Minister Dlamini Zuma Speech at the Iusy Festival - Kaman Overlap, Greece 26 July 2003

President of the IUSY, Alvaro Alidade;

Secretary General of the IUSY, Enzo Amendable;

The Executive Bureau of PASOK;

Progressive youth of the World;

Fellow Guests

It is indeed my pleasure and honour to be amongst you today. I add my voice to the many, in expressing my congratulations to the PASOK Youth who took on the challenge of organising the IUSY Festival 2003.

Nonetheless, I must express my concern that politicians should not be coming to your Conference to address you but rather to take this opportunity to pause and to listen to this important sector of our society, the youth.

Further, given the uncertainties of the times we live in, it is only correct that the progressive youth of the world, should come together, to discuss the challenges facing the world, under the theme: "Action for Peace!"

As the youth, you are not only the majority of the world’s citizens but you will inherit this world in the future. It is therefore critically important that you begin now to seek to shape and transform it into a better place for all. In that way you can be the architects of your own destiny.

As progressive forces, we can only but agree with the assertion that peace as a human condition is not merely the absence of war and conflict, but also a state of human socio-economic well being.

Consequently, we assert the vision that the peaceful world which we seek is not only a world that is people centred, people-driven, just, stable, and secure, but also a world that is free of poverty and under-development and one that ensures equality, co-operation and solidarity among all nations, in which the masses of the people participate in the affairs of the state - both nationally and internationally.

This very Festival is a building bloc towards a peaceful world. Peace starts with mutual understanding, building bonds of friendship, solidarity and strong internationalism.

This must surely continue to define our actions within the countries we live in and in the regions and continents we inhabit. As the progressive youth of the world, this is certainly your destiny and your future!

Humanity is at a crossroad, that can best be characterised, more by what divides, rather than what unites us. Diversity is viewed as a threat rather than a strength that contributes to the beautiful tapestry of humanity.

It is indeed sad to note that whilst globalisation has created immense opportunities of wealth for some, it has produced the abundance of poverty for others. It is immoral that we should live in a world in which the rich are getting richer and more powerful whilst the poor are getting poorer and more marginalized.

Instead of globalisation creating a common village characterised by democracy, justice, freedom and prosperity for all, it has produced two contrasting villages - one which is indeed prosperous, rich and democratic for the few who live in it - and the other, in which the majority are poor, alienated and marginalized with hardly any voice to determine their own destiny.

In this regard, President Thabo Mbeki of South Africa, noted at the recent Progressive Governance Summit held in London, that: " Global poverty constitutes the deepest and most dangerous structural fault in the contemporary world economy and global human security".

Never before has the world witnessed such unprecedented alienation and marginalisation of societies from the institutions that shape and direct their lives.

This alienation undermines the very essence of democracy, which entails participation of the masses. It is worsening especially in countries of the North where voter turn out is always very small, and general participation in affairs of governance virtually absent at national level.

Internationally, democracy is practised through the multilateral organisations, imperfect as it may be. Recently there has been an increasing tendency towards unilateralism and thus the weakening of the multilateral system of international governance. This is a very dangerous development and not only does it undermine the very essence of democracy but poses a threat to world peace and security.

This reality that confronts us, must mean that unless as the youth, you mobilise for change and for the reconstruction of a world based on common and shared humanity where indeed we are all our brother’s and sister’s keepers, you will inherit a very dangerous, divided world which is a threat to global peace.

It is for this reason we welcome the Declaration of the recently held Progressive Governance Summit Communique which stated, among other things, that:

"This century has the potential to bring huge advances in health, in knowledge, in prosperity, and to bring billions of people out of poverty.

" We are optimistic that a truly prosperous, inclusive and secure global society is within our reach. However, realising that potential depends on careful and concerted action. It depends on the progress we make in further integrating our economies, societies, regions and communities. And it depends on our success in standing firm against division within societies - against prejudice, discrimination, and inequality - and against division at a global level into competing blocs.

" Some will continue to respond by turning inwards to the comforts of old identities, old ways of thinking and old structures. We believe that new challenges demand new solutions that combine fiscal responsibility, investment in citizens and democratic processes.

