02 January 2013
South Africa successfully concludes its second term on the United Nations Security Council
South Africa concludes its second term as an elected member of the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) on 31 December 2012.
South Africa’s work in the Council coincided with concerted African and global efforts to resolve the remaining, re-emerging and new conflicts on the continent, the political shift in the Arab World and other historic political developments in the Middle East and elsewhere in the world.
Our second tenure in the Council built upon our previous experience aimed at contributing to achieving peace and stability on the African continent and in all the regions of the world; continuing to promote the importance of developing effective partnerships between the United Nations and regional organisations in maintaining international peace and security; promoting the African Agenda; the promotion of the rule of law within multilateralism and the reform of the United Nations Security Council and improving its working methods to make it a more legitimate, representative and effective body.
Whilst the above principles and values guide our international engagement, South Africa entered the Council fully cognisant that the power configuration in the UNSC is not in favour of elected members and national interests sometimes override international commitments. The diplomatic tools at the Council’s disposal are sometimes abused by some of its permanent members which then complicate the collective work of the Council.
Ambassador Baso Sangqu stated that “Despite constraints inherent in being a non-permanent member of the Council, South Africa influenced a large number of the Council’s outcomes and actively engaged on all issues on the Security Council’s agenda pursuant to the global mandate associated with its membership. South Africa’s leadership role and significant contribution to the work of the Council on African issues particularly on Sudan/South Sudan, Sudan (Darfur), Somalia, DRC, Mali and Libya and its principled position on the Middle East and Western Sahara is well recognised. In addition, South Africa championed a landmark Security Council decision on strengthening the strategic cooperation between the UNSC and the African Union Peace and Security Council in Resolution 2033 building on the South African sponsored Resolution 1809 of 2008. South Africa also promoted its positions with regard to the rule of law at national and international levels, post-conflict reconstruction and development, peace and justice, the role of women in peace and security (Resolution 1325), the plight of women and children in armed conflict situations”.
Other notable achievements during South Africa’s tenure include chairing the Working Group on Conflict Prevention and Resolution in Africa and the 1540 Committee, whose mandate is to prevent non-state actors from gaining access to weapons of mass destruction. The country also co-led Security Council Missions to Africa and led the conclusion of the peace mission in Timor-Leste, therefore consolidating the cause for self-determination of the Timorese people.
South Africa reaffirms that its experience on the Council emphasised the fundamental need for the reform of the Security Council and the expansion of its membership in both the permanent and non-permanent categories to ensure legitimacy and credibility of this vital UN Organ. Ambassador Sangqu underscored the African position on the need for the permanent membership of Africa in the Security Council. He also reiterated that: “The importance of the decisions emanating from the African Union’s Peace and Security Council help accentuate the voice of Africa in the Security Council, hence the need for the African Union to strengthen its peace and security architecture, in particular the application of the principle of subsidiarity”. In responding to an ever changing world, the Council cannot remain static and must adapt to ensure greater legitimacy and effectiveness.
South Africa’s participation in the Security Council was further strengthened by its strategic membership of such formations as the India-Brazil-South Africa (IBSA), Brazil-Russia-India-China-South Africa (BRICS) and the Non-Aligned Movement.
Speaking at the University of Pretoria on 15 October 2010, Minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane summarised the objective for South Africa’s participation in the Council when she said, “we will endeavour to utilise our membership of the Security Council in a manner that will add value to the work of the Council. In this context South Africa played an active role in the activities of the Security Council committees, working groups, commissions and other structures. We will endeavour to contribute to the maintenance of international peace and security by inter alia participating in the Council’s conflict resolution and post-conflict reconstruction agenda”.
Ambassador Sangqu concluded that: “looking back, South Africa’s participation in the over 800 meetings held by the Council during our tenure, we can boldly state that South Africa has made a positive and significant contribution to the international community’s efforts to prevent and resolve conflicts the world over”.
Enquiries: Mr Clayson Monyela, spokesperson for DIRCO, 082 884 5974
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