White paper on foreign policy sees light

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Pretoria - A white paper outlining the principles and framework of South Africa's foreign policy has been approved by Cabinet and will now make its way to Parliament.

Briefing the media following Cabinet's regular fortnightly meeting, spokesperson Jimmy Manyi said the white paper "emphasised South Africa's human rights posture and strengthened the conceptual framework to advance South Africa's economic interests and development."

Cabinet also approved the establishment of the UNESCO category 2 centre (under the UNESCO-IHP banner) at the University of KwaZulu-Natal that will be dedicated to climate and water reservation.

Manyi said this centre will serve the needs of the entire continent with regard to climate change and water research.

"The specialisation areas of this centre will be ground water training, research and capacity building," he said.

Manyi added that the Minister of Water and Environmental Affairs has been selected to monitor any subsequent financial implications related to the centre.

"The view is to ensure that there is no unplanned financial burden on the fiscus and on the departments of water and environmental affairs."

On climate change, the executive has called on all sectors of society to link all initiatives for the seventeenth conference of parties (COP 17), which will be held in Durban in November and December.

Government is calling on them to create better awareness and understanding of the collective efforts towards remedying the effects of climate change.

It also wants stabilisation of greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere to a level that prevents dangerous anthropogenic interference with the climate system; and the safeguarding of people and planet against the climate change impacts that are already underway.

South Africa has already committed to implementing nationally appropriate mitigation actions, which could result in the reduction of carbon dioxide emissions by 34% by 2020 and by 42% by 2025, in line with the Kyoto Protocol.

However, the extent to which this commitment was implemented would depend on the finance, technology and capacity building support extended by developed countries.

Manyi said Cabinet was of the view that the document, entitled "Key Messaging on Substantive Content Issues on the South African position and National Interest", should be used as a position to articulate the national position and interest.

Touching on other events that the country will host, Manyi mentioned the 62nd International Astronautical Congress (IAC 2011) which will be hosted in in Cape Town in October, which forms part of the build-up to the decision on hosting of the Square Kilometre Array.

Meanwhile, the Department of Social Development, in collaboration with Partners in Population and Development (PPD), will also be hosting the 2011 PPD Annual International Conference in Pretoria from November.

The PPD is an intergovernmental alliance of developing countries on population and development, created for the specific purpose of promoting and improving the transfer of knowledge, expertise and skills in the population and reproductive health fields through South-South collaboration.

Its mission is to assist member countries and other developing countries to successfully address the sexual and reproductive health rights, including family planning, HIV and Aids, and population development challenges by raising a common voice and sharing sustainable, effective, efficient and accessible solutions.

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