Opening Statement by President JG Zuma to the 4th IBSA Summit; Brasilia, Brazil, 15 April 2010
Your Excellency, President Lula da Silva,
Your Excellency Prime Minister Singh,
Their Excellencies, Ambassadors,
Distinguished representatives from the various civil society forums,
Let me express my personal and sincere gratitude to our gracious host, President Lula da Silva, for the hospitality we have enjoyed since arriving in Brazil.
We appreciate the warmth and remarkable friendliness of the Brazilian people.
The history of our three countries is one of liberating our societies from the shackles of colonialism and poverty. Our three countries share a passion for change, equitable development in the world and the improvement of the lives of the poorest of the poor.
We have just had very fruitful discussions in our Heads of States and Government session earlier. True to our mission, we continue to search for ways of taking the quest for a better quality of life further through the IBSA forum.
Already a lot of progress has been made by our governments and civil society forums in taking the IBSA objectives forward.
The agreements we are to sign later today, on science and technology as well as on solar energy, are also taking us a step further towards achieving the better life we seek.
We are gradually building and strengthening our economic ties. We have achieved our interim intra-trade target for 2010, which is 10 billion US dollars. We are now steadily working toward 25 billion US dollars by 2015. In order to achieve this target, we should, amongst other things, develop the transport interconnectivity strategy that was agreed upon by leaders in previous Summits.
The envisaged trilateral Preferential Trade Agreement between Mercosur, India and South Africa will also further stimulate trilateral trade.
The enthusiasm of our business sectors is most welcome and we want to see ever growing economic activities within the IBSA family.
The IBSA partnership enables us to take forward our domestic developmental goals.
Our three countries have large income distortions and are still faced with having to deal with socio-economic inequalities on a large scale.
The obvious challenge in post-apartheid South Africa is to address this legacy of skewed income patterns.
In this regard, I wish to acknowledge the Brazilian and Indian governments for the various social programmes that they have geared towards this type of challenge.
I am pleased that we are working towards concluding our joint IBSA Strategies on Social Development and Agriculture at this Summit.
It is good that we are able to share expertise on our various national programmes, and soon we should be able to share them with our respective regions as appropriate.
As the South African Government, we have prioritised five issues on the national agenda, namely education and skills development, health, rural development and land reform, combating crime and creating decent work.
We already have 17 working groups under the auspices of IBSA covering these priority areas. This is evidence of the contribution that our participation in IBSA is indeed making to our national agenda.
I would like to congratulate President Lula and Prime Minister Singh on the IBSA micro-satellites projects. This will illustrate to the world that IBSA is not only about developmental issues, but could also coordinate resources to achieve scientific cutting-edge joint initiatives.
The external environment is not always conducive to our efforts to improve the livelihoods of our peoples. This is more so during the worst recession that we have experienced in almost a century.
While the financial loss is almost beyond measure, the impact on human lives, notably the 50 million people who lost their employment, is plainly speaking beyond description and devastating.
We have learned valuable lessons from the global economic recession we are emerging from. It is evident that there have to be collective global checks and balances in respect of the flow of capital, goods, labour, peoples and even the very values that underpin our collective international governance.
It is for this reason that we must add impetus to our efforts to reform the global political and financial architecture.
It is thus imperative that IBSA, alongside like-minded political and economic formations, seize the moment for the reform and restructuring of global governance.
This includes the United Nations Security Council, the international financial institutions, and the G20.
South Africa will put forward its candidature for election for a non-permanent seat to the UNSC for 2011-2012. We have the support of the Southern African Development Community and the African Union.
Brazil already serves on the UN Security Council for the period 2010-2011, and India will also put forward its candidature for 2011-2012. This places IBSA in a unique position to influence the current negotiations for reform.
Another key challenge the world faces is peace and security.
I would also like to express my condolences once more to Prime Minister Singh and the President of the Russian Federation, who is also present in Brasilia at the moment, for the horrific terrorist attacks in their countries.
Together we must work hard to ensure peace and prosperity for all of humankind.
The issue of trade in generic medicines is crucial to provide access to cheaper and safer medicines for developing countries.
It is important to reach agreement on these important principles relating to intellectual property rights, in order to protect developing nations.
As IBSA we share the determination to protect our environment for sustainable development.
The three IBSA countries are cooperating very effectively together with China on Climate Change, and were instrumental in crafting the Copenhagen accord.
South Africa will host the next BASIC ministerial meeting on 26 April 2010 in Cape Town to take matters forward.
It is quite remarkable that the three IBSA partners are so busy preparing for major upcoming sporting events.
Let me congratulate President Da Silva and extend good wishes to the Brazilian National Soccer Team, ahead of the 2010 FIFA Soccer World Cup in June and July.
Let me hasten to add though that the South African side, Bafana Bafana is ready and waiting for you, we are determined to keep the trophy on African soil.
Preparations for the World Cup are nearing completion and we are eagerly awaiting the flow of international sports fans and tourists. Most stadia are fully operational.
Security arrangements and infrastructure are also in place to ensure that our visitors and participating soccer teams enjoy a world class soccer spectacle.
I also wish Brazil all the best when they take this baton over from us to host the 2014 FIFA Soccer World Cup.
Congratulations also to Brazil as well on winning the bid to host the Olympic Games in 2016.
Prime Minister Singh, I would likewise wish to extend my best wishes to India which will host the Commonwealth Games this year.
In hosting these sporting events, we will celebrate the achievements of the human body and spirit that bring us together.
Ladies and gentlemen, the very existence of IBSA as a new formation, serves as inspiration to the developing world.
The forum is recognised as an important and influential platform and a credible voice of the people of the South. We must continue to work for a new, equitable and just world order. We dare not let the developing world down.
Let me once again, pay very special homage again to our host, President Lula da Silva for his leadership, firstly in the global context, but more specifically in the context of IBSA. Your sterling contribution on IBSA and the agenda of the South speaks for itself.
Let me wish all delegates a very successful Summit.
I thank you.
*** Note to Editors: The IBSA Summit brings together the heads of state and government of India, Brazil and South Africa, namely Prime Minister Manmohan Singh of India, President Lula da Silva of Brazil and President Jacob Zuma of South Africa. The first IBSA Summit was held in September 2006.