United Nations and South Africa reiterate their strong commitment to multilateralism
30 October 2020
- “This is the time for all nations, without exception, to rally together to fight the current enemy of Covid-19 and the causes that have weakened us from having the resilience to withstand such crises,” said the Resident Coordinator in South Africa, Nardos Bekele-Thomas.
Pretoria: The United Nations in South Africa and the Government today reiterated their strong commitment to the principles and values of multilateralism, particularly in the current environment in which the global response to Covid-19 has exposed the world to the darker side of sovereignty and nationalism.
Speaking at a webinar on “The importance of multilateralism in building back better for a post-Covid-19 world”, the head of the UN and Resident Coordinator in South Africa, Nardos Bekele-Thomas, said it was critical that the UN, “an organization that believes in the values of justice, human rights and the rule of law, must continue to speak on the need to have solidarity, the need to come together, and the need for multilateralism to conquer our common enemies.”
“This is the time for all nations, without exception, to rally together to fight the current enemy of Covid-19 and the causes that have weakened us from having the resilience to withstand such crises,” she said. “We therefore have to stand firm to implement the Sustainable Development Goals, established in 2015, and commit to building a resilient, all-inclusive and sustainable development for all.”
In her remarks at the same occasion, the Minister of International Relations and Cooperation, Naledi Pandor, said, “The pandemic has awfully reminded us of the indispensable value of multilateralism. We have seen that, as with other contemporary challenges, no country acting alone can successfully deal with the pandemic. While commendable multilateral cooperation between States has been witnessed, the pandemic has also raised the question of how the world should be organized in its aftermath.”
The minister called for a post Covid-19 world is that free of conflict. “It should also be a world free of poverty, inequality and underdevelopment, a world of inclusive economic growth and shared prosperity and it should be a world where young people are able to grow and thrive and where women have equal rights and opportunities, she added.
Other panelists at the webinar included Prof. Tawana Kupe, the Vice-Chancellor and Principal of the University of Pretoria and Elizabeth Sidiropoulos, the Chief Executive of the South African Institute of International Relations. Prof. Kupe highlighted the importance of multilateralism in the fight against the pandemic and misinformation and the need to build back better in response to society’s needs. Ms. Sidiropoulos called for the nurturing of regional multilateral groups such as the African Union.
The webinar was held as part of activities to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the United Nations.