Media Statement

25 September 2021

Minister Pandor concludes visit to the UN General Assembly

The Minister of International Relations and Cooperation, Dr Naledi Pandor, concluded her visit to New York on Friday, 24 September 2021, where she participated in person at the 76th Session of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA76) held under the theme: “Building resilience through hope – to recover from COVID-19, rebuild sustainably, respond to the needs of the planet, respect the rights of people, and revitalise the United Nations.”

Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the General Debate and High-Level Meetings of UNGA76 were held in a hybrid in-person and virtual format.

President Ramaphosa delivered pre-recorded statements at the High-Level Meeting on the 20th anniversary of the adoption of the Durban Declaration and Programme of Action (DDPA) against Racism, and at the General Debate of UNGA76. In both recorded statements, President Ramaphosa stressed that the international community must redouble its efforts to build a world free of racism and all forms of discrimination and stand united in combatting the COVID-19 pandemic.

Minister Pandor chaired a roundtable of the High-Level Meeting on the 20th anniversary of the adoption of the DDPA themed: “Reparations, racial justice and equality for people of African descent – Where do we stand 20 years after the adoption of the Durban Declaration and Programme of Action” and also presented the summary of the roundtable discussion at the closing segment of the meeting.

In addition to chairing the roundtable, Minister Pandor also delivered a statement and lamented the fact that some countries decided not to take part in this commemorative event at a time when incidents of racism and racial injustice continue to occur globally. Nonetheless, member states adopted a political declaration aimed at mobilising political will at the national, regional, and international levels for the full and effective implementation of the DDPA and its follow-up processes.

Minister Pandor, together with the Italian Vice-Minister of Foreign Affairs, Ms Marina Sereni, presided over the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Article XIV Conference held on the margins of UNGA76. In her remarks, Minister Pandor stated that this Conference was an opportunity for the international community to highlight the dangers and threats posed to international peace and security by nuclear weapons and tests. “We believe that the Conference should be part of sustained and redoubled efforts to encourage the signing and ratification of the Treaty,” said Minister Pandor. A declaration and measures to promote the entry into force of the comprehensive nuclear-test-ban treaty were adopted as an outcome of the meeting.

Minister Pandor delivered a recorded statement at the World Food Systems Summit and is scheduled to deliver a recorded statement at the High-Level Meeting on the International Day for the Total Elimination of Nuclear Weapons on 28 September 2021. In addition, Minister Pandor attended several Ministerial side events such as the Informal Network of Women Foreign Ministers Dinner and the High-Level Meeting on the situation in Libya. Furthermore, Minister Pandor addressed the Council on Foreign Relations on topical issues such as the state of democracy in Sub-Saharan Africa; South Africa’s response to COVID-19; as well as other regional and international foreign policy matters.

Whilst in New York and on the margins of the UN General Assembly, Minister Pandor met with Mr António Guterres, UN Secretary-General; Mr Abdulla Shahid, President of the 76th Session of the UN General Assembly Abdulla Shahid; and Ms Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, former President of Liberia and Co-Chair of the Independent Panel for Pandemic Preparedness and Response. Minister Pandor also held bilateral discussions with 16 Foreign Ministers from Africa; Asia and the Middle East; Europe and Latin America and the Caribbean.

In her media engagements on the sidelines of UNGA76, Minister Pandor stated that this year’s UN General Assembly highlighted a number of global challenges such as the inequity in the distribution of COVID-19 vaccines, growing inequalities between states and within states, rising human rights violations and conflicts in several countries. In this regard, world leaders must step up to the plate and address these challenges through multilateral cooperation, with the UN at the centre.

Before concluding her visit to New York, Minister Pandor officially opened the South African Consulate-General to New York’s Cultural Centre, which showcased an inaugural exhibition of Prof. Zakes Mda’s artwork.

Enquiries: Mr Clayson Monyela, Spokesperson for DIRCO, 082 884 5974

ISSUED BY THE DEPARTMENT OF INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS AND COOPERATION

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