Joint Declaration on the 6th Session of the South Africa-Sweden Binational Commission, 16 – 17 March 2010
The 6th session of the Binational Commission between South Africa and Sweden took place in Cape Town, South Africa, on the 16th and 17th of March, under the chairpersonship of the Deputy President of the Republic of South Africa, H E Mr KP Motlanthe, and the Deputy Prime Minister of Sweden, H E Ms M Olofsson.
During two days of consultations, the co-chairs received and welcomed progress reports from the three Committees of the BNC on political, economic and social affairs. The scope of the discussions on national, regional and global issues of common interest confirmed the longstanding, sincere and mutually beneficial relationship between the countries, as well as the interest and wish in taking this cooperation even further within the framework of the Binational Commission.
In the bilateral talks between Deputy President Motlanthe and Deputy Prime Minister Olofsson, the main themes were bilateral issues and also covered climate change, energy efficiency and cooperation on regional stabilisation efforts in countries like Zimbabwe and Sudan.
Both countries emphasised the importance of a truly global legally binding agreement on mitigating the effects of climate change. The Copenhagen Accord should give direction to the negotiations leading up to a global agreement under the UNFCCC and help unblock sticky issues.
All countries have a responsibility to take action in line with the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities in order to keep the two degree target within reach and should be reflected in a global agreement, both parties observed.
South Africa will play a key global role as host of COP17. With this in view, the bilateral dialogue will be intensified on UNFCCC related matters, as well as on concrete climate and energy related projects and policies. This could include cooperation at policy level as well as concrete activities in areas such as renewable energy, energy efficiency and waste management.
On Zimbabwe, both sides underline the importance of implementing the Global Political Agreement (GPA). Sweden welcomed President Zuma’s initiative to visit Harare between 16 and 18 March and reiterated its strong support for South Africa and SADC’s continued engagement with the Inclusive Government in Zimbabwe. It was noted that the implementation of the GPA Process (including restoration of the Rule of Law and reform legislation on fundamental freedoms) would also contribute towards the EU’s re-engagement with the Zimbabwean Government.
In addition to the bilateral talks between the two leaders, separate discussions were held between the Deputy Prime Minister and the South African Ministers for Trade and Industry, Mr RH Davies; Water Affairs and Environment Affairs, Ms BP Sonjica and the Minister responsible for Energy, Ms ED Peters.
During a luncheon with business persons hosted by the Swedish Trade Council with participation from numerous Swedish companies, the parties expressed a great interest in further promoting the commercial links between the two countries.
The BNC was preceded by a meeting of the Swedish-South African Peace and Security Working Group, during which discussions were held on the of future trilateral cooperation in Africa. And a decision was taken to hold a seminar dealing with Security Sector Reform tentatively in May 2011.
Annexure 1: Committee Reports
1. The Political Affairs Committee
The Committee welcomed the reports from the working group on peace and security, and endorsed the recommendations presented. Attention was given to the further exploration of concrete tripartite co-operation, in particular in Rwanda, the DR Congo, Sudan and possibly also other areas.
A report from the meeting of the Defence Committee was also presented. It was noted that the relations between the defence authorities of both countries were very sound and developing in several areas.
The Committee discussed the situation and developments in the Great Lakes region, the Horn of Africa, Madagascar, Western Sahara and Zimbabwe, with the view of sharing information and analysis on how to promoting peace, security, democracy and development. Concern was expressed over the human suffering caused by unresolved conflicts in the Horn of Africa, not least in Somalia. The Committee called on parties in Sudan to respect the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA), in particular the upcoming elections and the 2011 referendum. It was agreed to explore possible tripartite cooperation in Sudan.
The parties exchanged information and assessments on international areas of concern, including Iran and the Middle East peace process. On Iran, the parties shared the concerns about the developments and reiterated the importance of states abiding to international obligations. It was agreed that regular consultations should continue to take place as a way of sharing assessments and identifying possible joint bilateral or multilateral initiatives.
On multilateral issues, Sweden and South Africa updated each other on developments within the EU, SADC and the AU. The experiences of the Swedish Presidency of the EU during the second half of 2009 were shared. Discussions were held on the effects of the Lisbon Treaty on the European Union and how it would impact on relations with Africa. The parties discussed the developments in the African Union and SADC and how the workings of both organisations could be supported and strengthened.
It was felt that there was scope for continued collaboration around UN reform. Both countries expressed support for a reform of the UN Security Council and a need for making sure that Human Rights Council fulfils its mandate in a way that contributes to the promotion and protection of human rights. The experiences of South Africa as a non-permanent member of the United Nations Security Council were shared. The South Africa and Swedish candidatures for non-permanent seats in the UNSC in 2011-2012 and 2017-2018 respectively were discussed.
The Committee expressed its support for the International Criminal Court and emphasised the importance of the decisions of the Court.
Discussions were held on disarmament issues, including the NPT Review Conference and the New Agenda Coalition. It was agreed that regular contact and discussions on cooperation between Sweden and South Africa in these areas would continue.
