Address by Deputy Minister Pahad on the Occassion of the Symposium on Brazilian Views of SA Foreign Policy, 19-20 June 2001

KEY THEMES IN SA/BRAZIL RELATIONS

Chairperson

Your Excellencies

Distinguished guests from Brazil

SA Colleagues


I wish to thank the organizers for inviting me to participate in this symposium. The various Brazilian views on South African Foreign Policy, from a cross section of renowned Brazilian academics should present stimulating substance for discussion.


The Brazilian government in 1999 commissioned the book "Brazilian Views on South African Foreign Policy". The Editor in his foreword expresses the idea that the main goal of this project was "to promote the elaboration of studies of special importance to Brazil and in this way contribute to the gradual building of a Brazilian view of the main societies and States."


It is indeed a privilege for South Africa to be regarded by Brazil as being of "special importance" more significantly however it is the identification of a strategic partner in the global arena.


We seek to build a strategic partnership acutely conscious that as we enter the New Millennium "opportunities are there to grasp. The threats are there to contain".

The cold war has ended. The 21st Century can be the age of the South, the age of renewal and renaissance, the age of hope.

As we seek to create a better future for the countries of the South, we are faced with the reality that globalisation integrates economies but also culture, technology and governance. Increased trade, financial flows, new technologies, and internet connections are opening up unprecedented possibilities for human advance. However, the advances are uneven and the new globalised world order also poses challenges to sovereignty, independence and stability.

The U.N. Human Development Report [1999] reflects some of the challenges.

"When the market gets out of hand, the instabilities show up in boom and bust economies, as in the financial crisis in East Asia and its world wide repercussions. When profit motives get out of hand, they challenge people’s ethics – and sacrifice respect for justice and human rights.

More than 80 countries still have per capita incomes lower that they were a decade ago. While 40 countries have sustained average per capita income growth of more than 3% a year since 1990, 55 countries, [mostly in Sub-Saharan African and Eastern Europe and the Commonwealth of Independent States] had declining per capita incomes.

I therefore agree with the UNDP that "the challenge is not to stop expansion of global markets, the challenge is to find the rules and institutions for stronger governance to also provide enough for human, community and environmental resources to ensure that globalization works for people – not just for profits. Globalisation with:

Ethics
Equity
Inclusion
Human Security
Sustainability
Development"
The relationship between South Africa and Brazil, which is multi-facetted, is vital if we are to achieve a new globalised world order, which is people centred and benefits all.


Principles such as good governance, non-sexism, non-racism and people centered development, resembles virtual reality to the common man marking his cross at the polls. He, whose only reality, is the hope for a better tomorrow.


Our highest national priority therefore, is allocated to democracy and the guaranteeing of basic human rights such as the right to live in peace and equality, free from poverty and disease, free from ignorance and the repercussions of ignorance.


The fundamental rights enshrined in the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa, such as the right to human dignity; equality and freedom are the principles that inspire our approach to foreign policy. However of vital importance to foreign policy, is the necessity to be conscious of the growing need to formulate domestic policies in accordance with international standards, international obligations, international trends and, in the process, still to promote South Africa’s own well-being and prosperity.

In the interests of the growth and development of South Africa, integrated regional development within the Southern Africa is essential. The Southern African Development Community (SADC) is the foundation on which we seek to achieve economic growth, prosperity, peace and stability to improve the quality of life for the masses of our people.

The countries of the Southern African region can only achieve their full potential through close cooperation in the exploitation of natural resources in a coordinated fashion, the pooling of technical expertise, the harmonization of trade practices and the promotion of economies of scale.

The aim of SADC is to create a community providing regional peace and security sector cooperation and an integrated regional economy.


Your deliberations must look at South Africa in the context of SADC.


This vision is shared not only within the SADC, but also with the rest of our bilateral and multilateral partners on the African continent. Partners that share the desire to achieve a continent, which can be considered by the rest of the world as an active, valuable and significant contributor to political, as well as economic developments in the world. To this end, South Africa is committed to the Millenium Africa Recovery Programme (MAP), which in essence seeks to realize an Africa that is not regarded as synonymous with wars, disease and underdevelopment.


MAP reflects the commitment of African leaders to accept responsibility for the stark reality that 33 of the 42 least developed countries are in sub-Saharan Africa and that millions of our people still live on less than $1 a day.


It also reflects our commitment to do something about this reality. It is an African developmental programme, which reflects our aspirations and needs.


Henceforth we will interact with the developed countries and multi-lateral institutions, such as the IMF and World Bank, with a common African programme, determined by ourselves.


We have no illusions of the gravity and enormity of the task facing our continent and expect no easy or quick solutions. However we are committed to using Africa’s huge economic and human potential to end Africa’s under-development and ensure a better and prosperous future for all our peoples.


In an increasingly globalizing world, where geographical location is of central relevance to foreign relations, the power of negotiation finds strength in unity. Not only with regard to groupings within a region or a continent, but amongst countries that markedly share common problems such as poverty eradication and disease, that have grown to characterize developing nations.


Unlike the relationship between North and South, South-South relations are based on mutuality of interest and benefits shared responsibilities and genuine interdependence.


