Address by the Minister of Foreign Affairs of South Africa, Dr Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma on the Occasion of the Budget Vote of the Department of Foreign Affairs, Cape Town 15 April 2005

Madame Speaker
President Thabo Mbeki
Deputy President Jacob Zuma
Honourable Members
Ministers and Deputy Ministers
Members of the Diplomatic Corps
Distinguished Guests
Ladies and Gentlemen:

Sixty years ago, representatives of a small group of countries, including Apartheid South Africa, gathered on the shores of San Francisco to establish the United Nations.

In this regard, the Preamble of the United Nations Charter states:
We the Peoples of the United Nations Determined

  • To save succeeding generations for the scourge of war, which twice in our lifetime has brought untold sorrow to mankind, and
  • To reaffirm faith in fundamental human rights, in the dignity and worth of the human person, in the equal rights of men and women and of nations large and small, and
  • To establish conditions under which justice and respect for the obligations arising from treaties and other sources of international law can be maintained, and
  • To promote social progress and better standards of life in larger freedom.

And for these ends:

  • To practice tolerance and live together in peace with one another as good neighbours, and
  • To unite our strength to maintain international peace and security, and
  • To ensure, by the acceptance of principles and the institution of methods, that armed force shall not be used, save in the common interest, and
  • To employ international machinery for the promotion of the economic and social advancement of all peoples.

This gave rise to a new hope of a peaceful, secure and stable world, of a non-racial, non sexist world, that respects human rights and above all take collective responsibility, not only for international peace, but also for promotion of economic and social advancement of all peoples.

Ten years after the UN was established ie. 50 years ago, representatives of African and Asian nations arrived in Bandung, Indonesia for a conference that strengthened Afro-Asian solidarity. South Africa was represented by Molve Cachalia and Moses Kotane.

President Sukarno of Indonesia, opening the Conference said, "Perhaps now more than at any other moment in the history of the world, society, government and statesmanship need to be based upon the highest code of morality and ethics. And in political terms, what is the highest code of morality? It is the subordination of everything to the well being of mankind. But today, we are faced with a situation where the well being of mankind is not always the primary consideration. Many who are in places of high power think, rather, of controlling the world. Yes, we are living in a world of fear. The life of man today is corroded and made bitter by fear. Fear of the future, fear of the hydrogen bomb, fear of ideologies. Perhaps this fear is a greater danger than the danger itself, because it is fear which drives men to act foolishly, to act thoughtlessly, to act dangerously …"

These words, though spoken fifty years ago, are still very true today, especially if we include the fear of terrorism and the fear of weapons of mass destruction.

Fifty years after the founding of the United Nations, in 1995, the Nations of the World, realising that the sexist society was a long way from realisation, adopted the Beijing Platform for Action which was to make sure that women's rights are human rights and that women were fully integrated into society and were part of decision making, amongst other things.

In 2000, Nations of the world, realising that the majority of the people on our planet are poor and yet there exist in the same planet, enough resources to ensure that no child goes hungry, goes without access to health care, to education and to shelter amongst other things, they adopted the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).

We relate all this Madame Speaker, not only because these events marked critical milestones, but also because we need to evaluate whether in 60 years of the UN we have made progress. We may indeed have succeeded in stopping the third world war, which in itself is an achievement, but, is the world more secure, are we free from fear, do we have equality of man and woman, are we free of racism and discrimination, have we employed international machinery for the promotion of economic and social advancement of all peoples.

In September of this year, leaders of the world will gather once again at the United Nation's General Assembly, as they have over the past few decades, to debate the issues that confront the world and humanity and to make that evaluation.

By the time they gather in New York these world leaders would be informed of the outcomes of the review work done by significant sectors of the world's global intellectual class. I refer here to the various important panels that presented their work to the Secretary General in preparation for the forthcoming General Assembly. These panels brought together collectively hundreds of experts from various disciplines from the various regions of the world who produced thousands of pages of expert advise on the problems, challenges and solutions to the global issues of the day.

Included among these, is the Jeffrey Sachs report entitled: "Investing in Development, a practical plan to achieve the Millennium Development Goals", the Cardoso Report entitled: "We the peoples: civil society, the United Nations and global governance", the International Labour Organisation's report entitled: "A Fair Globalization: Creating Opportunities for All", the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment Synthesis Report, the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action Ten Year assessment report, the High-Level Panel Report entitled: "A more secure world: our shared responsibility", the Secretary General's Report that sought to bring all of the above together entitled: "In larger freedom: towards development, security and human rights for all," and the Common African Position on the proposed reform of the United Nations entitled: "The Ezulwini Consensus".

