Country Statement by Minister Nkoana-Mashabane at the meeting of the 8th India, Brazil, South Africa (IBSA) Trilateral Ministerial Commission (ITMC), Southern Sun Elangeni, Durban, 17 October 2017

Esteemed Colleagues, we all agree that it is an opportune time to meet and reflect on the future of IBSA on the eve of the 15th Anniversary of IBSA. As we navigate the Dialogue Forum through the second decade of existence, we must ask ourselves two key questions: have we delivered effectively on our mandate and the founding rationale? Going forward, how do we chart the future direction of an IBSA that encompasses our common vision and aspirations?  I am confident that our Meeting today, with its ambitious Agenda will yield a focused and effective response to these questions.

IBSA continues to play a moral and leadership role globally and offers the space for South-South cooperation. It provides an intimate platform from which to coordinate on matters of common interest in respect of global governance issues, notably in the political, socio-economic and security domain.

In order to continue to be relevant in today’s dynamic and changing political and economic environment, we will need to leverage our strengths and unique identity as a grouping of the Global South with which we bring together three large pluralistic, multi-cultural and multi-ethnic societies from three continents.

Colleagues, I am of the view that we need to reaffirm our commitment to safeguarding the purposes and principles of the Charter of the United Nations, in order to ensure a fair and just international order that upholds the basic norms of international law such as equal sovereignty and non-interference. Promoting greater democracy and rule of law in international relations should be tantamount to building a brighter shared future for the global community through mutually beneficial cooperation. As we move through the proceedings, we will highlight the moral and leadership role that IBSA continues to play in the global arena and in the sphere of global governance.  But we should do more to ensure that this moral leadership is brought to bear in a more focused way on global issues, including the need for reform of the United Nations as well as on the appropriate responses to terrorism.

I wish to underscore the importance of the full implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development within the framework of a revitalized global partnership for sustainable development. As a collective we should pressure on the developed countries to honour their Official Development Assistance commitments. Colleagues, my view is that we should call for a more balanced economic globalization, reject protectionism, and renew our commitment to the promotion of global trade and investment through an equitable, inclusive, innovative, invigorated and interconnected world economy. We should therefore seek to leverage our joint membership in all multilateral platforms to strengthen and consolidate our positions.

I also look forward today to our agreement on the establishment of a Working Group on the Blue Economy that will complement the existing Working Groups and allow for the sharing of information and skills between the IBSA partners in a critical sector that is a priority of all three countries.  The Oceans have vast economic and developmental potential for our respective countries and regions and we should leverage our unique partnership to promote the economic growth through sustainable use of the oceans.

In adopting the Joint IBSA Communiqué, IBSA’s role in the international arena cannot be underestimated. I would like to thank our IBSA Sherpas who have finalised the Communiqué and steered the Senior Officials’ Meeting to produce both an update and a roadmap on the way forward.  We look forward to receiving their comprehensive report.  This will provide the basis for charting the way forward and for sending the requisite political messages on the relevance of IBSA in providing practical solutions to global challenges and those facing countries of the South, as well as on the benefits that accrue through this vibrant and dynamic partnership.

Last but not least, we will review the work of the IBSA Trust Fund. The successes of the Fund have provided IBSA the best return on investment in terms of cooperation and practical outcomes.  We look forward to receiving a presentation on the Fund by the UN Office on South-South Cooperation in this regard. This will show the meaningful impact of the Fund in addressing the common developmental challenges of countries in the South in sectors such as agriculture, health and skills development.  In a modest way, we have been able to assist the poorest of the poor.

I am confident that we will conclude our deliberations with a clear focus of the IBSA priorities and deliverables for the next decade thereby delivering on our mandate and objectives set for this Meeting.

I Thank You.

ISSUED BY THE DEPARTMENT OF INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS AND COOPERATION

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