|A championing African Agenda at United Nations Security Council|
|Africans in Government|
|Tuesday, 13 March 2012 07:49|
Pretoria - South Africa says it will use its remaining tenure as a non-permanent member of the Security Council in the United Nations to further elevate the African Agenda.
"South Africa will again endeavour to utilise our membership to increase Africa's voice in the council, to promote respect for African ownership and priority-setting, to make space for African solutions, and inspire the United Nations to do more to support the renewed momentum in the continent's quest for peace and prosperity," International Relations and Cooperation Deputy Minister Ebrahim Ebrahim said on Monday. Delivering a public lecture themed "South Africa and the United Nations Security Council: Promoting the African Agenda", at the University of Limpopo, Ebrahim said they would also forge closer partnerships and promote greater consultation with other member states on the work of the council.
The council is the UN's most powerful body, with executive powers to determine sanctions and military intervention against any country.
South Africa began its second term as a non-permanent member of the United Nations Security Council for the 2011 to 2012 term on 1 January 2011. The first term was in 2007 to 2008. It held the position of council presidency - which rotates monthly - in January 2012.
Ebrahim said South Africa's policy positions adopted and pursued by the country since January 2011 have been guided largely by African Union positions, a linkage that has been immensely facilitated by South Africa's simultaneous membership of both the UNSC and the AU Peace and Security Council.
"We went on to say that Pretoria has utilised its presidency to focus the spotlight on the question of how to enhance cooperation between the UN and the AU in the maintenance of international peace and security."
He added that the country has been using its tenure to explore concrete measures to strengthen the relationship between the UN and regional organisations, in particular the African Union, in the area of conflict prevention, management and resolution on the African continent.
"Both the AU Commission and the UN Secretariat have made significant progress in terms of supporting operational deployments and long term capacity building as well as the desk-to-desk cooperation," he said.
Another notable achievement has been the establishment of an AU-UN High Level Panel to explore the possibility of enhancing the predictability, sustainability and flexibility of financing for AU peace operations, a factor that remains the most important constraint that limits Africa's capacity to resolve its own conflicts.
However, Ebrahim says some big challenges remain. He cited the improving interaction, consultation and coordination on matters of mutual interest and strategic political coherence between the UN and AU.
African countries have been pushing for the reform of the UN, saying the continent's concerns and voices were not being considered. Leaders like President Jacob Zuma have also called for stronger cooperation between UNSC and the AU in the prevention and management of conflicts in Africa especially after the last year's conflict in Libya.
Reiterating Zuma's comments at the UNSC this year, Ebrahim said the institutionalising the relation between the two bodies would align collective policies, strategies and mechanisms for conflict prevention, mediation and resolution in Africa.