All of these reports speak eloquently and in volumes to the important global issues confronting humanity and as such it is only but incumbent upon our world leaders, and indeed on all of us, to be appraised of the analysis, findings, and recommendations of these important panels.

These reports tell us, what many of us know but what many of us may not want to know, allow me the opportunity to high-light just some of their findings:

  • That we live in a globalised community and interdependent world in which globalization has set in motion far reaching change and challenges affecting everyone and in all spheres of life. In this sense, no country or people can claim to be islands onto themselves no matter how rich or powerful they may be.
  • Increasingly as a result of rampant economic globalization the world has been cast into two contrasting villages, one in which the rich of the world are getting richer and more powerful and another in which the poor of the world are getting poorer and more marginalized. This ever-increasing gap between the have and the have-nots is occurring between and within countries and regions.

Out of the world population of six billion, almost halve have incomes of less than US$2 a day.

In recent decades the poorest 5% of the world's population has lost more than a quarter of its purchasing power, while the richest increased its real income by 12%. The national per capita income of the twenty richest countries is 37 times larger that that of the twenty poorest, a gap which has doubled in size over the last forty years.

For Africa the debates once again brought into sharp focus the reality that Africa is a continent where poverty is on the increase. Over 40% of Sub-Saharan African people live below the international poverty line of US$1 a day. More than 140 million young Africans are illiterate. The mortality rate of children under 5 years of age is 140 per 1000, and life expectancy at birth is only 54 years. Only 58 per cent of the population have access to safe water. Africa's share of world trade has plummeted, accounting for less than 2%.

  • FDI into Africa is negligible.
  • In absolute terms, bilateral ODA flows to African economies have dropped in the last decade, from $25 billion to $16 billion [a 40% drop] and fell well short of the estimated $64 billion a year required to reach the Millennium Development Goals.
  • According to a latest study of UNCTAD debt continues to impact decisively on our developmental efforts.
  • The gap between men and women has also grown wider. The potential benefits that the globalization process holds have not evenly been shared by all the world's people. Nor have these benefits been evenly shared between men and women. The ills of globalization have been disproportionately shared by the poor of the world. And for this reason special attention needs to be given to the marginalized women of the world.
  • That the international financial architecture and the global political architecture favour the wealthy and the powerful. International trade institutions have not worked towards the equality of all the world's people.
  • That the international system is beset by global issues of insecurity, such as terrorism, organized crime, drugs, migration, human trafficking, the proliferation of WMDs, and small arms. Across the world entire communities are also experiencing insecurity through conflicts, internal displacement, racism, intolerance, poverty, deadly infectious diseases, and environmental degradation. And that all of these threats are interconnected and affect all of us, whether rich or poor one-way or the other.
  • That over the past fifty years humans have changed ecosystems more rapidly and extensively than in any comparable period of time in human history, largely to meet rapidly growing demands for food, fresh water, timber, fibre and fuel. This has resulted in a substantial and largely irreversible loss in the diversity of life on Earth. The degradation of ecosystems services is harming many of the world's poorest people and is sometimes the principal factor causing poverty.
  • That the time has arrived, in order to make a meaningful contribution to rolling-back poverty and underdevelopment, to fast track the implementation of the MDGs with bold, creative and decisive action by all in order to provide to the billions of the world's poor who are trapped in the misery of poverty not only the means to live a productive life but also the hope to live a better live.
  • That achieving the MDGs must be placed centrally in international efforts to end violent conflicts, instability and terrorism and that investing in poverty alleviation and development is fundamental to conflict prevention and to peace-making.
  • That essential to empowering the poor of the world necessitates core investment in infrastructure and human capital that empowers the poor to join the global economy.
  • That the special developmental needs of Africa, much of which is stuck within poverty traps, must be recognized and requires, among others, specific poverty-scale interventions by all. Africa's developmental challenges are much deeper than governance alone, and that it requires a big push in public investments to overcome the regions high transport costs, generally small markets, low-productivity agriculture, adverse agroclimatic conditions, high disease burden and slow diffusion of technology from abroad.
  • have presented these specific findings, among many others, drawn from the various panels because I believe they give us a sense of the crisis of complexity that confront all of human society, be it at a national, regional or international level.

President Mbeki, in addressing these issues at the NAM Conference, in Durban last year, correctly articulated three key challenges that face the work of the Movement and I quote:
"One of them is the challenge of poverty and underdevelopment, which continue to afflict billions of our people across the globe;

The second is that we have the continued challenge of peace and stability. The issue of international terrorism is part of the challenge to ensure the achievement of peace and stability which we need.