2. The Economic Affairs Committee
The Committee encouraged the good cooperation on BEE initiatives between the DTI’s BEE Unit and the Swedish Trade Council and welcomed the MoU (be signed soon), which is the first of its kind, for a Transformation Initiative between South Africa’s Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) and the Swedish Trade Council (STC), which will facilitate for engagements with Swedish multinationals on BEE policy implementation.
The Committee took note of the fact that the new Industrial Policy Action Plan (IPAP), which was recently unveiled by South Africa’s Minister of Trade and Industry, could provide opportunity for future cooperation in specific areas of the plan between the two sides.
The report on Broader Economic Cooperation was welcomed as very informative and the Committee stressed that there was need to give new momentum to the revival of the staff exchange and the women entrepreneurship programmes and the need to continue supporting other successful activities and programmes.
In the context of Sweden’s Country Strategy for South Africa, the committee welcomed the proposal from South Africa for Swedish and South African stakeholders to be invited for round-table discussions on possible cooperation in the economic field and on partner driven cooperation in general.
The Committee noted the report on the good progress made by Swedish companies in meeting its Industrial Participation Programme obligations. The two sides encouraged further enhanced cooperation between OTGS and South Africa as a means to facilitate increased imports from South Africa to Sweden.
In order to operationalise conclusions and achievements reached on climate change and taking into account mutual policy development in the energy sector, the delegations agreed to establish a task team on renewable energy. The task team should be composed of representatives from relevant government authorities, institutions and the business community. The aim of the task team should be to identify and develop concrete projects/programmes in the area of energy, with special focus on energy efficiency and renewable energy with the aim of contributing to sustainable rural and urban development. The proposals from the task team should be presented at a joint energy event in November 2010. The event, which will take place in South Africa, with delegates from both countries, would constitute an opportunity for a broad spectrum of actors to network and further enhance cooperation between commercial enterprises, Government authorities and relevant institutions.
In the area of cooperation on women entrepreneurship, the Committee encourages the rapid finalisation of the project proposal for the pilot project which was presented and looked forward to its implementation. The Committee also acknowledged the importance of strengthening the efforts to develop mutual sustainable projects to promote women’s entrepreneurship.
The Committee noted South Africa’s proposal for cooperation on capacity building for historically disadvantaged South African universities. The parties agreed to explore developing a joint work programme in this area.
The Committee noted the discussions on developments in the SADC-EU EPA and the WTO Doha Round negotiations.
The Committee concluded that its deliberations had been fruitful and resulted in a number of operational decisions. The Committee decided to establish a contact group in order to follow up the implementation of its discussions and decisions. The contact group is to be composed of representatives from the DTI, STC and the Embassy of Sweden. The group will meet every six months to review developments on action points agreed by the Committee.
3. The Committee on Social Affairs and Development Cooperation
Since BNC 2007, the partners have met on a number of occasions for strategic dialogue on directions and modalities for future cooperation.
From the South African perspective, the Medium Term Strategic Framework 2009-2014 is the point of departure from which the government has defined its priorities. It is the intent of the SA Government that development cooperation is used to support new and more effective ways of implementing government policies and priorities to promote growth and poverty reduction. The added value of development aid can include programmes that allow for innovation, piloting and testing, risk taking, unlocking domestic resources and capacity building.
The Swedish government has adopted a new strategy for its full range of cooperation with South Africa until 2013 in which the development cooperation is one element. The modalities given are partner driven cooperation (PDC), direct support to combat HIV and AIDS, and trilateral cooperation. The indicative amount for ODA-funded activities is 90 MSEK a year, of which at least half should be geared towards PDC. Trilateral cooperation will be financed from the third country or regional organisations’ allocation.
The countries will in accordance with the South African Medium Term Strategic Framework and the Swedish strategy strengthen the cooperation further by using innovative forms of collaboration, based on both countries policies and priorities. This could include promotion of peace, security, equality and human rights, a continued dialogue on global environmental issues, climate change and energy; strengthening the cultural exchange, science and technology and other research cooperation and the ongoing support in the fight against HIV and AIDS.
The cooperation within the area covered by the Social Committee is multifaceted, which includes partnerships with government, business, academia, and civil society. The relationship between the two countries has transformed and developed. It is of a long term in nature and is based on principles of mutual interest, added value and shared responsibilities. When it comes to the area covered by the Committee, strong partnerships exist in the spheres of arts and culture, health, police service, revenue services, research and municipal cooperation, amongst others.
In an immediate perspective, the committee agreed to pursue the finalisation of a new phase of the culture partnership programme. In the area of climate change and environmental affairs, the committee agreed to intensify the work of initiating cooperation activities between relevant partners. In the area of HIV and AIDS, the committee recognised the role of SANAC (South African National Aids Council) in the implementation of the National Strategic Plan, and the two countries will explore possibilities of further engagement for collaboration.
The committee urged partners to engage together and submit joint proposals for cooperation.
The 7th Session of the SA-Sweden BNC will convene in Sweden during the second half of 2011.
Cape Town, 17th of March 2010
The Department of International Relations and Co-Operation and the Embassy of Sweden, South Africa
Department of International Relations and Cooperation OR Tambo Building 460 Soutpansberg Road Rietondale PRETORIA 0001