Statement by Ambassador Jerry Matjila, Permanent Representative of South Africa to the United Nations, during the United Nations Security Council Meeting on Cooperation between the United Nations and regional and sub-regional organisations: Role of the International Organisation of the Francophonie, 8 September 2020

Thank you, Mr President,

I wish to extend our appreciation to HE Mr Zohrab Mnatsakanyan, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Armenia and the Chair of Council of the Ministers of the International Organisation of the Francophonie; Ms Bintou Keita, Assistant Secretary-General for the Department of Political Affairs and Peacebuilding; and the Secretary-General of the OIF, Ms Louise Mushikiwabo for their briefings.

Mr President,

Over the past few years, the United Nations has been enhancing its relations with various regional and sub-regional organisations in the advancement of its core mandate pertaining to the promotion of development, human rights and peace and security.

In this regard, South Africa wishes to underscore the valuable contribution that regional, sub-regional and other international organisations make in the maintenance of international peace and security, and their cooperation with the United Nations within the context of Chapter of VIII of the Charter of the United Nations.

As a member of the African Union and Southern African Development Community, we recognise the positive and complementary relations between the United Nations and these regional organisations. While acknowledging the complementary roles of the United Nations and regional actors, my delegation wishes to stress the importance of the principles of subsidiarity and comparative advantage in the resolution of conflicts, which the African Union upholds, that entrust regional and sub-regional organisations to take the lead in finding a solution to a conflict situation owing to their geopolitical and/or familiarity with the crisis situation.

However, we also underline that the Security Council remains the only international body with the primary responsibility for the maintenance of international peace and security.  Hence, in our view, the Security Council must work closely with regional organisations that have, as part of their activities, to promote peace and security.

Mr President,

South Africa would like to use this opportunity to congratulate the OIF on the 50th anniversary of its founding, which coincides with other significant global anniversaries this year, specifically the 75th anniversary of the United Nations and a review year of silencing the guns on the African continent. We raise this latter point as a majority of members of the OIF are from the African continent.

We thus commend the efforts and contributions of the OIF in preventing, managing and resolving conflicts in its member states by focussing, among others, on early warning, prevention and peacebuilding activities as well as in the consolidation of democracy and the entrenchment of the rule of law. These efforts are imperative in particular to the development trajectory of the African continent, especially in achieving the sustainable development goals.

Mr President,

Cooperation between regional organisations is equally important, primarily in instances where there is overlapping membership. We, therefore, encourage closer cooperation and coordination between the OIF and other regional organisations such as the African Union, sub-regional organisations such as the SADC/ECOWAS/ECCAS, which have overlapping OIF members, and other similar organisations such as the Commonwealth.

The tripartite visits undertaken by the African Union, OIF and the Commonwealth to Cameroon in the past few months aimed at providing assistance with peacebuilding, and national cohesion activities, demonstrate the importance of collective efforts on issues of mutual interests in a member of these three organisations, and to derive desired outcomes from such peace and assistance initiatives.

Mr President,

We also encourage the OIF to continue working closely, as appropriate, with the UN country teams and UN regional special political missions as well as peacekeeping operations, in particular in promoting multilingualism and inclusivity.

In conclusion, Mr President,

We wish to highlight that regional and sub-regional organisations can also play a cardinal role in promoting the meaningful role of women and youth in peace processes and in coordination with the Peacebuilding Commission. It is hoped that the OIF, like other regional, sub-regional and international organisations, will also contribute towards the ongoing review of the United Nations Peacebuilding Architecture.

I thank you.


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