The third challenge we face is the restructuring of the global exercise of power- of political power, of economic power, of military power and of social power".

Central to achieving this, is the willingness of all of us, rich and the poor, the strong and the weak, based on the premise that we all live interconnected lives, to share our common planet in a manner that ensure its sustainability for the generations to come, is our willingness to share our humanity based on real understanding of global solidarity and on our willingness to share and abide by the rule-books that we write as equal nations of the world committed to multilateral cooperation in pursuit of mutual advantage.

It is this understanding that informs all that we do in the sphere of international relations be it on the Continent or anywhere else in the world. As a country that has chosen the path to peace, hope and solidarity, committed to addressing the social and economic injustices of the world we do not have any other option but to conduct our international affairs in a manner that respects international law and promotes multilateralism as a means of seeking consensus in the affairs of the world.

Consequently, in pursuit of the above, as agents of progressive change we shall continue our engagement with the global debate directed towards the restructuring of the existing global power relations, particularly through the reform of the global multilateral institutions such as the United Nations, Bretton Woods institutions and the World Trade Organisations. To this end the department has actively participated in the debates on UN reform, particularly on the reform of the UNSC, in order to make the UN more effective in dealing with the new challenges as well as to make it more transparent and democratic.

Needless to say, as an African country we have worked with other countries on the Continent, to shape and determine the Common African Position with regard to the United Nations reform as a whole. Consequently as an African country we shall pursue Africa's goal to be fully represented in all decision-making organs of the UN, particularly in the Security Council, which is the principal decision-making organ of the UN in matters relating to international peace and security. Consistent with the Ezulwini Consensus, we shall engage with global community to ensure that Africa has:

Not less than two permanent seats with all the prerogatives and privileges of permanent membership including the right of veto;
Five non-permanent seats;

Even though Africa is opposed in principle to the veto, it is of the view that so long as it exists, and as a matter of common justice, it should be made available to all permanent members of the Security Council;

That the African Union should be responsible for the selection of Africa's representatives in the Security Council.

The Ezulwini Consensus encompassed everything in the report, not only the reform of the Security Council.

We welcome the Secretary-General's Report and we are supportive of many, if not all on a qualified basis, of the recommendations and proposals he has made. We are confident that the Common African Position, especially the position I have just spoken to, can and must be accommodated within the ongoing debate and negotiations occurring at the United Nations.

We endorse the Secretary General's assertion that "we will not enjoy development without security, we will not enjoy security without development, and we will not enjoy either without respect for human rights", and commend him for shaping a common understanding on the need for the world to develop a vision of collective security based on a shared assessment of the current global threats and obligations needed in addressing these threats.

As a country committed to economic and social justice, we are firm in the view that the current path of globalization must change, that the benefits of globalization can be expanded and that the means and resources needed to create a better world for all are at hand. Consequently, we shall continue to actively engage with the community of nations, particularly with the fellow developing countries of the South to face the many challenges in realizing our collective hope to create a better life for all of our peoples.

We shall continue to ensure that greater effort is given by all, especially by the developed countries of the North, to attain the objectives, goals and programmes agreed to at the Millennium Summit. The attainment of the MDGs, the implementation of the programmes that emerged out of 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 are all central to the challenge of the development of the countries of the South.

Of course, we are conscious of the fact that there can be no eradication of poverty and the Millennium Development Goals will not be achieved without the implementation of the Beijing Platform for Action. Women constitute the majority of the people.

We shall continue to struggle for the total emancipation of women including their integration into the decision-making structures of every country and multilateral organization, including the United Nations.

Madame Speaker

In order to meet the development needs of Africa, African leaders have pledged that Africans should possess their own future and development agenda. Nowhere more than in Africa has the need for the mobilisation of resources to address the developmental challenges facing the people been so stark.

Again it is our assertion that without the necessary resources to address developmental challenges, the issue of conflict resolution, peace and stability will remain elusive.

In this regard research has shown that where conflict resolution has taken place without post conflict reconstruction and development, such countries have in no time slid back into instability and conflict.

We have to ensure that the people of DRC, Burundi, Sudan, Côte d'Ivoire, Liberia, Comoros, Sierra Leone and others do not suffer the same fate.

We make bold the statement that Africans themselves must take destiny into their own hands. In this regard, Africans must themselves be at the forefront of mobilisation of their own resources to address the developmental challenges facing the continent.

