South Africa on the UN Security Council

10 April 2011

South Africa has assumed its seat as a non-permanent member of the United Nations Security Council, aiming to continue with its efforts to promote and enhance the body’s cooperation with regional organisations, particularly the African Union’s Peace and Security Council.

The country intends to use its position as on the council to elevate the African agenda and help bring peace and security to the continent.

To achieve this, the country will work closely with fellow Security Council members Gabon and Nigeria, International Relations and Cooperation Minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane said in January.

“South Africa and Nigeria will, at the same time, be members of the African Union Peace and Security Council, presenting a unique opportunity to bring greater alignment to the work of these two bodies regarding conflict on our continent.”

The country will aim to strengthen its cooperation with Nigeria and Gabon, who with South Africa form the G3, in order to coordinate its efforts regarding the continent more efficiently.

But the focus will not only be on Africa. According to Nkoana-Mashabane, South Africa wants to make a meaningful contribution to peace, security and development globally.

Foreign policy priorities

Nkoana-Mashabane said South Africa would contribute to the Security Council’s work by participating in its committees, working groups and other structures.

“In 2011, South Africa – in line with its foreign policy priorities -will chair the 1540 Committee dealing with weapons of mass destruction and non-state actors and the Working Group on Conflict Prevention in Africa,” she added.

South Africa will also serve as the vice-chair of the Cote d’Ivoire and Liberia Sanctions Committees.

Nkoana-Mashabane also noted that power configuration of the Security Council was not in favour of non-permanent members and that national interests sometimes overrode international commitments.

Security Council membership would provide an opportunity for South Africa to work towards achieving a representative, legitimate and more effective Security Council, she said.

Second term

South Africa began its second term as a non-permanent member of the United Nations Security Council for the 2011-12 term on 1 January 2011. The first term was in 2007-08.

The country will serve alongside the permanent members – China, France, the Russian Federation, the United Kingdom and the United States – and elected members Bosnia and Herzegovina, Brazil, Colombia, Gabon, Germany, India, Lebanon Nigeria and Portugal.

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