coincides with the tenth anniversary of the New Asian-African Strategic Partnership, is indeed a unique opportunity to pay homage to the founders of this valuable initiative – an initiative which prospered within the framework of the Non-Aligned Movement and resulted in the voices of South Countries to be heard at international level and in improvement of their role as an influential force in establishing international peace, security and development, and for the first time, the fight against colonialism and racism was clearly inscribed on the agenda of the international community.
Although at present era the world has undergone enormous changes, the Bandung principles and values should remain on the agenda of global diplomacy. Let’s not allow Bandung cry to fade away in the corridors of profit-seeking politics. Let’s not allow Bandung principles and values to be undermined. Let’s not allow violence, aggression, terrorism and extremism to spread easily all across the world and shed the blood of the innocents.
Terrorism and extremism are now widespread in many parts of Asia and Africa. Extremist terrorists, particularly in Iraq and Syria and some African countries, resort to the most barbaric methods to kill innocent women, men and children on a daily basis for their own vicious and anti-human political interest and to destroy the infrastructure of these countries. Extremists enjoy the intelligence, logistic and financial support of some regional and international players to achieve their illegitimate goals; this is while, their sponsors ignore the fact that the continuation of instability in the crisis-hit areas will bring insecurity throughout the whole world including their own countries.
Continued crises and conflicts which have been intensified with foreign military intervention have created humanitarian catastrophe in the crisis-hit areas.
The present unfortunate conditions in Yemen and Syria are clear examples of this situation. History has demonstrated that military intervention is not a proper response to these crises and will instead exacerbate the situation. We believe that sustainable peace can prevail if military intervention is ceased and proper conditions are prepared for talks and dialogue among all political groups. We remind the international community of its grave responsibility in this respect.
Along the same line, the policy of occupation and expansion undertaken by the aggressive Zionist regime, executed through physical and structural violence, has led to systematic and massive violation of the rights of Palestinians. This constitutes a serious threat to regional and international peace and security.
History shows that conflict and insecurity creates poverty and underdevelopment. This is an important challenge facing the developing and the least developed countries. In spite of national efforts to alleviate and eradicate poverty, development cooperation has yet to achieve the desired level of economic development in the poor countries.
Moreover, the developed countries have either failed to fulfill or conditionalized their international commitments in the areas of financing and technology transfer. The international economic and financial architecture also suffers from structural weaknesses. This has prevented effective participation of the developing countries in the major decision making processes of these organizations.
We still are far from a multilateral, rule-based, non-discriminatory and inclusive financial and trade system, in favor of assisting increased investment, development and sustainable employment in developing and the least developed countries. Therefore, structural reforms in this system are quite necessary. Non-discriminatory participation of all countries in international and regional financial and banking institutions and processes is an indispensible part of this structural reform.
Multilateralism is another Bandung Conference principle which is also a significant human achievement in the fight against arrogant unilateralism. Resort to coercive measures such as the imposition of economic sanctions against independent states is a manifestation of such an attitude. The illegal and unjust sanctions against the peaceful nuclear program of the Islamic Republic of Iran are a prime example of this dangerous approach.
Inspired by the principles of Bandung Conference and Islamic precepts, we will try, at this stage, to promote regional cooperation and interactions among neighbors in order to strengthen peace, tranquility and stability as prelude to economic development and eradication of poverty and underdevelopment.
Under such a framework, the Islamic Republic of Iran is prepared to strike partnership with its neighbors including its Arab neighbors. In this respect, we emphasize on the establishment of regional peace to stop killing and bloodshed in Yemen and other countries of the region, as in the new international order, cooperation and partnership are fundamental.
As the Chair of the Non-Aligned Movement, I have the privilege and the honor to say how satisfying it is to be present in this summit meeting. This Movement, as the biggest diplomatic achievement of recent decades, believes that the strong foundation of this strategic partnership led to the strengthening of Asian African countries and other developing areas in many fields and enabled them to play a more important role at international level. Considering the current conditions of the world politics, it is now our duty to realize the Bandung principles in action. On such a basis, we need to accelerate and strengthen the link and cohesion between Asia and Africa.
