South Africa to advance its positions at the 65th session of the United Nations

The Minister of International Relations and Cooperation, Ms Maite Nkoana-Mashabane, will depart on 20 September 2010 to lead the South African delegation to the 65th Session of the UN General Assembly (UNGA) which will be held in New York, United States, this week. The UNGA has also convened a Millennium Development Goals (MDG) Summit from 20 to 22 September 2010, with the primary objective of accelerating progress towards the attainment of all MDGs by 2015. Minister Nkoana-Mashabane will be accompanied by the Minister of Health, Dr Aaron Motsoaledi; the Minister of Water and Environmental Affairs, Ms Buyelwa Sonjica; and Deputy Minister of Public Works, Ms H. Bogopane-Zulu. Ambassadors Ebrahim Rasool (South Africa’s ambassador to the US); Baso Sangqu (Ambassador to the United Nations); Fikile Magubane (Consul-General to New York) and Senior Government Officials will be supporting the ministers.

The 65th session of the UNGA will be held under the theme of "Reaffirming the central role of the United Nations in global governance". The General Assembly is an important global event used by many countries to present their positions on a number of issues that pertain to the United Nations system. For South Africa the 65th Session is an opportunity to lobby and present our bid to be elected to the non-permanent seat in the United Nations Security Council (UNSC).

The UNGA will also convene a Millennium Development Goals (MDG) Summit to be held in New York, from 20 to 22 September 2010, with the primary objective of accelerating progress towards the attainment of all MDGs by 2015. The meeting will seek to review progress with regards to the implementation of the MDGs since the adoption of the Millennium Declaration in 2000. When the world leaders adopted the Millennium Declaration they pledged: “We will spare no effort to free our fellow men, women and children from the abject and dehumanising conditions of extreme poverty. We are committed to freeing the entire human race from want”.

Noting that progress in the implementation of the MDGs has been uneven, South Africa has called on the international community to recommit to meeting the Millennium Development Goals especially to Sub-Saharan Africa. The South African delegation to UNGA65 will therefore continue to advocate for dialogue among stakeholders for the fulfilment of the pledges to effect progress in fighting poverty and sustaining the gains already made.

The High-level Plenary Meeting will consist of six plenary meetings, on the basis of two meetings a day, and six interactive round-table sessions. The roundtables are organised around the following themes:

  • Round table 1 — Addressing the challenge of poverty, hunger and gender equality 
  • Round table 2 — Meeting the goals of health and education
  • Round table 3 — Promoting sustainable development
  • Round table 4 — Addressing emerging issues and evolving approaches
  • Round table 5 — Addressing the special needs of the most vulnerable, and
  • Round table 6 — Widening and strengthening partnerships

South Africa will participate in roundtable 5 on “Addressing the special needs of the most vulnerable”.
The General Debate of the 65th Session of the UNGA will provide an opportunity for Heads of delegations to interact on global issues that confront the international community. South Africa’s approach and participation in the UNGA65 is to promote the country’s international relations policy objectives and positions in an integrated and coherent manner within the General Assembly and related events.

The global challenges of the world require a strengthened UN that is able to adapt and provide a framework for collective responses by the international community. South Africa’s approach is informed broadly by its belief in multilateralism and the central role of the United Nations in this regard.

There are key policy objectives that underpin South Africa’s engagements at the UNGA65 and these include:

Among some of these policy directives are:

  • Poverty eradication and the Millennium Development Goals;
  • Climate Change;
  • Reform of international institutions, including the United Nations;
  • Promotion of the African Agenda;
  • Promotion of disarmament and nuclear non-proliferation;
  • Promotion of South-South cooperation;
  • North-South cooperation.

With regard to the promotion of disarmament and nuclear non-proliferation, South Africa will continue to strive for an anti-personnel mine-free world, especially in Africa, as well as the eradication of the illicit trade in small arms and light weapons.

South Africa is mindful that South-South cooperation cannot be a substitute for North-South cooperation. The know-how and techonology of developing countries can be combined with the financial and other support of the developed countries to provide assistance and to transfer technology and know-how to developing countries. In this connection, South Africa will continue to play an important role in building effective partnerships with the developed world in order to promote the African agenda. Through its bilateral engagements with countries of the North as well as through membership of key multilateral organisations such as the G20, South Africa will strive to reinforce the consolidation of the development agenda of African and other developing states.

South Africa remains committed to the consolidation of the African agenda and supports multilateral and bilateral co-operation, with a view to ensuring a better Africa and a better world for all who live in it. It also remains deeply committed to the achieving global priorities with a view to ensuring a better world for all who live in it.

For more information, please contact the Chief Director for Public Diplomacy, Mr Saul Kgomotso Molobi on 082 940 1647, +27 12 351 0083 or e-mail him at

Issued by the Department of International Relations and Cooperation

OR Tambo Building
Soutpansberg Road
Pretoria, RSA

19 September 2010


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