Speech by the Minister of International Relations and Cooperation, Dr Naledi Pandor at the G20 Foreign Minister Meeting in Bali, Indonesia, 08 July 2022

“Strengthening Multilateralism”

Chairperson,
Colleagues,

I thank Minister Mersurdi for the excellent arrangements and hospitality arranged for us for this G20 Meeting of foreign ministers.

Our meeting has attracted global interest as the world looks to fora such as these to solve global challenges and respond effectively to the needs and aspirations of the most marginalised and excluded.

We meet as we steadily begin to emerge from the worst horrors of COVID-19. As many scientists constantly remind us we are not beyond COVID just yet and many other ferocious infectious diseases threaten humanity.

COVID-19 set stringent tests for global leaders our governments, and multilateral institutions. South Africa believes the WHO played a critical role and fully deserves its standing as our unifying health global institution.

South Africa firmly believes multilateral institutions are vitally important for a rules-based global community that exists to assist us to effectively navigate a complex global economy. We are linked in so many ways today, digitally, through global trade, global value chains, and increasing international capital flows. All these require a globally agreed set of rules that apply equally to all but also establish room for development for the poorest and most disadvantaged.

As emerging economies and the most developed economies, we have an important responsibility. Our focus V has to be on all pressing global issues and not solely on those that advance our national interests. Nearly all our countries are exhibiting signs of slowing growth and a looming economic crisis - what should be agreed here to help avert an economic meltdown? We know from past crises that the least developed countries do not have the means to respond effectively.

As all of you are aware we have agreed on post-COVID recovery interventions including access to special drawing rights. These agreements have not been fully acted upon and have not resulted in the economic turnaround anticipated when we adopted declarations in a range of settings.

We would like to see a clear message emerge from this meeting that no country or region can progress in splendid isolation. We need to pursue the challenge of trade growth and transformation together.

We must strengthen the United Nations to play the development support role we expect of it and promote its collaboration with continental and regional bodies.

South Africa also calls for dedicated attention to reform of the United Nations to make it fit for the twenty-first century and beyond. The privilege that a few powerful countries enjoy of determining the decisions and character of the UN should be brought to an end and a more open and democratic institution should be constructed by all its members.

As I said earlier key to the success of the UN and all international law will be an even playing field in which there are no double standards and where rules and principles apply to all and protect all equally.

We hold the firm view that we can only survive through inclusive collaboration on development and on global challenges, a strengthened multilateralism is the only means of achieving such an outcome.

Thank you.

ISSUED BY THE DEPARTMENT OF INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS AND COOPERATION

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