Cyril Ramaphosa, Deputy President of South Africa
The year 2015 marks the confluence of both the 60th anniversary of the spirit of Bandung and the adoption of South Africa’s premier document, the Freedom Charter, and the 70th anniversary of the United Nations.
60 years ago in 1955, as the shackles of colonialism were being cast off, the founding fathers of our liberation movements of Africa and Asia convened in Bandung. They gathered here in Indonesia to reflect on the role of emerging nations in securing peace in the global arena, achieving economic development, and assigning colonialism and racism to the dustbin of history.
The core principles of the spirit of the Bandung Conference were political self-determination, mutual respect for sovereignty, non-aggression, non-interference in internal affairs and equality. While we celebrate that much of the noble ideals of Bandung have been accomplished, we must guard against complacency. The spirit of Bandung remains unrealized until we universally eradicate poverty, underdevelopment, inequality, extremism and racial and gender discrimination.
South Africa’s international relations philosophy is premised on the principles of the Freedom Charter launched on 26 June 1955 by the African National Congress, a few months after the return of our two delegates from the Bandung Conference. Our Freedom Charter demands that “There shall be peace and friendship”.
The plight of the Palestinian people remains a blight on our collective conscience. It is incumbent that we redouble our efforts to bring peace to that troubled Holy Land and have two independent and viable states of Palestine and Israel existing in peace with each other and with the whole world.
This year also marks the 70th anniversary of the formation of the United Nations. As we observe this milestone, the world remains confronted by the challenges of unequal development and conflict in many regions and within states. A further challenge is that the multilateral financial and political institutions remain untransformed.
In this connection, South Africa adds its voice to the calls made at this historic gathering to fast-track the transformation of the global governance system. This particularly applies to the United Nations Security Council. We need to reflect on the importance of an inclusive, transparent, reformed, strengthened, and effective multilateral system that is able to better address the urgent global challenges of sustainable development today.
The reform that urgently needs to be implemented must reflect the realities of the new global paradigm.
Let me once again express our sincere gratitude to the Government and People of Indonesia for your hospitality during our time here. I also wish to extend a personal word of gratitude to President Joko Widodo, for his visionary leadership in convening this special occasion.
I commend you on this great initiative, which is testament once more of the strong solidarity that exists between the Governments and People of Africa and Asia.
Long Live the Spirit of Bandung. Long Live the Africa – Asia Solidarity!
Jorge Arreaza, Vice President of Venezuela (Abridged from TeleSUR English)
The third world countries of Asia, Africa and Latin America should form an alliance in order to “end imperialist domination,” according to the Venezuelan vice-president, Jorge Arreaza. Arreaza made the proposal for a third world alliance during a speech at the Asian-African Summit in Indonesia in April. Speaking as a special Latin American representative, Arreaza told the audience that the alliance was necessary to overthrow imperialism and end the unipolar system imposed on southern nations throughout the years. “The alliance between Asia, Africa and Latin America today is not only necessary, it is indispensable,” said Arreaza. “From the South, we will determine, freely, the future of the world for the people.” The vice president also reminded the audience that former Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez also advocated strongly for a need for the three continents to unite in order to fight against harmful western policies and forms of control. “Today is not, as then, simply about not being aligned with power and a sphere of influence. Today, the challenge is much greater… That is, to not be aligned with injustice, … and to fight against wars, disrespect for international law, and to fight against colonialism in all its forms, combat hunger, to not be aligned with discrimination nor domination in all its forms,” said Arreaza. As an example of third world unity, Arreaza reiterated Venezuela’s solidarity with Palestine, which has experienced significant oppression under Israel’s expansionist policies.
Sushma Swaraj, External Affairs Minister of India
This Summit is a tribute to the momentous Bandung Conference which arose out of the meeting of minds of the visionary leaders of Asia and Africa. The Bandung Conference itself inherited the mantle of the Asian Relations Conference of 1947 and the Conference of Asian and African Nations of 1949. These meetings had crystallized the ethos and values of our two continents. In the last 60 years the Bandung spirit has remained a source of inspiration for the leaders of Asia and Africa in their quest for world peace and cooperation.
