SA to use UNGA to affirm commitment to multilateralism

Monday, September 16, 2019

South Africa will use the upcoming United Nations General Assembly (UNGA74) to affirm its commitment to multilateralism and the central role of the UN in the system of global governance, International Relations and Cooperation Minister Naledi Pandor said on Monday.

“We plan to use the upcoming UNGA74 to restate and affirm our commitment to multilateralism and the central role of the UN in the system of global governance.

"Our overarching strategic approach is predicated on the notion of an equitable, just and fair world order, buttressed by a multilateral system that includes respect for international law,” said the Minister.

The Minister said this ahead of her leading Team SA to the meeting that will get underway on 24 September.

Pandor, who will lead the delegation following President Cyril Ramaphosa’s withdrawal from the engagement in order to attend to domestic issues, said this year’s general debate will provide the country with an opportunity to provide an assessment of the current global and continental peace, security and development challenges.

Pandor said one of South Africa's strategic focus in international engagements is to defend and promote the primacy of institutions of global governance as the vehicles through which current challenges facing the international community, including in the areas of peace and security and the reform of global governance, could be resolved.

“We will also highlight South Africa's role in the implementation of the African Union's Agenda 2063 and the UN's 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Furthermore, South Africa will argue for stronger and enhanced coordination between the AU and the UN, especially in the resolution of conflicts in Africa,” she said.

On the margins of the General Debate, other UN-related high level events have been scheduled and there will also be opportunities for bilateral meetings and side events in which the South African Ministerial delegation has been invited to participate.

These include: 

• 23 September 2019, High-Level Meeting on Universal Health Coverage
• 23 September 2019, Secretary-General's Climate Action Summit
• 24 and 25 September 2019, High-Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development

Pandor will be joined on the trip to UN Headquarters in New York by Minister of Health, Dr Zweli Mkhize; the Minister of Environment, Forestry and Fisheries, Barbara Creecy and the Minister in the Presidency, Jackson Mthembu.

Attacks on foreign nationals 

In light of recent attacks on foreign nationals, Pandor said South Africa recognises that countries on the African continent contributed to South Africa attaining independence.

“Our message to the UN, firstly, will be that we need not be reminded by anyone that the African continent made a contribution to our freedom, and we need to convey that message to our people, recognising that contribution is insufficient to building bridges between our people.

“We need to take active steps in order to achieve the levels of social cohesion that allow us to exist in peace and harmony. We are going to intensify efforts to build these connections.”

The Minister also stressed the need for South Africa to better manage its immigration policies.

“We must manage our immigration far better because you can’t just allow lawlessness as a country… That’s intolerable for us and our administration of immigration. We will be working on that,” she said at the media briefing in Pretoria.

UNGA will conclude on 26 September.  –