The Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) is a group of states considering themselves not aligned formally with or against any major power bloc. As of 2011, the movement had 120 members and 17 observer countries.
The organization was founded in Belgrade in 1961, and was largely the brainchild of Yugoslavia's President, Josip Broz Tito, India's first Prime Minister, Jawaharlal Nehru, Egypt's second President, Gamal Abdel Nasser, Ghana's first president Kwame Nkrumah, Indonesia's first President, Sukarno and Ethiopia's emperor Haile Selassie. All five leaders were prominent advocates of a middle course for states in the Developing World between the Western and Eastern blocs in the Cold War. The phrase itself was first used to represent the doctrine by Indian diplomat and statesman V.K. Krishna Menon in 1953, at the United Nations.
The purpose of the organization as stated in the speech given by Fidel Castro during the Havana Declaration of 1979 is to ensure "the national independence, sovereignty, territorial integrity and security of non-aligned countries" in their "struggle against imperialism, colonialism, neo-colonialism, racism, and all forms of foreign aggression, occupation, domination, interference or hegemony as well as against great power and bloc politics." The countries of the Non-Aligned Movement represent nearly two-thirds of the United Nations's members and contain 55% of the world population. Membership is particularly concentrated in countries considered to be developing or part of the Third World.
Members have, at various times, included: SFR Yugoslavia, Argentina, SWAPO, Cyprus, and Malta. Brazil has never been a formal member of the movement, but shares many of the aims of Non-Aligned Movement and frequently sends observers to the Non-Aligned Movement's summits. While many of the Non-Aligned Movement's members were actually quite closely aligned with one or another of the super powers, the movement still maintained surprising amounts of cohesion throughout the Cold War. Additionally, some members were involved in serious conflicts with other members (e.g., India and Pakistan, Iran and Iraq). The movement fractured from its own internal contradictions when the Soviet Union invaded Afghanistan in 1979. While the Soviet allies supported the invasion, other members of the movement (particularly predominantly Muslim states) condemned it.
Because the Non-Aligned Movement was formed as an attempt to thwart the Cold War, it has struggled to find relevance since the Cold War ended. After the breakup of Yugoslavia, a founding member, its membership was suspended in 1992 at the regular Ministerial Meeting of the Movement, held in New York during the regular yearly session of the General Assembly of the United Nations. The successor states of the SFR Yugoslavia have expressed little interest in membership, though some have observer status. In 2004, Malta and Cyprus ceased to be members and joined the European Union. Belarus remains the sole member of the Movement in Europe. Turkmenistan, Belarus and the Dominican Republic are the most recent entrants. The applications of Bosnia and Herzegovina and Costa Rica were rejected in 1995 and 1998.