" As progressive government, we should therefore accelerate our work in matching imaginative new ideas with practical means of putting them at the service of the citizens we represent."

As the progressive leaders of tomorrow, I call upon you, for the sake of a better world for all, to join hands with the progressive leaders of today, in doing what ought to be done, as we transform ourselves into activists for the victory of the global progressive agenda, activists for a more equal, caring and most importantly a peaceful world.

As activists of progressive change, we must empower those who are powerless and take the world’s people to a more humane position - a common vantage point that stands for peace and stability and a world that will use its might in feeding and educating its children; in protecting the vulnerable; in privileging dialogue and conflict resolution over war and acts of terrorism; in ensuring peaceful disarmament over a show of military might that has devastating and unknown consequences for a large part of humanity.

We have no option but to choose the path of hope and solidarity as we pursue effective and constructive dialogue among the peoples of the world based on mutual interest, benefits and a shared responsibility to the common issues that confront humanity. We must act in a manner that respects international law and promotes multilateralism as a means of seeking consensus in world affairs.

As activists of progressive change we must rally behind the objectives and programmes agreed to, at the Millennium Summit. The attainment of the Millennium Goals will enable us to transform the face of the world in the shortest possible time. We must implement the programmes agreed to at the World Conference against Racism Xenophobia and Related Intolerances, the World Food Summit, the Financing for Development conference and the World Summit for Sustainable Development, amongst other landmark events.

A region of the world, which cannot escape the attention of Festival 2003, is the Middle East. Our common humanity and solidarity compels us to desire for the people of that region, what we desire for ourselves; and that is peace, stability and security for all.

A just and sustainable settlement that recognises the right of Palestinians to statehood and the right of Israel to exist within secure borders should surely bring lasting peace to both nations. I am therefore pleased to learn that Festival 2003 has been seized with the issues of peace in the Middle East.

We must do more to exert our belief that the strengthening of international relations is only possible through a durable process of dialogue amongst people based on mutual respect and one that promotes the culture of peace, respect and acceptance of diversity within unity.

As Africans, we too have stopped at the crossroad to reflect upon the way ahead. We have recognised that the moment is upon us when the marginalisation of our continent must surely come to an end and that as Africans we have a common and shared destiny.

We came together to reaffirm the challenge that none but ourselves can set our continent on a recovery path, and that we are the architects of our own future and thus claim the right to shape our own destiny.

Through our actions, we are committed to claim this century as the African Century and we accept the challenge that we Africans must liberate our continent from the indignity of poverty, ignorance, and economic marginalisation.

We accept the responsibility to create peace and stability, to deepen democracy and to ensure that good governance underpins all our efforts. We accept the responsibility to end war and conflict on our continent, to end dictatorships and domination by corrupt elites.

In pursuit of all of this, African leaders a year ago, came together in Durban, South Africa, to launch the African Union, and adopt its development programme, NEPAD.

Within the coming year, and as a matter of urgency, we will establish the Pan African Parliament, the Peace and Security Council, the Economic and Social Council, adopt a Common Defence and Security Policy, and install the African Court of Justice and eventually the financial organs.

All of these structures shall be seized with the issues of African peace, African solidarity and Africa’s sustained development.

We are doing all this, to ensure that Africa is fully integrated in the world community, taking her rightful place as an equal in the affairs of the world. In this context, we are turning Africa into a continent of hope.

We believe this is possible not only for Africa but for all the poor regions and poor peoples of the world. It is our assertion that there are enough resources to deal with the problems of poverty in the whole world. All we require is a collective political will in the world. As the world mobilised against the injustice and indignity of apartheid, so can the world mobilise against the indignity of poverty in the midst of plenty.

If we do not do it, the poor and the marginalized will eventually rise against such injustice. A vision for peace must surely mean a vision for fighting poverty and alienation.

Let me pause to request from you, the progressive youth of the world, to make this - your cause and your objective. Partner the poor and marginalized the world over, share in their dreams and aspirations, as they most certainly share in yours.

None but yourselves can ensure a better future for the coming generations of youths and people of the world, regardless of colour, gender, disability, culture and belief.

Together, you can and must map out a better future for all humanity.

I Thank You.

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