Fourth South Africa-European Union Summit, Joint Communiqué, South Africa, 15 September 2011
We, the leaders of South Africa (SA) and the European Union (EU), meeting today in South Africa, Kruger National Park, reaffirmed our commitment to a strategic partnership based on shared values and interests , including the promotion of peace and security, human rights, democracy, the rule of law and sustainable development across our regions.
SA-EU Strategic Partnership
We reviewed the rapid expansion of our bilateral relationship, manifested by a strengthened Strategic Partnership and growing cooperation in a number of areas. We expressed our satisfaction with the positive implementation of the Joint Action Plan of the Strategic Partnership, as well as the various high-level political dialogues at Ministerial, Parliamentary and senior officials’ level. We had fruitful discussions on various bilateral, regional and global issues of common interest and concern.
In our assessment of the implementation of the Joint Action Plan, we welcomed in particular:
- The formalisation of the Human Rights Dialogue between the EU and South Africa.
- The effective implementation and increased ownership of the European Union’s development assistance programme for South Africa and the excellent relationship between the European Investment Bank (EIB) and its South African partners.
- The launch yesterday of the Primary Health Care Programme, worth € 126 million, aimed at increasing life expectancy, reducing maternal and child mortality and supporting the fight against HIV/AIDS and Tuberculosis.
- The successful cooperation in the area of science, technology and innovation, (including the recent supporting seminars to this Summit on minerals and mining and climate change research), as well as on environment and sustainable development including green growth, climate action and biodiversity.
- The consistent progress in our space cooperation, also involving the South African National Space Agency and the European Space Agency, especially the advanced preparations for the extension to South Africa of the European Geographic Navigation Overlay System (EGNOS), a platform which will significantly enhance global navigation satellite system services in South Africa.
- Excellent progress in a broad ranging dialogue on migration, particularly on issues such as asylum related matter and human trafficking.
- The implementation of a programme of academic exchange between South African and European Universities -"Erasmus Mundus"- to the mutual benefit of a growing number of post-graduate students and academics.
- We welcomed progress on the negotiations on a EURATOM-SA agreement on the peaceful use of nuclear energy and look forward to its swift conclusion.
- We reiterated our resolve to pursue policies that will strengthen economic and social cohesion in our respective regions, with a view to reducing the disparities in the level of development within South Africa and in the EU. We therefore encouraged the exchange of best practices in this area, building on the Workshop on Regional Policy held on 14 September 2011 in Pretoria.
- We noted the continued growth in bilateral trade. The EU continued to be SA’s most important trade and investment partner, accounting for 35 % of South Africa's total imports and 28% of its total exports.
We agreed that infrastructure development is a crucial part in the development of both the African continent and the EU region. In particular the North-South Road and Rail Corridor holds great potential for the states of Southern and East Africa for greater economic and market integration, concomitant economic growth and job creation for the region’s population. The approach will be broadened to include sectors and sub-sectors that are linked to the North – South Corridor.
We emphasised the importance of the principles of aid effectiveness and their due implementation in practice, particularly in light of the forthcoming Busan High Level Forum (HLF4).
We also agreed to initiate discussions on the future direction of development cooperation between South Africa and the European Union in the context of the EU’s next Multiannual Financial Framework (2014 -2020). In order to maintain our current approach to development cooperation we agreed assistance would continue to support value addition, including through innovation, pilot programmes, capacity development, and the sharing of skills and knowledge. We also agreed to explore how to enhance the relationship between the European and South African Development Finance Institutions, moving towards more blending of grant and loan funds to support investments. Finally, we look forward to the establishment of the South African Development Partnership Agency which will offer new opportunities for cooperation.
We reaffirmed the role of the G-20 as a key forum for global economic cooperation and reiterated our commitment to working in close coordination in the context of G-20 meetings. We are strongly committed to make the G20 summit in Cannes (3-4 November) a success as the G20 needs to send a strong signal of global unity and demonstrate that it is successful in managing the global recovery.
We expressed our will to put continued emphasis on the G20 Framework for Growth as an instrument to coordinate G20 economic policies and achieve strong, sustainable and balanced global growth, and on reforming the international monetary system. We also agreed that the G20 should further enhance the tools for financial support to countries during systemic crises, and on the need to ensure global financial stability and continue financial market reform, as well as to address commodity price volatility.
We look forward to achieving concrete results in the G20 development agenda in areas such as infrastructure investment, food security, domestic resource mobilisation, innovative financing, increased trade and integration and the social dimension of globalisation.
We committed to continue our engagement and active role in the G20 Development Working Group, which made progress in implementing the multi-year action plan, aimed at promoting economic growth with resilience, adopted at the G20 Seoul summit.
Climate Change and Rio+20
We reaffirmed that climate change is one of the most serious and urgent global challenges, which demands a global solution. We will strive jointly for an ambitious, comprehensive and balanced outcome for the UNFCCC negotiations. We also committed to work together ahead of and during the UNFCCC 17th Conference of the Parties and the 7th Conference of the Parties, serving as the Meeting of the Parties to the Kyoto Protocol (COP17/CMP7) that will take place in Durban, South Africa, from 28 November to 9 December 2011.
We concurred that Durban is an opportunity to agree on actions that will make the key decisions reached in Cancun fully operational, as well as to address issues that remained unresolved in Cancun and from the Bali Action Plan and Roadmap.
We acknowledged the "ambition gap" in proposed emission reductions and identify options to increase the level of ambition, as current pledges will not take us to a path below 2°C global temperature increase.
