Message by the Minister of International Relations and Cooperation, Dr Naledi Pandor, on the occasion of United Nations Day, Sunday, 24 October 2021

24 October 2021

The Government and people of South Africa join the international community in celebrating the 76th anniversary of the founding of the United Nations (UN).

UN Day marks the entry into force of the Charter of the United Nations on 24 October 1945.

Today the world faces urgent global challenges, which require global responses, more robust multilateralism and renewed commitment to the purposes and principles of the UN Charter. There is no place for nationalism and unilateralism.

On this day, South Africa pays tribute to the role of the UN, in particular, in the fight against Apartheid. That is why, amongst other reasons, South Africa believes in multilateralism and continues to lead the work of the UN to combat and eradicate racism, discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerances.

South Africa continues to play an important role in the work of the UN, having served as a member of the UN Security Council and brokered major breakthroughs such as the indefinite extension of the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons with regard to Weapons of Mass Destruction, the Paris Agreement with regards to Climate Change, as well as the role played by President Ramaphosa with regard to ensuring the centrality of the World Health Organisation in the global response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The pandemic proves beyond any measure of doubt that no country can go it alone or retreat into the pursuit of a foreign policy based on nationalism. No one is safe until all are safe with respect to the pandemic. That is why South Africa is at the forefront of the call for vaccine equity and the temporary waiver of certain provisions of the Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights to allow more countries to produce COVID-19 vaccines.

Now, more than ever, there is an urgency for the UN to be reformed and for the UN Security Council to reflect the realities of the world in its composition, working methods and decision-making with respect to the veto.

The Government and the people of South Africa mark this day with an immense sense of gratitude for the role of the UN, in particular the UN General Assembly and the UN Special Committee against Apartheid and commits to spare no effort in playing its part in ensuring that the UN remains relevant and responsive to the world.

The Diplomatic Informer
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