In order to effectively tackle development challenges as countries facing common problems, our first course of action is to share and exchange experiences, to transfer technology and expertise in the fields of social development, health, science and technology etc. It is also necessary to seize the potential of increased South-South trade, by liberalizing trade amongst us.


In this regard South Africa and Brazil have jointly made great strides of progress. During the recent visit of President Mbeki to Brazil to attend the MERCOSUL Summit in December 2000, a Framework Agreement for the Creation of a Free Trade Area between South Africa and MERCOSUL was signed. It evidences the necessity and political will of both parties to expand existing relations and contextualise South-South cooperation in the economic sphere.


The agreement is a concrete step in the direction of creating an instrument, which is intended to provide a structured mechanism that will propel economic cooperation forward. The alignment of countries sharing similar economic concerns, in the context of globalization and the challenges facing developing nations, creates a buttress to support our over-arching goals.


An Agreement was also signed between the South Africa and Brazil on the establishment of a Joint Commission. The agreement underwrites the strategic relationship between South Africa and Brazil and inter alia provides for the Joint Commission to facilitate bilateral cooperation on key issues of mutual concern such as education, health and agriculture. This institutional mechanism" will deepen SA/Brazil relations across the board.


Since the advent of democracy in 1994, a host of other agreements have been signed. The Agreement on Drug Enforcement has brought a rapid decline of 40% in the number of drug trafficking offenses.


In 1996, the agreement to abolish visas for Brazilian and South African nationals for a period not exceeding 90 days materialized. This and the signing of a Bilateral Air Services agreement, has made possible, a 50% capacity increase in the SAA flight between South Africa and Brazil.


The signing on 12 December 2000 of a "Declaration of Intent on Cooperation in the Field of Health" will facilitate cooperation in dealings with problems such as the HIV/AIDS plague. Brazil has been successful in combating AIDS and South Africa seeks to learn from the Brazilian experience as well as engage in the transfer of technology and expertise.

All developing countries are engaged in struggles of a similar nature with regard to North-South relations. In order to redefine and negotiate the position of the South with the North, it is imperative for our countries to adopt and present common positions in multilateral fora, on matters including the reform of the United Nations, the Bretton Woods Institutions and the reform of the global and political economic order.


Since the failure of the 3rd round of the WTO Ministerial Conference in Seattle in December 1999, South Africa and Brazil, along with other WTO members, have been active in seeking to build consensus to launch a new, broad-based round of multilateral trade negotiations in which development would be of central focus. In January 2000, Minister Erwin announced an initiative that seeks to draw together developing countries around a common agenda and shared objectives in the WTO. The organic alliance between Brazil, India, Egypt, and South Africa that emerged will be an important instrument to advance the cause of the South.


Chairperson

More than ever before the future of the prosperous is inextricably linked to the future of the poor.

There can be "no island of prosperity in a sea of poverty".

As I said earlier the north and the south must forge genuine and equitable collective efforts to achieve sustainable development based on the principle of equity and justice.

We are happy that the voice of the South is being heard.

The historic Millennium Summit which, inter alia, declared that –

"We will spare no effort to free fellow men, women and children from the abject and dehumanising conditions of extreme poverty. We are committed to making the right to development a reality for everyone, and to freeing the entire human race from want.
We resolve, therefore to create an environment – at the national and global levels alike – which is conducive to development and to the elimination of poverty".
The Summit further resolved –

To halve, by the year 2015, the proportion of the world’s people whose income is less than one dollar a day and the proportion of people who suffer from hunger; and also, by the same date, to halve the proportion of people who are unable to reach, or to afford, safe drinking water.
To ensure that, by the same date, children everywhere, boys and girls alike, will be able to complete a full course of primary schooling; and that girls and boys will have equal access to all levels of education.
By the same date, to have reduced maternal mortality by three quarters, and under-5 child mortality by two thirds, of their current rates.
To halve, by then, halted, and begun to reverse, the spread of HIV/AIDS, the scourge of malaria and other major diseases that afflict humanity
To provide special assistance to children orphaned by HIV/AIDS.
World leaders have made important commitments. The priority must be to intensify our collective efforts to ensure that the various commitments are turned into concrete actions.

This will demand, inter alia –

the restructuring of the UN and it’s institutions
the convening of the 2nd round of the WTO with a developmental agenda, [e.g. the re-examination of the rules governing intellectual prosperity rights, dumping and counter dumping measures, subsidies etc].
debt cancellation, human resource development and capacity building, technology transfer
greater market access
greater Foreign Direct Investment.
Conclusion

It is intended that this "Think Tank" on SA/Brazil relations will not only bring to the fore diverse opinions and birth new ideas, but also that at its conclusion its findings will serve to benefit Government in its approach to bilateral, as well as, multilateral relations.


It is the function of government to formulate policy, but the participation of civil society; academics; the business sector and NGOs are essential to this process. It is heartening to see participants from these diverse sectors of society present here today, prepared to actively make their contribution to enhanced SA/Brazil relations. I salute your efforts and wish you well as you embark on this symposium.


I thank you.


FOR MORE INFORMATION, PLEASE CONTACT DUMISANI RASHELENG

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PRETORIA

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19 JUNE 2001


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