Commonwealth must fight poverty, unemployment

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Johannesburg – Parliamentarians from Commonwealth states must fight to eradicate poverty, inequality and unemployment to bring development to all its citizens.

Addressing the 5th Commonwealth Parliamentary Conference at the Sandton Convention Centre on Thursday, Performance Monitoring and Evaluation Minister Collins Chabane told lawmakers that he hoped their discussions during their four-day meeting, which started on Monday, would contribute to realising a better future for their citizens.

Chabane said this after President Jacob Zuma called on the conference on Monday to work towards ensuring that the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) – a plan adopted by the United Nations to ensure sustainable development in developing countries by 2015 – are achieved.

“Let me emphasise that it is our collective responsibility as lawmakers and representatives of the people in democratic parliaments to pay due attention to the eradication of poverty and hunger, sustainable development as well as combating inequality at all levels, thereby creating hope and a more prosperous and sustainable future for all of us,” he said.

Chabane said while there has been progress in realising the MDGs, challenges still remained.

In Africa in particular, sustainable development remains a challenge as heads of state continue to battle to ensure that peace and political stability are achieved before the continent can work towards achieving regional integration to boost the continent’s growth.   

Chabane said South Africa, as one of the member states of the Commonwealth, had adopted the National Development Plan with the aim of tackling its own economic challenges.

“As part of our battle plan and strategy, we as South Africans have adopted a National Development Plan as a tool to guide us as we grapple with these challenges.

“We are proud that this plan carries the clear endorsement of our lawmakers, which represents our diverse nation, and that this plan is among many significant milestones that have marked South Africa’s 20 years of freedom.

“We are aware that solutions to the challenges we face will not happen overnight," he said.

Chabane said South Africa also continued to uphold the principles of the Commonwealth Charter - democracy, human rights and the rule of law - values he said were enshrined in the country's Constitution.

The minister said it was through this charter that member states could achieve their goals, and that he hoped the conference's resolutions could be translated into implementable programmes.

“But we are hopeful that collectively, as members of the Commonwealth family, we will seek and find ways to address these challenges as they continue to confront us.” –

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