Statement by the President of the Republic of South Africa, His Excellency Jacob Zuma at the conclusion of the meeting of the leaders of the Group of Five (G5), L'Aquila, Italy, 8 July 2009

President of Mexico,
President of Brazil;
Deputy Prime Minister of China;
Prime Minister of India;
Members of the media,

It is a great honour and privilege for South Africa to participate in the meeting of leaders of the G5 countries.  As we gather here, we are mindful of the tragedy of the earthquake that struck this area just three months ago. We express our condolences to those who are bereaved and extend our sympathies to those displaced by this disaster.

We are here today because we share a common vision of a better, more equitable world.  We share a determination to work together as countries of the South, in partnership with the North, to achieve this goal.  We are here because we believe that the challenges that affect the world today can only be resolved through peaceful cooperation, global dialogue and, most importantly, coordinated action. 

The world is today confronted by multiple crises.  These include the current economic crisis, food insecurity, energy scarcity, climate change, and the global spread of influence.  These crises require a global response that involves developed and developing countries in a partnership of cooperation and mutual respect.  We recall the decision of G5 Foreign Ministers meeting at the UN General Assembly last year to deepen dialogue among member countries to enable a more effective response on these issues.  This process compliments and enhances other programmes, such as the New Partnership for Africa’s Development. 

The current global economic slowdown should urge us to move with greater speed in implementing these commitments, better to improve the economic capacity of the African continent.  The G8 Summit needs to build on the agreements of the G20 London Summit in ensuring a coordinated response to the global economic crisis.  In particular, we need to ensure faster reform of the Bretton Woods institutions to ensure representation of developing and poor countries.  At the heart of efforts to create a just, stable and sustainable world order is the fundamental reform of the United Nations system, including the UN Security Council, to better represent the needs and interests of all the countries of the world.  As Africans we remain deeply concerned by climate change, to which the continent is particularly vulnerable.  This year we need the G8 to lead in achieving a commitment from all developed countries to ambitious, legally binding and absolute emissions reductions.

This G8 Summit will be judged on the extent to which it advances the Millennium Development Goals, makes tangible progress in combating climate change, and contributes to a robust response to the economic crisis.  We are confident that this summit will respond positively to the needs of the peoples of the world.  It should make a significant contribution to the fight against poverty and hunger and the ongoing struggle for peace, stability and development.  I thank you.

Issued by:
The Presidency
Union Buildings
8 July 2009

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