Let me take this opportunity to share my thoughts on five issues faced by Asia and Africa today. I firmly believe that we all need to work together on these issues in this century.
First, Development: Although the pace of socio-economic development in Asia and Africa has acquired momentum, huge infrastructural investments are required to make food and energy accessible to all. We shall need to adapt technologies, increase efficiencies and introduce innovations. Given our similar developmental needs we have much to learn from each other in meeting our developmental goals.
Second, Security: The rise of extremist violence and terrorism has been one of the most disturbing security phenomena and several parts of our two continents are victim to a medley of terrorist groups. The ISIS has emerged as a cause of grave concern in the last year. We must be resolute in countering this scourge that challenges our civilization.
Third, Capacity Building: Education and skills are vital to provide gainful employment and make our population contributing elements of society. India, Africa and several Asian countries are young countries which need more attention to the capacity building approach. The Bandung Conference underscored the need for developing countries to reduce their economic dependence on the industrialized nations by providing technical assistance to one another. As we commemorate the 60th anniversary of that Conference we need to once again pledge to strengthen our technical and economic cooperation.
Fourth, Maritime dimension: Maritime security is a matter of concern. We have worked together to combat piracy in the Malacca Straits and the Gulf of Aden, yet the threat remains due to political instability, poverty and lack of development in parts of our region. The Indian Ocean’s importance as an active trade route will grow in the future. As we embark upon the concept of Blue Economy as a new pillar of development, it becomes even more important to secure our seas.
Fifth, New global order: The Bandung spirit for a just and equitable order continues. Asia and Africa are both in consonance to reorder international institutions and reform the UN and its Security Council as also other institutions, where our voices are not being heard. We need more cohesive action on this and India is ready to play its due role in the new world order.
South Centre Statement at Asian-African Summit 2015
The South Centre was invited as an observer organisation to the Asian-African Summit. The following is the speech by the Centre’s Executive Director Martin Khor at the Summit’s plenary on 23 April 2015.
The South Centre is very appreciative of the wonderful initiative and great efforts by the government and people of Indonesia for hosting this Asian-African Summit in commemoration of the 60th anniversary of the 1955 Asian-African Conference held in Bandung, and for inviting the South Centre to attend this extraordinary and important gathering of countries of the South.
I bring the warm greetings from our Chair, H.E. Benjamin Mkapa, former President of the United Republic of Tanzania, the members of the Board, and the Secretariat of the South Centre.
This year’s Asian-African Summit is a fitting follow-up to the 1955 Bandung Asian-African Conference, which marked the first attempt at multilateral cooperation between developing countries “on the basis of mutual interest and respect for national sovereignty”. The Bandung Conference brought together the generation of gifted and courageous Asian and African leaders who had won or were in the middle of winning their battles of independence. The final communiqué from Bandung in 1955 contained the 10 principles of the “Bandung Spirit”, containing the basic principles for South-South cooperation in the South’s efforts to promote peace and cooperation in the world. These principles remain as valid as ever in today’s world which is in economic and political turmoil.
The solidarity that the Bandung conference leaders forged then was to later give rise to the Non Aligned Movement and the Group of 77, the two big umbrella bodies under which the developing countries have been putting forward joint positions and participate in many international fora in which they face their former colonial masters, now known as the North.
The rationale for developing countries grouping together is still as relevant today as 60 years ago. There are still some nations that are struggling to be born. It is thus fitting that this Summit has highlighted the plight of the Palestinians and supported their long-standing battle against occupation and suppression and for an independent state.
Though there has been some progress in the economies of developing countries, much of this progress was in the one and half decades since 2000. However the rather high growth rates in these years may be seen to be quite exceptional due to high demand from the advanced economies plus the new increased demand from some emerging economies. This resulted in high demand and high prices of commodities, which is the main reason why many developing countries, which are still commodity dependent, were able to enjoy high economic growth.
This commodity dependence was covered up when there was a commodity boom since 2000 but the dangers and weaknesses of relying on commodities is once again haunting the developing world, now that the developed countries are suffering from an economic slowdown. It is thus imperative to address again the problem of commodities, the fluctuating demand and the need for stable and decent prices, and also the need to add value to raw materials and to climb the manufacturing ladder based first on natural resources.
