The 17th Conference of the Parties (COP17) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and the 7th Session of the Conference of the Parties serving as the meeting of the parties (CMP7) to the Kyoto Protocol was held in the sunny city of Durban, South Africa.


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Statements and Speeches

Statement by Mr. Mahlatse Mminele, Deputy Permanent Representative of the Republic of South Africa to the United Nations at the United Nations Security Council Open Debate on "The Situation in  the Middle East, Including  the Palestinian Question"

New York, 29 August 2017

Mr President,

My delegation would like to congratulate you and the Arab Republic of Egypt for your leadership during the past month as the President of the Security Council. The debate on United Nations Peacekeeping Operations: Their Potential Contribution to the Overarching Goal of Sustaining Peace is indeed important and timely.

My delegation aligns itself with the statement made by the representative of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement.

Mr President,

In April 2016, the Security Council and General Assembly adopted ground-breaking parallel resolutions on the review of the Peace Building Architecture. These parallel resolutions on sustaining peace are regarded as a comprehensive statement on the role of the United Nations in Peace building and prevention and are directly linked to efforts for peace and security, human rights and sustainable development. Furthermore, the resolutions stress the fact that there is a conceptual shift from peace building to sustaining peace which is both transformative and forward thinking. In practical terms, peace building is no longer restricted to post-conflict situations but applies to all phases before the conflict, during the conflict and when the conflict has ceased. In essence, these resolutions are the first that explicitly link peace building and prevention and underscores the essential role that sustaining peace plays.

More emphasis on conflict prevention means recognizing the "primacy of politics" in the pacific settlement of disputes. The relevance of investing in structures such as early warning systems, instead of reacting to outbreaks of violence, is pertinent. Full implementation of the resolutions will result in less emphasis on militarized responses to conflicts in Africa and elsewhere and instead, promote more political engagement that, we believe will result in effective peace building.

Mr President,

Together with the Slovak Republic, South Africa co-chairs the UN Group of Friends on Security Sector Reform. It is within the milieu of sustaining peace that we have experienced how relevant and complimentary SSR has become, taking into consideration the Secretary-General's emphasis on preventative approaches to sustaining peace. The promotion of a "culture of prevention" to stop conflicts before they occur compliments the African Union's objective of elevating the critical importance of preventive diplomacy. Given the excessive cost and limited success of conflict management, a shift is required to focus more on pre-emptive action that will allow for sustainable peace and an environment within which reconciliation and institution building can thrive. In essence, the United Nations must transit from managing conflict to laying the necessary groundwork for an inclusive dialogue , peaceful transition and long-term sustainable peace. 

Mr President,

The African Union's peace and security architecture focuses on conflict prevention, conflict management and peace building, which are all fundamental to the AU's aspiration of silencing the guns by 2020. The African Union and the sub-regional organisations have arrayed a great deal of effort to develop and operationalize the African Standby Force and its Rapid Deployment Capacity which will impact directly on the process of peace building and sustainable peace.

The recent implementation of the joint UN-AU Framework for enhanced partnerships in peace and security reflects the African Union's commitment to the framework's four key action areas namely:

  • prevention and mediating conflict and sustaining peace;
  • responding to conflict;
  • addressing root causes; and,
  • the continuous review and enhancement of the partnership.

At the same time my delegation reiterates its call for the use of UN assessed contributions to secure predictable , sustainable and flexible financing for AU-led peace support operations authorized by the Security Council.

Mr President,

Adequate gender representation within the UN peacekeeping structures should continue to be an important objective in our search for more effective and efficient peace building processes. The need for women peacekeepers is more urgent than ever as women are often better placed to carry out a number of crucial peacekeeping tasks, especially with regard to allegations of sexual abuse/exploitation and providing safe environments for women to voice their safety and security concerns. In this regard, South Africa welcomes the appointment by the UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres of the first United Nations Victims' Rights Advocate, aimed at addressing accusations of sexual exploitation by international peacekeepers.

Mr President, in conclusion,

The idea of peace building is strongly based on the understanding that peace cannot exist without development and development cannot thrive without peace and stability. This, we believe should underpin the UN's approach to fulfilling its central mandate of the maintenance of international peace and security, which is strongly dependent on a prosperous and peaceful Africa.

I thank you.



Rev. Thursday, 02-Nov-2017 2:33 PM