In this context, NEPAD will only succeed to the extent to which Africans themselves are prepared to take possession of their own economic recovery and renewal.

Chairperson

The Africa Commission's usefulness will be measured according to the extent of resources it can mobilise for NEPAD.

We also hope the G-8 meeting will produce resources for the Africa Action Plan.

Next week, 50 years after the historic 1955 Conference, African and Asian countries will retrace their steps to Bandung with the hope to strengthen, not only the political ties, but the economic ties that will bring self-reliance for sustainable development in Asia and Africa.

It is our conviction that the forthcoming Asia-Africa Summit will launch a new strategic initiative of the two continents building on the spirit of solidarity in Bandung.

Writing in Sechaba in July 1979 on "the spirit of Bandung", Oliver Tambo acknowledged the importance of Bandung in world history and asserted how far we have come along this road to freedom when he asserted boldly that:

"The Afro-Asian solidarity movement has traversed a long and complicated but glorious past since the days, 25 years ago next year when a delegation of the African National Congress travelled from Johannesburg to Bandung in Indonesia to join hands with representatives of the peoples of the rest of Africa and of Asia bring into being what has proved itself as a steadfast friend of all peoples fighting for national and social emancipation, the Afro-Asian people's Solidarity Organisation."

"The African National Congress is proud that over all these years it has marched among the ranks of the peoples represented by this Organisation, participating in the great struggles that have seen the wiping out of colonialism from the African and Asian continents and the re-emergence of hundreds and millions of people in world politics as free and active participants in the collective construction of a better human destiny."

Madame Speaker:

South Africa, like all other developing countries, is looking forward to having a common position to ensure that the next round of the WTO negotiations must have a developmental agenda.

Intra-African trade, economic development and investment are receiving our attention particularly at the bilateral level.

In our quest to continue along the path towards progressive change for the people of the world, we will be participating in the South Summit in Qatar, hosting the Progressive Governance Summit in October, and continuing our work in IBSA, with the people of the Caribbean and the rest of the African Diaspora.

We continue to work with other African countries to strengthen the African Union (AU) and SADC in our region.

Inspired by 50 years of the Freedom Charter, 60 years of the United Nations, the commemoration of 50 years of organised African and Asian solidarity and the first Decade of Democracy in South Africa, we will continue in our practical efforts towards sustainable development.

For it is our firm belief that we have entered a new African season of hope and that indeed, in the words of Walter Rodney, we have the ability to make history.

Yesterday, the President hosted a group of students from Vukuzakhe High School in Umlazi. Their representative, Ms Mbuyaze, a grade 11 learner, in her talk, gave her address to the President, gave her own interpretation of our foreign policy. She said the following:

"We are mindful of the President's workload and responsibilities of running a country - the President's crusade to restore African dignity and pride through NEPAD and the African Renaissance."

"By the way", she said, "whether South Africa ends up occupying one of the two seats on the Security Council is hardly the issue. The issue is that I believe I'm expressing a common sentiment, am proud to be a South African, because Africa will be the winner and our president has no small part in it."

It is this sense of hope and pride expressed by our youth that give us the determination to succeed in our endeavours as we strive for a better South Africa, Africa and world.

For future generations of this winning nation, we shall indeed make history and ensure that the African people do have a permanent peace, an entrenched democracy and the possibilities for sustainable development.

We must bequeath to future generations of men and women a South Africa, Africa and a better world than the one we found.

Madame Speaker

Deputy Foreign Minister Aziz Pahad will elaborate on South Africa's peace efforts while Deputy Minister Sue van der Merwe will elaborate on the continued restructuring of the Department and the Pan-African Parliament amongst other things.

In conclusion, I would like to express my gratitude to President Thabo Mbeki and to Deputy President Jacob Zuma for their outstanding leadership in the international community especially their unrelenting efforts in bringing about peace on the African continent and their work towards the realisation of an African renaissance.

My Cabinet Colleagues also deserve acknowledgement for their support. A special thanks also goes to the Chair of the Portfolio Committee on Foreign Affairs, Mr Job Sithole, and to the Members of this Committee, for its attentiveness and responsiveness.

I would like to thank Deputy Minister Aziz Pahad and Deputy Minister Sue van Der Merwe for their sterling contributions in the last year as well as convey my gratitude to the Director-General, Ayanda Ntsaluba, and officials of the Department for devoting their intellects and energies in assisting with creating a better South Africa in a better Africa and a better world.

I thank you.

Issued by Department of Foreign Affairs
Private Bag X152
Pretoria
0001

15 April 2005

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