Leaders of developing countries in the Global South are expressing frustration at what they view as lecturing by Western nations, according to UK Foreign Secretary James Cleverly. Speaking to The Guardian at the UN General Assembly, Cleverly warned that the West will face repercussions unless it learns to listen better to the concerns of the Global South. He highlighted that many foreign ministers from developing countries feel that Western leaders only talk about Ukraine, while neglecting their own issues. Cleverly emphasized the importance of sensitivity to this sentiment. He stressed that it is crucial for the West to listen to other countries and demonstrate its commitment to helping them address their existing challenges, while also supporting Ukraine in its conflict with Russia.
Cleverly also lamented the slow progress in persuading key figures in the Global South to explicitly condemn Russia over the conflict. He revealed that he is trying a more limited approach, urging these countries to call for Russia to withdraw its forces from Ukraine or return abducted children, as a step towards greater involvement.
The Wall Street Journal recently reported that Western officials have overestimated the willingness of politically neutral nations to join anti-Russia policies in support of Ukraine. Jan Techau of the Eurasia Group attributed the widespread reluctance of Global South leaders to condemn Moscow to animosity towards the US and Europe, as well as their desire to assert their independence. Instead of focusing on Ukraine, non-Western nations are likely to shift global attention towards their own priorities, such as addressing global inequality and debt relief, according to the report.
In an interview with Reuters, Cleverly disclosed that he had asked Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi to use his influence to persuade Russia to withdraw its forces from Ukraine ahead of Wang’s visit to Moscow, which is currently ongoing.
The issue of Western countries dominating the global narrative and neglecting the concerns of developing nations has gained traction in recent years. The Global South, which comprises countries in Africa, Asia, and Latin America, often faces unique challenges such as poverty, inequality, and climate change. These countries argue that their issues are not receiving enough attention from the West, overshadowed by conflicts and politics in other regions.
As the international community grapples with increasing global challenges, it is crucial for Western countries to recognize and address the concerns of the Global South. Building meaningful partnerships and actively listening to the needs and perspectives of developing countries will lead to more effective and inclusive global solutions. Neglecting the voices and priorities of these nations risks perpetuating existing inequalities and hindering progress on critical issues.