Remarks by the Minister of International Relations and Cooperation, Hon Ms Maite Nkoana-Mashabane, on the occasion of the media briefing on international developments, 13 September 2016, DIRCO, Pretoria

Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen of the media,

We have called this briefing to update you on the recent engagements as well as upcoming activities in the implementation of our international programme.

I will therefore focus on the following five issues namely:

1. outcomes of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) Summit held in Swaziland
2. outcomes of the G20 leaders’ Summit held in Hangzhou, China
3. XVII (17th) Non-Aligned Summit (NAM) Summit in Venezuela
4. upcoming 71st Session of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) to be held at the UN Headquarters in New York
5. the recent earthquake in Tanzania.

1. OUTCOMES OF THE 36TH SADC SUMMIT

We have recently participated in the 36th Ordinary SADC Summit of Heads of State in Mbabane, Kingdom of Swaziland, from 30 to 31 August 2016, led by President Jacob Zuma. The summit was held under the theme “Resource Mobilisation for Investment in Sustainable Energy Infrastructure for an Inclusive SADC Industrialisation and for the Prosperity of the Region”, which focussed on unlocking bottlenecks in energy, which is fundamental to enhancing industrial and infrastructure development, as well as intra-regional trade.

The summit elected President Zuma as the Incoming Chair of SADC for 2017 to 2018.

President John Magufuli of the United Republic of Tanzania and President Jose dos Santos of the Republic of Angola were elected Chair and Incoming Chair of the Organ on Politics, Defence and Security Cooperation, respectively.

On the political and security situation in the region, the Chair of the Organ on Politics, Defence and Security Cooperation, Mozambique’s President Filipe Nyusi presented a report on the political and security developments in the region.

Within this context, Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa, the SADC Facilitator to the Kingdom of Lesotho, presented his report on progress and challenges in that process, which include constitutional, public and security sector reforms (SSR).

On the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC): The summit noted that the process to update the voters’ registration has commenced. The summit further commended the DRC Government and MONUSCO for signing the Technical Arrangement on 28 January 2016, thereby paving the way for the effective resumption of joint operations between MONUSCO Forces and the FARDC against negative forces such as FDLR, ADF, LRA and other armed groups.

The summit urged the DRC stakeholders to participate in the National Inclusive Dialogue and to agree on a roadmap leading to the elections and expressed its support to the National Inclusive Dialogue facilitated by the African Union (AU).

On the Kingdom of Lesotho: The summit urged the Kingdom of Lesotho to ensure all-inclusive processes for the constitutional, public sector and SSR in line with the decisions of the Double Troika, including representatives of civil-society organisations, opposition political parties, academia, media and the private sector.

The summit further urged the Kingdom of Lesotho to continue and expedite the implementation of the decisions of the Double Troika Summit of 18 January and 28 June 2016, respectively.

Lastly, the summit noted that the Republic of Botswana reconfirmed that Hon Dr Pelonomi Venson-Moitoi would still represent the region as a candidate for the position of AU Commission Chairperson at the next elections in January 2017 during the AU Summit in Addis Ababa.

2. SOUTH AFRICA’S PARTICIPATION AT THE G20 HANGZHOU SUMMIT, 4 TO 5 SEPTEMBER 2016

President Zuma led South Africa’s delegation to the G20 Leaders’ Summit, in Hangzhou, China, from 4 to 5 September 2016. South Africa’s participation in the G20 is guided by our national interests and the primacy of the African Agenda. Central to South Africa’s national agenda is Outcome 11 (“Creating a better South Africa and contributing to a better (and safer) Africa and a better world”).

This year, the summit was held under the theme “Towards an Innovative, Invigorated, Interconnected and Inclusive World Economy”. Under this theme, the G20 leaders discussed specific priority areas, namely:

  • breaking a new path for growth
  • more effective and efficient global economic and financial governance
  • robust international trade and investment
  • inclusive and interconnected development
  • other issues affecting the world such as Anti-Microbial Resistance (AMR).

Under the Chinese Presidency, the outcome of the summit was ambitious and substantive in addressing the challenges confronting us.

We were also pleased that the B20 Summit, where President Zuma participated as a panelist, complemented the theme of the G20. The recommendations of the B20 therefore will contribute positively to realising our objective of achieving an “Innovative, Invigorated, Interconnected, and Inclusive World”.

On inclusive growth, we welcome the focussed attention that developing countries received at the summit.

Key outcomes of the summit for South Africa and Africa include:

  • Commitment to multilateralism and the Doha Development Agenda

South Africa called for the strengthening of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) as the principal body to negotiate trade-related matters. This entails working towards the early conclusion of the Doha Development Agenda in line with the development mandate and improving market access for exports of developing countries.

  • G20 support for development and industrialisation

South Africa as a developing and an African country is extremely pleased with the focussed attention that was devoted to development-related issues in Africa. Key among these is G20 support for the implementation of the sustainable development goals and industrialisation in Africa and least developed countries (LDCs). In this regard, the G20 Leaders Communiqué supports industrialisation of developing countries, especially African countries and LDCs.

This accords with South Africa’s own development plans and the AU’s Agenda 2063, which recognises industrialisation and infrastructure development as crucial goals for the development of the African continent.

