13 August 2013
South African International Relations Minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane has called on the United Nations to give Africa a minimum of two permanent seats on the body’s Security Council.
Briefing journalists after hosting Vuk Jeremic, the president of the 67th session of the UN General Assembly, in Pretoria on Monday, Nkoana-Mashabane also called on developed countries to honour the promises of economic support for environmental sustainability that they had made to developing countries.
She said the world body could not continue “to ignore and exclude the 54 member states that form a very critical region, the African Union,” noting that “seventy percent of the issues taken to the UN Security Council and are tabled for discussion are about us.”
Jeremic, whose one-year presidential term of the 67th session ends in September, agreed that there was need for change, as well as fair representation of African states on the council.
“If the institution does not keep up with the times and the environment, then the Security Council will become slowly but surely irrelevant,” he said.
“In the future, if we are going to have a Security Council, and if we are going to have a United Nations … we will have to encompass African interests through a permanent seat at the Security Council.”
In 2000, the United Nations member states met at a Millennium Summit to discuss and adopt development goals around eradicating poverty and hunger, eradicating HIV/Aids, malaria and other diseases, and achieving environmental sustainability and development through global partnerships.
Member states agreed at the time that they would work towards achieving these goals in 15 years.
With the 2015 deadline for the Millennium Development Goals looming, Nkoana-Mashabane called on developed countries to remember the commitments they had made.
“The one commitment that the developed states [made was to] contribute 0.7% of their national budgets to developmental goals of the developing world. The last time we checked, we don’t know how many countries have [lived up to their promises],” she said.
“Secondly, it was that they would continue on that principle of equal but differentiated responsibility [on] issues that come with greenhouse gas emissions, because they have had 100 years of uninterrupted pollution … and we woke up one morning and we were all affected.”