Statement by HE Mr Alvin Botes, Deputy Minister of International Relations and Cooperation of the Republic of South Africa, on the occasion of the Ministerial Meeting of the NAM on the sidelines of UNGA75 under the theme: “Bandung+65: more relevant, united and effective NAM against emerging global challenges, including COVID-19”, 9 October 2020
Your Excellencies, Heads of State and Government,
I thank you for convening this online Ministerial Meeting of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) under the theme “Bandung+65: more relevant, united and effective NAM against emerging global challenges, including COVID-19.”
On behalf of our government and the people of South Africa, I wish to express our sincerest sympathies to all the countries that have been severely impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The vision of the founding members of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) at the historic first Afro-Asian Conference held in Bandung, Indonesia, in 1955, could not be more relevant today.
We meet to mark Bandung+65 when the world is battling an unconventional threat in the form of the novel Coronavirus, which has impacted the entire globe and affected the economies and social fabric of our societies.
Bandung+65 is a seminal milestone as it adds to other notable anniversaries of this year such as the 75th anniversary of the United Nations.
The majority of NAM members were not participants at the conference where the Charter of the United Nations was adopted, but today the countries of our Movement constitute almost three quarters of the membership of the United Nations.
The 75th anniversary of the United Nations presents an opportunity for the strengthening of the organisation to ensure that it aligns with the needs of all UN member states. It is an important milestone that cannot be allowed to pass without a significant commitment to reform particularly of the Security Council.
Notwithstanding our belief that UN reform is overdue we affirm our commitment to multilateralism and to the UN. South African and other African countries have relied on UN institutions such as WHO in combating the COVID-19 pandemic and strongly belief the UN and its bodies are critical to global peace, security and development.
This echoes the Bandung Principles call for respect for the purposes and the principles of the Charter of the United Nations in the conduct of international relations.
As members of this Movement, we should remain united in representing and promoting the interests of developing countries, particularly in supporting struggles for liberation and self-determination, pursuit of world peace and prosperity and the search for a more equitable and just global order in accordance with the purposes and principles of the UN Charter and the Bandung Principles.
We, can only achieve this by building formidable solidarity and South-South cooperation.
The world is in need of a capable effective countervailing force to those who wish to impose their will on the global community. We must address democracy and good governance and ensure respect for human rights. COVID-19 has emphasised the importance of growing our economies and ensuring prosperity and independence of the South to shape our own destiny.
We are mindful of the need to continuously update our strategies and tactics based on today’s realities. Now, we should recommit to the principles of solidarity and non-alignment in addressing these contemporary global challenges.
The COVID-19 pandemic has illustrated that only through solidarity and support for each other, will we be able to respond to COVID-19. We should work together on research and innovation to produce solutions to the pandemic and other health and development challenges. Our Founders expected NAM to be an impactful alternative in global affairs.
We should continue our unwavering commitment to the strengthening of systems of global governance and deepening of multilateralism.
NAM survived because it rejected unilateralism and continued to enhance cooperation and solidarity.
In this regard, we should reiterate our steadfast solidarity with the Government and People of Sudan, Cuba, Iran, Venezuela and Zimbabwe while condemning the continuation of unilateral sanctions against these countries at a time when they need all the resources and assistance to address COVID-19.
As NAM member states we should also not be indifferent to the plight of those appealing for decolonisation, statehood and human rights. Therefore, our solidarity and support for the people of Palestine and Western Sahara should give courage and impetus to their struggle in accordance with the Bandung Principles and the United Nations Charter on the granting of independence to colonial territories and peoples.
We are grateful for the role NAM has played in the decolonisation of our continent and the struggle against apartheid in South Africa. Key players in the South African liberation struggle attended the founding conference in Bandung under observer status and read out a statement. During its long history NAM has highlighted recognition of the equality of all races and all nations, large and small.
We are proud that since Bandung, NAM has become a platform for developing countries to uphold the principles of the respect for justice and international obligation.
There is much for all our nations to do post COVID-19 – economic recovery and trade will be key to a return to prosperity and more employment. Our focus should be cooperation in agriculture, mining, ocean and green economy opportunities and digital modernisation of our countries. If we work closely together on these all of us will recover from the terrible impact of the pandemic.
In conclusion, Chairperson,
As we adopt the Political Declaration today, we must not falter in our commitment to seeking peaceful resolution to the challenges that confront us. We must foster fraternal relations, cooperation and collaboration in our quest to promote peace and stability within and amongst States.
I thank you.
ISSUED BY THE DEPARTMENT OF INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS AND COOPERATION
OR Tambo Building
460 Soutpansberg Road