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 the Representative of the Republic of South Africa to the United Nations, Mr. Stephen Ntsoane (First Secretary), on Comprehensive Review of the Special Political Missions

27 October 2016
New York

Thank you Chairman,

We appreciate this opportunity to engage on this important agenda item. This is a timely occasion for a discussion on special political missions, and their central position in the Organization’s peace and security efforts.  The opening words of the Charter capture the purpose of the United Nations as: “To save succeeding generations from the scourge of war” and special political missions are a crucial part of this goal. They remain at the forefront of the United Nations response to conflict, and have become indispensable instruments for conflict prevention, conflict resolution, peace-making and peacebuilding. South Africa thanks the Secretary General for his report on Special Political Missions and supports the recommendations made in the report.

South Africa aligns itself with the statement delivered by the distinguished representative of Morocco on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM).

We note with appreciation, the landmark concurrent adoption in April 2016 by both the United Nations General Assembly and the UN Security Council of the joint resolutions on the Organization’s Peacebuilding architecture, which provide renewed momentum for the focus within the UN system on sustaining peace. The adoption of the two resolutions expand the notion of peacebuilding to include a definition of ”sustaining peace” which, should be broadly understood as a goal and a process to building a common vision of a society, ensuring that the needs of all segments of the population are taken into account.

Mr Chairman,

Although South Africa has consistently articulated the need for greater focus on peace building and conflict prevention, our understanding is that, political issues are always at the heart of a conflict and therefore a political solution is required for long-term sustainable peace.

We strongly support the establishment of Special Political Missions (SPMs) authorized by the Security Council and the General Assembly to assist countries emerging from the conflict in laying the foundations for strong durable peace. We also believe that the SPMs have become indispensable in the maintenance of international peace and security. Special Political Missions may vary significantly in terms of their mandates, size and structure. They are individually tailored to provide the best possible United Nations response to a specific situation. Flexibility is one of their greatest assets. But they have one common characteristic: the focus on preventing and resolving conflict.

Mr Chairman,

My delegation would like to briefly point out the following three issues relating to the SPMs which we believe should be highlighted, namely:

First, both the reviews of the UN High Level Independent Panel on Peace Operations and the Secretary General Recommendations on Peacekeeping Operations have called for a renewed and urgent emphasis on conflict prevention and mediation. We recognize the importance of the need for a comprehensive strategy comprising operational and structural measures for preventing armed conflict and the development of steps to address root causes of conflicts — such as poverty, weak State institutions and political exclusion.

Secondly, strong partnerships with regional and sub-regional organizations remain a critical aspect of the work carried out by special political missions, under the framework of Chapter VIII of the Charter. With regard to cooperation with regional organisations, we are pleased that there has been significant improvement between the political missions and peacekeeping operations, including with sub-regional and regional actors.

Thirdly, adequate and predictable resources should be allocated to SPMs. The failure to do so would undermine our commitment at this meeting. In this regard, we appeal for improved sources of financing, progress in the reform of funding and backstopping. In addition, the creation of a separate account would not only increase predictability and transparency, but accord SPMs the recognition they deserve as a unique tool to resolve conflict. South Africa wishes to reiterate the call by the NAM that the funding of the SPMs should be financed through the implementation of the same criteria, methodology and mechanisms used to fund peacekeeping operations. We believe this will make the SPMs more agile in their deployment and execution of their respective mandates.

In conclusion, let me assure you of South Africa’s commitment to positive contribution to the work of SPMs. My delegation wishes to once again re-affirm the importance we attach to Special Political Missions.

I thank you.