  • Blueprint on Innovative Growth

Leaders recognised that innovation, the digital economy and the Fourth Industrial Revolution could be key in propelling global economic growth. With the adoption of the G20 Blueprint on Innovative Growth, South Africa advocated for Africa not to be left behind in this Fourth Industrial Revolution, by ensuring that there is transfer of technology and investment in skills. In this regard, South Africa is of the view that protection of intellectual property rights should not be used to exclude or create barriers in Africa’s quest to industrialise.

  • Illicit financial flows (IFFs)

Curbing IFFS is crucial for the development of the African continent as stipulated in Agenda 2063. In this regard, Africa’s proposal that IFFs from trade mispricing be studied by the World Customs Organisation was accepted.

Effectively addressing IFFs has the potential to unlock billions of dollars that could be used by African governments to implementation programmes to achieve the SDGs and other developmental programmes.

  • AMR

Before the summit, South Africa prioritised AMR as one of the key issues that required global leadership. In this regard, the G20 Summit recognised AMR as a health, food security and economic threat of global magnitude. AMR has significant implications for the achievement of health-related SDGs and for economic growth in general.

Finally,

The linkage between peace and development was recognised during the deliberations at the summit. In this regard, global challenges such as terrorism and mass migration also received attention at the summit.

3. XVII NAM SUMMIT IN VENEZUELA

I will lead the South African delegation to  the 17th Summit of Heads of State and Government of the NAM under the theme “Peace, Sovereignty and Solidarity for Development”, to be held in Margarita Island, Venezuela, on 17 and 18 September 2016.

The summit is held every three years and the last summit was held in Tehran, Iran, on 30 and 31 August 2012. This year’s summit will be preceded by the NAM Ministerial Meeting to be held on 15 and 16 September 2016.

During the Ministerial Meeting, the ministers will receive a report on the activities of the NAM as well as a report of the Chair of the preparatory Senior Officials Meeting by the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Iran as the outgoing Chair of NAM.

The ministers will have an Interactive Debate on the theme for the NAM XVII Summit, namely “Peace, Sovereignty and Solidarity for Development”.

The NAM Committee on Palestine will also be held parallel to the Preparatory Ministerial Meeting on the afternoon of 15 September 2016.

The representative of Palestine will brief committee members on the current situation in Palestine after which members can respond to the briefing. The committee will also consider a Declaration on Palestine, which will be submitted to the NAM Summit for adoption.

The President of Venezuela will be elected by acclamation as Chairperson of the XVII Summit.

The outcome of the Ministerial Meeting will cover the decisions on global, regional and sub-regional issues as well as development, social and human rights issues.

On 18 September 2016, the meeting will conclude with the adoption of the Final Margarita Island Declaration.

4. 71ST SESSION OF UNGA

The General Debate of UNGA71 will take place in New York from 20 to 26 September 2016 under the theme: “The Sustainable Development Goals: A Universal Push to Transform our World”.

President Zuma is expected to attend the General Debate and will be accompanied by myself; the Minister of State Security, Mr David Mahlobo; Minister in The Presidency, Mr Jeff Radebe; Minister of Home Affairs, Mr Malusi Gigaba; Minister of Health, Dr Aaron Motsoaledi; Minister of Trade and Industry, Dr Rob Davies; Deputy Minister of International Relations and Cooperation, Mr Luwellyn Landers; and Deputy Minister of Public Service and Administration, Ms Ayanda Dlodlo.

This year’s General Debate takes place in the context of growing inter-connected global challenges, which include growing instability brought about by, among others, continued conflict, increased cases of terrorism, large-scale movements of refugees and migrants, economic stagnation and underdevelopment.

Deliberations will include UN reform, within the context of the revitalisation of the UNGA, improving the work of the Economic and Social Council and most importantly, the substantive reform of the UN Security Council.

This year will also be the final General Debate under the term of the current Secretary-General (SG), Ban Ki Moon, whose term ends at the end of December. The current process is opaque, and dissatisfaction about how past UNSGs have been appointed has grown among the vast majority of UN member states, supported by a significant number of civil-society organisations.

These groups have been advocating for more transparency, predictability, as well as a greater role for the UNGA in the process. While the process of selecting and appointing the next SG would not have been completed by the time the General Debate takes place, this process is likely to over-shadow proceedings.

Additionally, there will be several meetings on the margins of UNGA. These include:

  • The High-Level Meeting of the General Assembly on Addressing Large Movements of Refugees and Migrants.

The meeting is particularly important for South Africa, as the African continent is one of the most affected regions experiencing large movement of refugees and migrants and South Africa, in particular, is among the largest recipients of migrants and refugees in the world.

  • The High-Level Commission on Health Employment and Economic Growth to be co-hosted by HE President Jacob Zuma and HE President Franҫois Hollande of France in their capacity as co-chairs of the High-Level Commission.
  • An event co-hosted by the presidents of South Africa and France to commemorate the Five-Year Anniversary of the Open Government Partnership.

5. RECENT EARTHQUAKE IN TANZANIA

President Zuma, has on Sunday, on behalf of the Government and the people of South Africa, extended the country’s deepest condolences to the United Republic of Tanzania following a 5.7 magnitude earthquake that struck north-west Tanzania, close to Lake Victoria and the borders of Uganda and Rwanda, resulting in the deaths and injuries of scores of people.

The South African Government wishes the rescue and recovery teams every success in their efforts.

The Government of South Africa stands ready to assist the Tanzanian Government.

ISSUED BY THE DEPARTMENT OF INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS AND COOPERATION

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