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 Ambassador Jerry Matjila, Permanent Representative of the Republic of South Africa to the United Nations, at the Open Debate of the Security Council on Peacebuilding In Africa

28 July 2016

Mr President,

We commend you for hosting this open debate of the Security Council on Peacebuilding in Africa. South Africa aligns itself with the statement delivered by Iran on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement.

While the United Nations Security Council is charged with the primary responsibility for the maintenance of international peace and security, conflict prevention and peacebuilding, particularly on the African Continent is part of this mandate, and indeed the mandate of the United Nations in general.

South Africa believes that the key to sustainable peace consolidation lies in strengthening political approaches including through preventive diplomacy, conflict prevention and management, mediation and peacebuilding. This would ensure that countries not only avert conflict but also address challenges that would prevent countries from sliding back into conflict.

Consequently, South Africa agrees with the assertion contained in the Report of the Advisory Group of Experts for the 2015 review of the UN Peacebuilding Architecture that peacebuilding, “must be the principle that flows through all the UN’s engagements informing all the Organisation’s activities – before, during and after violent conflict –rather than being marginalised,” as it appears to be.

Mr President,

The majority of UN Member States have, in some way or form been affected by conflict. What prevents these conflicts from having disproportionate impacts on Member States is the capacity of states, economies and societies to withstand the threats to their stability. This is the central tenant underlying the peacebuilding agenda, ensuring sustainable development and good governance in order to avoid relapses into conflict. Guarding against instability spiralling into full blown conflict therefore becomes critical. In this regard, sustained attention of the international community to countries emerging from conflict, and positive contributions from the international community to the stability, economic growth and development of these countries are fundamental to the global peace and security agenda.   

In order to strengthen states on the Continent emerging from post conflict situations, the African Union has developed a Post Conflict Reconstruction and Development policy. This is a guide for the development of comprehensive policies and strategies that seek to consolidate peace and prevent relapse to violence. In 2014 the AU also launched its African Solidarity Initiative aimed at mobilising support from within the continent for peacebuilding measures. All these initiatives contribute to the AU Agenda 2063 ambition of promoting dialogue-centred conflict prevention so “that by 2020 all guns will be silent”.

Mr President,

We welcome Security Council Resolution 2282, as well as the identical General Assembly 70/262, adopted in April, which considered the review of the United Nations Peacebuilding Architecture. These resolutions recognise the important work of the UN Peacebuilding Commission as a body presiding over strategic coherence in international peacebuilding efforts. 

As is always the case, the development of national capacities in the aftermath of conflict will not succeed without the provision of adequate, predictable and coherent funding, which in turn increases the possibility for sustaining peace. South Africa, like other Member States is intensely aware of the various challenges that the Peacebuilding Fund (PBF) faces pertaining to restricted funding. Thus, the Security Council should welcome the announcement made by the African Union on Mandela Day on 18 July 2016, regarding the establishment of an AU Peace Fund. We believe that this process will help balance and build on the actions of the PBC. The operationalization of the AU Peace Fund will be complimented by the establishment of a 0.2% levy on eligible imports to address previous financial challenges the AU faces. The AU Peace Fund will amongst others, address factors regarding mediation, preventative diplomacy, institutional capacity building and peace support operations.    
Mr President,
We must not lose sight of the sterling work that the Peace Building Commission (PBC) and the Peace Building Fund has undertaken and continues to undertake. We are mindful of the fact that all the countries on the agenda of the PBC are from Africa and that these countries have also received an estimated 80% of allocations of the PBC between 2007 and 2014. Even at present, the PBF is assisting in supporting the African Union Commission to provide peacebuilding activities in Burundi, which serves as a practical example of an action that illustrates the strengthening cooperation between the UN and AU in sustaining peace.
Lack of state authority and weak state institutions are conducive conditions for conflict. South Africa therefore supports strengthening the governance institutions of countries emerging from conflict and the promotion of good governance. It should be noted that the AU has adopted an African Charter on Democracy, Elections and Governance. This sets out the Continent’s vision for good governance which ultimately supports peacebuilding and sustainable peace.

Finally, we call for the broadening of the concept of peacebuilding support to include not just financing for development, but in keeping with the idea behind the African Solidarity Initiative, ‘in kind’ support such as training and capacity building of state institutions. Such ‘in kind’ initiatives will go a long way in rebuilding the capacity of the state to ensure peace, stability and development in its country.

The idea of peacebuilding is based strongly 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.

Thank you.