Statement by President Cyril Ramaphosa at the 75th Commemoration of the United Nations General Assembly, 21 September 2020

Mr President,
Excellencies,
Ladies and Gentlemen,

South Africa is honoured to participate in this virtual commemoration of the establishment of the United Nations.

Seventy-five years ago the UN Charter was signed by pioneering men and women determined to save successive generations from the scourge of war.

The task before us is to chart the course for a transformative and inclusive future in the aftermath of the Coronavirus pandemic; and to do so in a manner that respects the worth and dignity of every human being.

This year we pay tribute to 75 years of solidarity and friendship.

We are steadfast in our belief that the United Nations is, and must forever remain, the foremost guarantor of world peace.

To resolve our global challenges – be they health emergencies, transnational crime, conflict and war, climate change, migration or natural disasters – we must work together.

The UN system is the best means by which we can address and overcome these global challenges. And it is only through multilateralism that we can forge common strategies for the benefit and advancement of all.

To realise a just and humane world, the UN must be fit for purpose, adequately funded and representative in its decision-making structures.

We must ensure that the sovereign equality of nations is protected.

Unilateral coercive measures and violations of international law must be dealt with firmly and consistently.

We must strengthen the UN’s coordination with regional bodies such as the African Union, to ensure our efforts are complimentary and mutually reinforcing.

Global peace is not just about a world free of conflict.

It also a world free of poverty, inequality and underdevelopment.

It is a world of inclusive economic growth and shared prosperity.

It is a world where young people are able to grow and thrive and where women have equal rights and opportunities.

It is only in meeting the Sustainable Development Goals that we shall truly see the fruits of our labour and fully reap the harvest of our cooperation.

The United Nations remains the most effective means to meet our collective goal and to broaden the frontiers of human endeavour.

On this day that we wish the United Nations well and longevity into the future, let us recommit to the ideals of the Charter.

Let us strengthen the bonds of cooperation, solidarity and friendship.

I thank you.

ISSUED BY THE DEPARTMENT OF INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS AND COOPERATION

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