Uganda Welcomes the 19th Non-Aligned Movement Summit: A Historic Gathering at Speke Resort Hotel in Munyonyo

By Nancy Emily Nagujja

Uganda is poised to play a pivotal diplomatic role as it hosts the prestigious 19th Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) Summit at Speke Resort Hotel in Munyonyo, from January 15th to 20th, 2024. This significant event, which will bring together leaders from various member nations, is expected to bolster Uganda’s global standing and foster collaboration among nations dedicated to the principles of non-alignment. The selection of Speke Resort Hotel in Munyonyo as the venue underscores Uganda’s commitment to showcasing hospitality and providing an environment conducive to fruitful discussions.

The Non-Aligned Movement, founded in 1961 during the Cold War, consists of nations that steer clear of aligning themselves with major power blocs. The NAM Summit serves as a platform for member countries to engage in dialogue, exchange ideas, and collaborate on common challenges facing the international community. Historically, only five countries have had the honor of organizing the NAM Summit: Zambia in 1970, Algeria in 1973, Zimbabwe in 1986, South Africa in 1998, and Egypt in 2009. The NAM, originally formed during the Cold War, has evolved into a significant multilateral mechanism for promoting peace, security, and development based on respect for international law.

Hon Odongo Jeje Abubakher and Amb Adonia Ayebare share a moment during the Opening Session of the Senior Officials Meeting of the 19th NAM Summit from 15-16th January, 2024 at Speke Resort Hotel, Munyonyo. Photo: Courtesy Photo

As a member of the Non-Aligned Movement, Uganda has made notable strides towards gender equality, including the implementation of the National Gender Policy, affirmative action for women in political spaces, and government programs like the Women’s Entrepreneurship program.

Uganda anticipates significant benefits from hosting the Non-Aligned Movement Summit, expecting to gain in the following ways: Promotion of National Interests: Uganda anticipates enhanced positive global image and potential economic benefits over the medium to long term.

Global Diplomacy Projection: The NAM summit aligns with Uganda’s foreign policy objectives, projecting the country’s diplomatic prowess on the global stage. Marketing Tourism and Investment Opportunities: The summit provides a platform to market Uganda’s unique tourism and investment opportunities to a larger international community.

Contribution to MICE Policy: The event supports Uganda’s policy to attract Meetings, International Conferences, and Exhibitions (MICE), facilitating direct business-to-business interaction and partnerships. Global Diplomatic Visibility: Hosting the NAM Summit elevates Uganda’s diplomatic profile, showcasing the country as a capable and responsible player in addressing global challenges.

Economic Impact: The influx of leaders, diplomats, and delegates is expected to boost the hospitality sector, local businesses, and tourism, contributing to overall economic growth.

Promotion of Tourism: The summit at Speke Resort Hotel presents an opportunity to showcase Uganda’s scenic beauty, cultural richness, and diverse wildlife to a global audience. Fostering Diplomatic Relations: Uganda can use the summit to strengthen diplomatic ties with member nations through bilateral meetings and discussions, contributing to diplomatic success. Addressing Global Challenges: The NAM Summit serves as a forum to discuss and strategize on pressing global issues such as climate change, peacekeeping, poverty, and inequality. Showcasing National Capabilities: Successfully hosting the summit demonstrates Uganda’s organizational and logistical capabilities, positively influencing perceptions of governance and infrastructure.

During Day 1 of the 19th NAM Summit, Hon. Jeje Odongo, Minister of Foreign Affairs, urged delegates not to limit themselves to the conference facility but also to explore Uganda’s beauty. He emphasized the need for international cooperation, stating that it’s not just about diplomacy; it’s about unity in the face of global challenges.

Uganda is set to take over the NAM Chairmanship from 2024 to 2027. This will position the country as the center of strategic leadership at both regional and international levels. Ambassador Adonia Ayebare, Permanent Representative of Uganda to the United Nations, has been selected as the Chairperson for the Senior Official Meeting of the 19th NAM Summit of Heads of State and Governments. Uganda’s chairmanship aligns with the United Nations Charter, Bandung Principles, African Union Agenda 2063, and Uganda’s foreign policy objectives. Ambassador Ayebare acknowledged challenges in financing for development and the issue of the debt burden, emphasizing the need to address the existing interests of NAM membership for the greater good of mankind.

During the Summit, the Palestinian delegation called upon the Kampala Declaration to advocate for an immediate cease-fire in Gaza. They also sought humanitarian support for the suffering in Palestine. Riyad Mansour, Permanent Observer of Palestine to the United Nations, highlighted NAM’s longstanding support for the interests of the Palestinian people.

The NAM Summit brings nations together to forge a path of cooperation and development among its member states, exploring shared goals for a resilient future.

Uganda’s hosting of the 19th Non-Aligned Movement Summit, beyond the immediate economic benefits, the summit provides a platform for Uganda to assert its diplomatic prowess, strengthen global ties, and contribute to discussions on shaping a more equitable and peaceful world. As the international community converges in Uganda, the nation has a unique opportunity to make a lasting impact on the global stage.

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