Minister Dlamini Zuma´s Address during the Opening Session
of the 3rd IBSA Ministerial Trilateral Commission, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, 30
Your Excellency Ambassador Celso Amorim,
Minister Anand Sharma,
Your Excellencies Ambassadors,
Leaders of the Focal
Leaders of the Business Delegations,
the instance of our meeting in Rio de Janeiro we would be obliged to enquire on
the level of progress and significance that this forum has hitherto established.
It is particularly important to do so because our Principals are about to converge
and attest to the relevance of IBSA to the world.
The key challenge will
be whether this Dialogue Forum has in any significant fashion achieved its objectives.
Perhaps the question to ask is whether any impact has occurred as a consequence
of our existence, has the world remained the same, or has any ground shifted since
The depth of this question is in the history and purpose of
our founding. A short visit to 2003 will be instructive and I propose to do so
by recalling our founding principles. As many of you will recall, we did boldly
proclaim to the world that we shall seek a deeper consultative process between
and amongst ourselves. This we would do to enhance our common positions in the
We further proclaimed the desire to grow trilateral
cooperation measures. To this end we imagined that if one of us was strong in
a particular area and field and the other in another, a collective exploitation
of our individual strengths would put our resources into better use and ensure
We further proclaimed at the time that we shall seek to
exist not in exclusion and sole benefit to ourselves, that in the spirit of common
and balanced development we shall seek to contribute our efforts, resources and
energies to those causes in our neighbourhoods that we shall collectively deem
deserving. We committed ourselves to the possibility of moving the fight against
poverty beyond the realm and borders off our respective countries.
Excellencies, we dreamt of an IBSA that would have a program of action, an IBSA
that would not be limited to an interaction amongst governments only, but an IBSA
that would spread its relevance to business, academia and all other organs of
We proclaimed that we should seek to construct a new paradigm
and philosophical grounding in the manner in which we would shift the emphasis
of the North -South trade axis. That we will also think it important to invest
confidence in ourselves and the ability to trade with each other and create a
South South horizontal axle.
Time has come for us to reevaluate our modest
dreams and check the reality score, so that we can find the legitimacy of our
Principals making bold of their yesterday's dreams to the world. We have taken
small steps towards our dreams and perhaps for me some of the significant areas:
From small beginnings of initiating
dialogue between and amongst ourselves on international trade issues, we have
changed the manner in which business had been constructed. Without embellishment
I think it would be correct to assert that our collective interventions in calling
the G20 into being, has produced an indelible constructive mark on the negotiations
on trade in the WTO.
Acknowledging that the road ahead is still marred
with real hardships and difficulties, it would also be fair to say that the G20
has set the development agenda in an irreversible mode. The future is reassuring
and the course for South-South cooperation has never been more real.
three of us can jointly proclaim that common positions and galvanizing unity on
common purpose is formidable. The recent formation of NAMA 11 attests to this
We have acted in common purpose and consort in the fight
for the reform of the United Nations. Whilst that fight is not yet over but clearly
our areas of common convergence have become more pronounced. Our separate and
collective attitude and regard to the progress in the attainment of the Millennium
Declaration Goals stand us in good stead. The determination to succeed in this
regard and urge those in our neighbourhoods to do the same suggest that if we
persevere it may that hope will triumph over despondency and a new reality will
emerge, we may banish poverty for a sizeable number of our populations.
Our agenda has over time found a more focused expression
on those issues that would produce most progress and set us up on an independent
and competitive footing. During the UNGA 60 session and meeting on its wing, our
Principals have pointed us in the right direction as they correctly alluded to
the need for concerted efforts in evolving intervention strategies on questions
of Energy, ICT, Transport, Trade and Investments. Let me give attention to each
It has become abundantly clear that reliance
on fossil fuels as sources of energy have imposed constraints on our development
now and in the future. Work is thus apace to share both experiences and innovative
technologies in developing alternatives sources of energy. Serving as platforms
for such discussions will continue to be the knowledge base that the three countries
have on bio-fuels such as ethanol production and others.
challenge to enhance our competitive edge rests in our ability to fortify our
efforts to be on the cutting edge of innovation in as far as information and technological
competence is concerned. We will be well served if our societies are able to grapple
with the requirement to close the digital gab and remove ignorance. Progress towards
e-governance for a better delivery of services to our people is afoot and negotiations
towards an IBSA website is in progress
in the area of transportation of goods between our respective continents have
evidently begged for an elaborate plan on both maritime and air service transportation.
It is expected of our technical experts to elaborate on these plans and bring
them into operation soon.
The benefits seem obvious and yet significant
in changing the landscapes of our economies. Development of logistics, infrastructure
and transshipment hubs will enhance our flow of trade, facilitate movements of
persons and bring tourism potential to its full realization.
Whilst the potential between our countries has always looked
us in the eye, it is true that we have hitherto not fully realized such. Walking
back the memory lane, perhaps it would be prudent to recall our joint resolve
to have established greater trade flows, something in the order of US $ 10 billion.
Inspired by New Delhi, it could have been said we were too ambitious or motivated
by dreams of zealous persons.
Consistent with the requirement to let hard
work transform yesterday's dreams into today's reality the signs for this potential
to be realized is there. As at 2005, trade between Brazil and South Africa is
US$1.7 billion, Brazil and India is US$ 2.3 billion, and these are signs of growth
and achievement in that direction.
In our quest to succeed in this regard
we have since realized the signing of the SACU/MERCUSUR preferential trade and
also MERCUSUR/India preferential. The IBSA countries are also in the process of
harmonizing the said process of preferential trade arrangements.
in 2003 we made bold of our desire to ensure a non-insular regard to the importance
and significance of IBSA. We expressed the desire to have ensured that IBSA was
not an exclusive prerogative of government, but that it would anchor its legitimacy
of broad based acceptance and embracement by civil society. Not only have we in
this regard founded the Business Council to which our businesspersons have taken
to with enthusiasm. A year later since Cape Town and the launch , the three countries
have steadfastly maintained interest and will report new outcomes on their engagement.
recall with pride and humility our engagement in Guinea Bissau. We are hopeful
that our small intervention will make a difference in the lives of ordinary people
touched by that project. We look forward to the projects in Haiti and Palestine
taking root and similarly producing a positive effect.
In conclusion, let
me turn my attention to yet an important issue that commonly confront the three
of us including fellow developing countries. This is the issue of the REACH legislation.
As you will recall, this is the European Union legislation on Registration, Evaluation,
and Authorisation of Chemicals.
Colleagues will recall that the legislation
finds its legitimacy in the WSSD article 20 of the Johannesburg Plan of Action.
are thus intrinsically not opposed to the spirit of the legislation but are perturbed
by the unintended negative consequences of the legislation. The requirement to
register about 30 000 chemicals covered by the scope of the legislation will impose
a cost burden of approximately E9.2 billion on developing countries, will take
at least 18 months to register an item and so forth.
If REACH were to be
implemented in its current form, it would wreak havoc and stunt the development
of our economies. The legislation would act as a Technical Barriers to Trade (TBT);
the effect on trade regarding minerals, ores, chemicals, textiles and metals is
simply enormous and devastating. We are thus obliged towards common purpose and
action to develop a unifying program of action to negotiate a better dispensation.