Another major problem is the liberalisation of capital flows. In the Bretton Woods era, capital could move only if they were linked to trade and foreign direct investment flows. But with financial liberalisation starting in OECD countries and then more recently taking place in developing countries, there has been a tremendous upsurge in capital flows arising from funds searching higher yields. Thus many developing countries have endured massive inflows and now outflows of short term and speculative capital, with resulting volatile fluctuations in exchange rates, and in drawdown of their foreign reserves.
The current crisis situation reveals that the much touted “convergence” between developing economies and developed countries is not really taking place or at least not fast enough. Most developing countries are still dependent on the performance of developed countries and their institutions and funds.
Meanwhile, developed countries still control the levers of the financial, monetary and economic systems. The IMF and World Bank remain under their control, with the promises for governance reform (changes in quotas) being unfulfilled, and the leadership of these two institutions still remain in the ambit of the US and Europe. In other words, the global economic institutions and structures are still dominated by developed countries, whilst of course global military power resides in the same ex colonial masters.
There is still need for developing countries to coordinate among themselves and cooperate in the trade, investment and financial and technological areas, as they are still dependent on the major countries; they still have common interests which they have to defend and promote. The forms of dependence and subjugation may have changed in some ways but the reality remains: though the developing countries won political independence, the goal of decolonisation still remains to be fulfilled.
Thus it is opportune that Indonesia is organising a commemoration of Bandung 1955, as a reminder to Asia and Africa as well as Latin America that the battles they began 60 years ago for economic decolonisation remain relevant and as valid as ever. The financial and economic systems of the world have become more complex and sophisticated, including the new financial instruments that are difficult to understand let alone regulate, and the developing world is at the receiving end of their workings. For the South, the struggles that started at Bandung 1955 and later at the establishment of NAM and the G77 still are being waged by their successors today.
The South Centre was established by the leaders of developing countries as an intergovernmental think tank of the South to undertake research and organise meetings to back up developing countries when they negotiate with developed countries in multilateral negotiations. The Centre also provides advice on national development policies. We are involved in the issues of trade agreements, investment agreements, intellectual property and technology transfer, climate change, biodiversity and sustainable development, access to medicines, food security, the global economy and the international financial system and the right to development, and social and economic rights.
We support the opening address of the Indonesian President which pointed out the on-going and even worsening inequalities in the international systems, and his call for establishing a new world order where the developing countries have an equal say and enjoy their fair share of the benefits.
In this new and more equitable world order, the developing countries will be able to contribute to the solutions to the multiple crises of global finance and economy, food security, unfulfilled social development, energy and climate change. The developed countries will change their unsustainable patterns of production and consumption, and assist the developing countries through financial resources and technology transfer to embark on new sustainable development pathways.
South-South cooperation, based on solidarity and mutual benefits, will play an increasingly important role. There is much to be done politically and concretely in this area. It is noteworthy that this Asian-African Summit’s theme is strengthening South-South cooperation to promote world peace and prosperity.
The South Centre pledges its support to the Asian-African conference and its follow up process, as part of its support to the developing countries. We will be pleased to provide assistance and support for the plans, activities and mechanisms that will result from the outcomes of this Summit.
Bandung 1955 was a landmark event that launched many good developments for the newly independent countries. We believe that Jakarta and Bandung 2015 could also prove to be a landmark event that catalyses the further development and breakthroughs in South-South cooperation which together with our better performance in multilateral relations will implement the building of the new world order that our first generation of leaders were dreaming of.
Revisiting the 1955 Bandung Asian-African Conference and its legacy
The Bandung conference of 1955 was the result of political vision and meticulous planning. It marked the first ever summit-level meeting of independence leaders. It had an extremely important legacy, sparking organisations of developing countries like the NAM and the G77.
By Adriano José Timossi
On April 18-24, 1955, leaders of Asian and African countries gathered in a historic meeting in Bandung, Indonesia. They included Premiers Chou En-Lai of China, Jawaharlal Nehru of India, U Nu of Burma, President Gamal Abdel Nasser of Egypt besides President Sukarno of Indonesia, and leaders from Liberia, Sudan, Gold Coast, Jordan, Iran, Ceylon, Nepal, Pakistan and Philippines. The meeting of these leaders was a key point in the history of developing countries that gave rise to the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) and the concept of the Third World or the South. At the start of the Cold War between the West and the former Soviet Union, the leaders of the developing countries gathered in Bandung asked for an alternative way of just global governance and global justice, to achieve greater social and economic development for their people, and to continue the process of political and economic decolonization.
Sukarno’s Opening Speech
In his opening speech at the first Asian-African Conference, President Sukarno of Indonesia recognized that the gathering of the leaders of the 29 Asian-African independent countries was a result of the sacrifices made by their forefathers and by the people of their own and younger generations. “The hall was filled not only by the leaders of the nations of Asia and Africa but also contained within its walls the undying, the indomitable, the invincible spirit of those who went before them”, he said. Their struggle and sacrifice paved the way for this meeting of the highest representatives of independent and sovereign nations from two of the biggest continents of the globe. In a historic event, Asian and African peoples were meeting together to discuss and deliberate upon matters of common concern to them.
Sukarno stated that the burden of the delegates attending the Conference was not a light one. “For many generations our peoples have been the voiceless ones in the world. We have been the unregarded, the peoples for whom decisions were made by others whose interests were paramount, the peoples who lived in poverty and humiliation. Then our nations demanded, nay fought for independence, and achieved independence, and with that independence came responsibility. We have heavy responsibilities to ourselves, and to the world, and to the yet unborn generations. But we do not regret them”.
Below are some extracts of his speech:
“We are often told ‘Colonialism is dead’. Let us not be deceived or even soothed by that. I say to you, colonialism is not yet dead. How can we say it is dead, so long as vast areas of Asia and Africa are unfree. And, I beg of you do not think of colonialism only in the classic form which we of Indonesia, and our brothers in different parts of Asia and Africa, knew. Colonialism has also its modern dress, in the form of economic control, intellectual control, actual physical control by a small but alien community within a nation. It is a skilful and determined enemy, and it appears in many guises. It does not give up its loot easily. Wherever, whenever and however it appears, colonialism is an evil thing, and one which must be eradicated from the earth.
“If this Conference succeeds in making the peoples of the East whose representatives are gathered here understand each other a little more, appreciate each other a little more, sympathise with each other’s problems a little more – if those things happen, then this Conference, of course, will have been worthwhile, whatever else it may achieve. But I hope that this Conference will give more than understanding only and goodwill only – I hope that it will falsify and give the lie to the saying of one diplomat from far abroad: “We will turn this Asian-African Conference into an afternoon-tea meeting”.
“I hope that it will give evidence of the fact that we Asian and African leaders understand that Asia and Africa can prosper only when they are united, and that even the safety of the World at large cannot be safeguarded without a united Asia-Africa. I hope that this Conference will give guidance to mankind, will point out to mankind the way which it must take to attain safety and peace. I hope that it will give evidence that Asia and Africa have been reborn, nay, that a New Asia and a New Africa have been born!
“Our task is first to seek an understanding of each other, and out of that understanding will come a greater appreciation of each other, and out of that appreciation will come collective action. Bear in mind the words of one of Asia’s greatest sons: “To speak is easy. To act is hard. To understand is hardest. Once one understands, action is easy”. Let us remember that the highest purpose of man is the liberation of man from his bonds of fear, his bonds of human degradation, his bonds of poverty – the liberation of man from the physical, spiritual and intellectual bonds which have for too long stunted the development of humanity’s majority.”
The other 28 leaders also spoke eloquently in calling for unity among Asian and African countries and for greater solidarity, self-determination, mutual respect for sovereignty, non-aggression, non-interference in internal affairs, and equality.
The Bandung Final Communiqué 1955
The Final Communiqué of the 1955 Bandung Asian-African Conference provided the basis for South-South cooperation with concrete proposals for promoting economic, political, technological, cultural spheres. It declared full support of the fundamental principles of human rights as set forth in the Charter of the United Nations and took note of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights as a common standard of achievement for all peoples and all nations in a moment in history when many South nations were still under Western colonial rule.
The communiqué deplored all forms of racial segregation and discrimination. In declaring support for the cause of freedom and independence for all peoples it also deplored colonialism, in all its manifestations.
The communiqué took note that several States had still not been admitted to the United Nations, and that for effective cooperation and world peace, membership in the United Nations should be universal. The leaders also considered that representation of Asian and African countries in the UN Security Council, in relation to the principle of equitable and geographical distribution, was inadequate, as it is today. The right to self-determination, stated the communiqué, should be enjoyed by all peoples.
The Ten Bandung Principles enunciated in 1955 continue to be as relevant today as it was 60 years ago and in the decades since. These are as follows:
“Free from mistrust and fear, and with confidence and goodwill towards each other, nations should practice tolerance and live together in peace with one another as good neighbours and develop friendly cooperation on the basis of the following principles:
“1. Respect for fundamental human rights and for the purposes and the principles of the Charter of the United Nations.
“2. Respect for the sovereignty and territorial integrity of all nations.
“3. Recognition of the equality of all races and of the equality of all nations large and small.
“4. Abstention from intervention or interference in the internal affairs of another country.
“5. Respect for the right of each nation to defend itself singly or collectively, in conformity with the Charter of the United Nations.
“6. (a) Abstention from the use of arrangements of collective defense to serve the particular interests of any of the big powers,
(b) Abstention by any country from exerting pressures on other countries.
“7. Refraining from acts or threats of aggression or the use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any country.
“8. Settlement of all international disputes by peaceful means, such as negotiation, conciliation, arbitration or judicial settlement as well as other peaceful means of the parties’ own choice, in conformity with the Charter of the United Nations.
“9. Promotion of mutual interests and cooperation.
“10. Respect for justice and international obligation.”
The 1955 Bandung communiqué concluded by expressing its conviction that friendly cooperation in accordance with the 10 Principles of Bandung would effectively contribute to the maintenance and promotion of international peace and security, while cooperation in the economic, social and cultural fields would help bring about the common prosperity and well-being of all.
What has the Bandung spirit achieved in 60 years?
In the six decades after the 1955 Bandung Conference that gave rise to the “Bandung Spirit” of South-South cooperation, decolonization has for the most part taken place, with most developing countries now independent. The basic principles of Bandung, namely, mutual interest, solidarity and respect for national sovereignty, continue to play important roles in shaping and guiding the relations of developing countries with each other. Developing countries have also joined the United Nations and actively developed different regional and multilateral South-South institutions to defend and promote their common interests in the various multilateral negotiating processes. The “Bandung Spirit” continues to animate and motivate the spirit of South-South cooperation, as can be seen in the fact that the recent 60th anniversary commemoration of the 1955 Bandung Conference saw over 100 developing countries from Asia, Africa, and Latin America participating.
More importantly, the 1955 Bandung Conference led to the establishment in 1961 of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM). This was followed by the establishment of the Group of 77 (G77) in 1964. These two multilateral groupings of the South together enable developing countries to actively voice and articulate their views and perspectives on political and economic issues, respectively, in the United Nations and other international arenas and to promote the unity and solidarity among the developing countries of the South in their common struggle for a fairer world. Other multilateral Southern institutions such as the South Centre (and its precursor the South Commission) can also trace their intellectual and political lineage to the 1955 Bandung Conference and the South-South spirit that it engendered.
Several regional initiatives which have taken shape in Africa, Asia, and Latin America in the past decades are also concrete reflections of the ideals of South-South cooperation and solidarity discussed in Bandung and adopted by leaders in the Final Communiqué. These include the African Union, the African continent’s primary vehicle for greater continental integration. In Latin America and the Caribbean, the Union of South American Nations (UNASUR) and the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC) are two newly established initiatives that are contributing to open a new era of integration among the countries of the regions and their representation in global affairs with greater independence. It is also the case of Asia, with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) among many other initiatives. The emergence of the BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa) grouping itself, as well as recent projects such as the BRICS Development Bank and the Bank of the South are important examples of the vision of South-South cooperation from Bandung. These and many other developments that have taken place, and which continue to take place, in the developing world are all examples that point to the continuing relevance of the intellectual and political legacy of the 1955 Bandung Conference.