On Friday, 8 June, member states of the UN General Assembly in New York gave South Africa an overwhelming mandate to take up the two year seat as a  non-permanent member of the UN Security Council for the period 2019-2020. South Africa is honoured and humbled by this expression of confidence in South Africa’s ability to make a contribution to the maintenance of international peace and security.

This will be South Africa’s third term on the  Security Council, having previously served from 2007-2008 and 2011-2012.

South Africa will dedicate its two-year term on the Security Council to continue to build on the peaceful resolution of conflicts on the Continent, guided by the African Union’s aspirations of Agenda 2063, in particular ‘silencing the guns by 2020’. