Notes following briefing by Multilateral DDG Nene, Union Buildings, Pretoria, 22 July 2009
In the past few weeks the President of the country led a delegation to L’ Aquila and the G8 Summit meeting and to the Non Aligned Movement meeting.
As you may know that last week culminated in the successful conclusion of the meeting of the Non Aligned Movement (NAM) which is one of the largest multilateral groups.
The XV NAM Summit took place at Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt from 11 to 16 July 2009 under the theme “International Solidarity for Peace and Development”. The following meetings in the context of the Summit were convened:
The indicative themes of the interactive debate for the Ministerial meeting as well as for the General debate of the XV Summit were:
- International solidarity for peace and development.
- International financial crises and its impact on the Members of the Movement, means to deal with the financial crises.
South Africa actively participated in all levels of the Summit through interventions made by the Minister and the President in the General Debates of the Ministerial and Summit meetings.
The Summit considered and adopted the following outcome documents:
- Summit Final Document: an omnibus declaration focussing on issues in three major areas - Global Issues (mainly political issues); Regional and Sub-Regional issues; and Development, Social and Human Rights issues
- Sharm El Sheikh Summit Declaration: declaring that due consideration should be given to maximising the ability of NAM to deal with the current rapidly evolving global situations, crises and challenges. The declaration includes, but is not limited to, issues such as Disarmament; Peacekeeping and Peace-building; Human Rights and Democracy; Self Determination; the situation in the Middle East – the core of which is the Palestine question; the Reform of the UN; MDG; special needs to Africa; Sanctions; International agreed Development Goals; Food Security; Special Needs of Africa; Pandemics; Civil Society; Energy; Climate Change; Trafficking in Persons; International Terrorism; and Enhancing dialogue among Civilisations and Religions.
- Declaration on ”Nelson Mandela International Day – 18 July”
- Declaration on the “The Necessity of ending the Economic, Commercial and Financial Embargo imposed by the United States of America against Cuba”
- Plan of Action of the Non-Aligned Movement for the period 2009 -2012
- Report of the Rapporteur General.
The Minister also made an intervention during the meeting of the Committee on Palestine of which South Africa is a member. The NAM Committee on Palestine also adopted a Declaration on Palestine.
The introduction by South Africa of the “Declaration on Nelson Mandela International Day – 18 July” and the unanimous support by all delegations at all levels of the Summit for the declaration was a highlight for the South African delegation. The Heads of State and Government not only endorsed the declaration but also requested that “a resolution to this effect be adopted by the UN General Assembly at its 64th session.” The South African delegation to the 64th Regular Session of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA64) will therefore follow-through on this by introducing a similar resolution during the session.
Anchoring South Africa’s international relations in Africa makes it imperative that delegations to UNGA and other multilateral forums will also follow-through on the Sharm El Sheikh Summit Declaration’s highlighting of the “Special Needs of Africa”. In this regard we will continue to promote the full implementation of all commitments by the international community to address the special needs of Africa as contained in the United Nations Political Declaration on Africa’s Development Needs adopted during the 63rd session of UNGA.
South Africa participated at the G8 summit in L’Aquila, from the 08th to the 10th July 2009. Again the President of the country led a delegation Italy as the chair hosted the G8 Summit in L’Aquila, Italy from 8 to 10 July 2009.
President Zuma led the South African delegation and was accompanied by Minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane of the Department of International Relations and Cooperation, Minister Buyelwa Sonjica of the Department of Water and Environmental Affairs, the Presidency’s Economic Adviser and Senior Officials of Government.
We engage in the G8 + G5 meetings for two main reasons:
- First to ensure that pursuant to our foreign policy objectives that the African Agenda and that of developing countries is promoted and protected.
- Secondly for economic benefits which are meant to accrue out of this meeting is to redouble our efforts to make the richest countries of the world contribute in making the equitable global system of economic governance a reality.
G-5 (Brazil, China, India, Mexico and South Africa)
On the first day of the Summit, the G5 countries held a separate session to discuss a range of global issues and to consolidate positions for engagement with the G8. A G5 Political declaration was issued depicting a common vision on a range of issues including the global economic crisis with reference to the G20, UN reform, the WTO Doha Development Round, the MDGs, Climate Change and terrorism. The G5 also issued a separate declaration on trade calling for the conclusion of the negotiations for the Doha Development Round. Egypt associated itself with this declaration.
G5 - G8 + international Organisations + Egypt + select countries+ Secretary General of the UN
The second day of the Summit was expanded to include the G5 countries with the G8 (Egypt was also invited to participate) to establish a continued dialogue on a broad range of global issues. The major issues were the response to the global economic and financial crisis, food security and safety, development in Africa and climate change.
Climate Change was discussed and included countries from the Major Economies Forum. South Africa welcomes the statement of commitment by the G8 to the international negotiations under the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, and to the successful conclusion of a global and ambitious agreement in Copenhagen in December 2009. We further welcome the recognition that the increase in global average temperature must be kept well below 2 degrees C. We are however disappointed that it was not possible for members of the G8 to agree to credible midterm targets of at least 40% emissions reduction below 1990 levels, to underpin the proposed long term goal. We are also disappointed in the lack of commitment on finance and technology to support and enable developing country action. For South Africa this comes as a political package. To be meaningful, a long term global goal must have a base year of 1990, and it must be underpinned by ambitious and legally binding mid-term targets for developed countries in line with science. In addition, it should be based on an equitable burden-sharing paradigm that reflects historical responsibility, and there must be a commitment to providing finance and technology to support and enable developing country action.
On Food Security, the G8 Leaders have committed $ 20 billion over the next three years to help food-insecure countries grow more food. In making the pledge, political leaders had committed to a full range of food security issues, from tackling hunger which had surged because of the global economic crisis, to increasing investment in agriculture for the world's 500 million smallholder farmers, especially women farmers, to ensuring that agricultural trade benefited the least developed countries and their citizens.
The head of the UN food agency, the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) also welcomed the agreement by the Group of 8 industrialized countries to mobilize $20 billion over three years for agriculture.
In addressing the issue of Development and Africa, the leaders acknowledged that the financial and economic crisis will negatively impact African countries to realise the MDGs. Reiterating their development commitments, the G8 published a preliminary accountability report and decided to develop an accountability mechanism to monitor progress and strengthen the effectiveness of their actions. The first accountability report will be submitted in Muskoka G8 Summit in 2010 in Canada.
The morning of the third day was devoted to the Africa Outreach session between the G8 leaders and Heads of State and Government of Algeria, Egypt, Nigeria, Senegal, and South Africa as well as Angola, the Chair of the African Union (the President of Libya), the President of the African Union Commission, the Chair of the Heads of State and Government Implementation Committee of the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD) (Prime Minister of Ethiopia). During the Africa’s segment the Leaders amongst other things, discussed implementation of commitments agreed in all major international conferences. G8 countries reiterated their commitments, including those made in Gleneagles and more recently at the G20 London Summit, to support African efforts towards promoting development, good governance and achieving the Millennium Development Goals.
The Leaders issued a joint G8-Africa statement, expressing their determination to build a strong partnership to increase access to water and sanitation in Africa.
The following documents were jointly adopted:
- Joint G5-G8 Declaration “Promoting the Global Agenda”
- Declaration of the Major Economies Forum on Energy and Climate
- Joint G8 Africa Statement (“ A stronger G8-Africa Partnership on Water and Sanitation)
- Joint Statement on Global Food Security – ‘L’Aquila Food Security Initiative”
Working within the G5, South Africa and its partner countries strive to succeed to achieve the earlier mentioned twin objectives. The President and his delegation were satisfied that we as an Africa outreach partner country and within the G5 progressed towards the achievement of these objectives.
