Statement by HE Dr Naledi Pandor, Minister of International Relations and Cooperation of the Republic of South Africa, on the occasion of the Mid-Term Ministerial Conference of the Non-Aligned Movement under the Theme: “Non-Aligned Movement at the Centre of Multilateral Efforts in responding Global Challenges,” 13-14 July 2021

Chairperson,

Excellencies,

Delegates,

I thank you for convening this online Mid-Term Ministerial Meeting of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM).

South Africa commends Azerbaijan for leading this Movement so capably, at a time when the world has had to grapple with the COVID-19 pandemic.

Future global emergencies should find us better prepared, with stronger social protection, health systems and services for our people.

For us to achieve this, we must meet the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals as the best measure of our success.

Our Founders expected the Non-Aligned Movement to be an impactful, progressive alternative in global affairs.

Impact requires unity and increased cooperation within NAM to ensure adequate, timely and effective responses by the Movement to addressing current global challenges.

As developing countries, we should respond to this pandemic by working closely together on research and innovation to produce solutions to the pandemic and other health and development-related challenges.

It is important that the Movement supports the proposal of India and South Africa at the World Trade Organisation (WTO) for a temporary waiver of certain provisions of the Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) to allow more countries, particularly developing countries, to produce COVID-19 vaccines in order to efficiently respond to the COVID-19 pandemic.

We must continue our collective efforts to overcome the COVID-19 pandemic and alleviate its health, social and economic impact on households and businesses, and continue to safeguard people’s lives and livelihoods, support global economic recovery, and enhance the resilience of all our public systems.

As NAM members, we must call for the end to vaccine nationalism and for equal access to vaccines by all countries. We must fight vaccine inequality. We must also ensure equal access to diagnostic, therapeutic and other medical equipment to fight the pandemic.

Chairperson,

We should continue our unwavering commitment to the strengthening of systems of global governance and deepening of multilateralism.

Our Movement has survived because of its principled rejection of unilateralism and efforts to enhance South-South cooperation and solidarity.

We must reiterate our steadfast condemnation of the continued unilateral sanctions against affected countries, especially at a time when resources and assistance are needed to respond to the pandemic and to save lives.

As NAM, we should also not be indifferent to the plight of those appealing for decolonisation, statehood and the enjoyment of human rights. Our solidarity and support, therefore, for the people of Palestine and Western Sahara should give us courage and impetus and ensure that their struggle remains our struggle, in accordance with the Bandung Principles and the United Nations Charter on the granting of independence to colonial territories and oppressed peoples.

Our Movement has become a platform for developing countries to uphold the principles of the respect for justice and international obligations.

There is much for all of us to do post the pandemic. Economic recovery and trade will be key to a return to prosperity and more employment.  Our focus should be on cooperation in agriculture, mining, ocean and green economy opportunities and digital modernisation of our countries. Gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls should also be at the centre of all our post-COVID recovery programmes. We believe as South Africa, if we work closely together on these, all of us will recover from the terrible impact of the pandemic.

Finally, Chairperson,

In our adoption of the Political Declaration today, we must not falter in our commitment to seeking a peaceful resolution to the challenges that confront us. We must foster fraternal relations, cooperation and collaboration in our quest as NAM to promote peace and stability within and amongst all states.

I sincerely thank you, Chairperson, for this opportunity.

ISSUED BY THE DEPARTMENT OF INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS AND COOPERATION

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