We agreed on the importance of the Rio+20 Conference to be held in Rio de Janeiro in June 2012, whose main topics are the green economy in the context of sustainable development and poverty eradication. The Rio+20 Conference must give a strong global push to the transformation of economies into resource-efficient, low-emission economies leading to the creation of new "green jobs" and further eradication of poverty. It should also result in significantly improved global governance for sustainable development to tackle remaining major challenges both in developmental and environmental terms.
On the basis of these shared objectives, we agreed to further consult each other during the preparatory phase of the Rio+20 Conference.
EU-SADC EPA Group negotiations
We reviewed the state of play of the EU-SADC EPA negotiations. We reaffirmed the importance of reaching an agreement that is mutually beneficial, enhances growth and generates jobs. We reiterated our strong commitment to conclude the negotiations as a matter of priority. We are convinced that solutions to the pending issues can be found. To this end, we urged our negotiators to expedite their work.
We welcomed the tripartite free trade area (TFTA) negotiations as a positive step towards broadening regional integration and deepening development in Africa.
Africa-EU radio astronomy cooperation
We noted that science and technology remained one of the most successful areas of cooperation under our Strategic Partnership as well as our respective efforts to support the Science, Information Society and Space Partnership of the Joint Africa-EU Strategy. In this regard, we discussed the exciting opportunities presented by radio astronomy for mutually beneficial research and innovation collaboration between Africa and Europe, including the contribution of such research infrastructures to human capital and socio-economic development.
Political and Security issues
We reiterated the importance we attach to maintaining an active dialogue on political and security issues both bilaterally and in the context of the Joint Africa-EU Strategic Partnership. In particular we discussed the following;
Sudan and South Sudan
We discussed the situation in Sudan and South Sudan following the independence of South Sudan and the end of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement on 9 July and urged the parties to continue working towards resolving all outstanding issues.
We expressed particular concern about the on-going hostilities in Southern Kordofan and Blue Nile state and urged the parties to take steps towards a cessation of hostilities and to ensure the protection of civilians. We also expressed deep concern about the human rights situation and recognised the need for continued human rights monitoring. We called upon the Government of Sudan and the SPLM Northern Sector to allow for unhindered humanitarian access to the areas affected by fighting.
We emphasised the importance of all parties involved actively working to lay the foundations for peaceful relations between Sudan and South Sudan. In this context, we welcomed the signing of the Border Security Agreement on 29 July 2011 between the Government of Sudan and the Government of South Sudan and called for its speedy implementation. We urge them to resolve urgently all outstanding issues, such as border demarcation, citizenship, oil revenues, in a cooperative manner. We also discussed the situation in Abyei and called on the parties to complete the withdrawal of their forces. We welcome the key role undertaken by the African Union High Level Implementation Panel for Sudan (AUHIP), led by former President Mbeki, and pledged continued efforts for its work.
We agreed to explore in detail, means of cooperation to support capacity and institution building for South Sudan.
We noted progress in the implementation of the Global Political Agreement while also recognising the on-going challenges that are inherent in the process. We encouraged the parties in the inclusive government to finalise and endorse a road map on elections without any further delay. We agreed to continue our complementary efforts aimed at promoting, encouraging and supporting the full implementation of the Global Political Agreement and create a conducive environment to the holding of elections that will be free and fair, and transparent under conditions of a level playing field. We call for the respect of human rights and regret any form of action that contradicts the letter and spirit of the GPA. The EU commends the efforts of South Africa and SADC in assisting the political leadership in Zimbabwe to implement the GPA and encouraged them to remain seized with the process.
We recognised and appreciated the humanitarian and other assistance that the regional and international community continues to provide to the people of Zimbabwe.
We encouraged the parties to conclude the Constitution making process in preparation for the upcoming referendum and elections.
We reaffirmed our commitment to the integrity of the Kimberley Process and will work with partners to ensure its equitable application.
Middle East and North Africa
We discussed the uprisings in North Africa and were encouraged by the envisaged road to democratic transformation in both Tunisia and Egypt. We underlined the importance of keeping the democratic momentum and of holding free and transparent elections in accordance with the timetables set by the respective authorities
We discussed and expressed our concern on the situations in Bahrain, Yemen and Syria.
We expressed great concern at the unfolding events in Syria and stressed the importance that the UN Security Council and the UN Human Rights Council remain seized of the matter. We agreed that pressure on the Syrian authorities to put an end to the violence and to initiate a peaceful transition to democracy must be pursued.
We called for the immediate resumption of negotiations in the Middle East peace process. We remain committed to the two-state solution with an independent, democratic, contiguous and viable Palestinian state, comprising the West Bank and Gaza, living side by side in peace and security with the state of Israel within internationally recognised and secure borders. We urged the government of Israel to immediately end all settlement activities, including in East Jerusalem. Settlements are illegal under international law and constitute an obstacle to peace.
We also expressed our common objective to see the formation of an inclusive interim government in Libya that will rebuild the country for the benefit of all Libyans. The goal being to build a new, democratic and pluralistic Libya in which human rights, fundamental freedoms and justice will be guaranteed and prosperity shared.
We agreed that the African Union has an important role to play in supporting the Libyan people to establish a democratic, independent and united country. We welcomed the outcomes of the meeting of the AU High Level Ad Hoc Committee on Libya, held in South Africa on 14 September 2011. We agreed to encourage the current Libyan authorities to work towards an inclusive transitional government as soon as possible. We further noted the relevance of many provisions of the AU Roadmap and of the proposals adopted in Malabo in July 2011, as well as the Transition Roadmap put forward by the Libyan authorities themselves and the important role of the UN.
We look forward to the hosting of the 5th SA-EU Summit in Brussels in 2012.