Questions and Answers
Ambassador is it true that the G5 will now be a permanent part of the G8, How do you see the significance? Do you think that during the next Summit to take place in Canada the G5 + Egypt will be incorporated within G8 which will now be G14? What is your expectation?
The interesting part about the G8 is that when the leaders meet, at the summit level we who do the spadework are not in that meeting, it is a closed meeting; it is a leader plus one (1). I don’t have the benefit of the discussion. There was an indication towards of the G14 and as you can remember there were moves when France was chairing they tried to push for the G13 there was a lull after that. At our level we just sent congratulatory notes for helping them to prepare for the Summit, we expect them to take up the follow up issues as discussed and agreed by leaders during the summit to the working level to discuss these issues at the G8 or G5 probably with Egypt, so I cannot give you a definite answer as to what will happen at the next summit in Canada, whether it will continue to be G8 +5 with Egypt, or G13 or G14 we do not have answers from now until the next summit in Canada.
Ambassador Nene, you mentioned that one of the reasons for going to the G8 Summit was the doubling aid to Africa by 2010, is that a realistic process? Please clarify?
To answer your question, the environment I find myself in - which I love - ‘multilateralism’ we do not throw the towel, some of us believe that hope leads to reality. We know that there are conventions that took more than to 20 yrs to conclude; we know that from Seattle to Doha nothing seriously concrete we can say to the international community has been delivered on this forum. As you are aware that in politics they say half a day is enough time, something can happen between now and 2010. Our duty in partnership with the G8 is to ensure that what was promised is realised and if not there must be credible reasons as to why. We must report to the international community as to why this thing has not happened in the manner in which it was envisaged. So I am optimistic that something will happen and get what we agreed to.
Ambassador, during the regional discussion, were there any discussion about how the region will treat the whole issue of ICC and the arrest warrant for the Sudanese President because there seems to be other countries within the region that are unhappy about the decision that was taken not to respect that warrant?
In both the meetings the way they are structured, the G5 meets on its own and the G8 meets on its own and during the discussions the issue of Sudan was not raised. G5 which includes countries from the South that topic never arose whether it arose in closed meeting or closed meeting of the G8 I do not know. Where all the leaders meet they meet on a selected topic, I said, like Climate change, food security, water and sanitation. Where they had a general discussion; I was not there but I think the Head of the AU made a statement. What happens after the meeting is that the chair makes what is known as the Chair of Summary and they do not share it with us so we can’t even own it, it will be difficult for me to answer a question along those lines. At the NAM that issue did not arise.
At the AU there was a decision made that the AU would not corporate on the decision by ICC while South Africa being the signatory of the Rome Statute we seem to have clashes between the two? Can you clarify that? We know that Botswana clarified its position by declaring publicly that it won’t accept the decision by ICC. Ambassador, are we going to arrest Pres AlBashir if he sets foot in South Africa soil?
The AU falls under a different portfolio in this department and represented by a different official who is not here and I do not want to talk for him, but generally I am not sure whether they are conflicting or contradicting but we have given this to our legal expects because it involves ICC to advice us functionaries and politicians. When the experts are finished they will advice government and government will pronounce whether the outcome is conflicting or not.
During the discussion with the G5 and the G8 especially regarding United States building bases on African continent, has there been any discussion around that?
No. As I said before these meetings are very structured and we adhere to the agenda. There are shepherds who prepare for the Ministerial and the Ministers preparing for the Summit. We stick to the agenda and there are no general discussions. We only stick to the issues that this world is a better place during our lifetime. Issues that are discussed are issues of health, development, security and food security. So we stick to the agenda.
Sunday times speculated that former Minister Pallo Jordaan is to become the UN Ambassador which falls under your portfolio of work, can you comment on the speculation?
No I prefer not to until I am officially told as to whether this is a speculation or not. I do not know and I have not been told officially so I cannot confirm on that.
22 July 2009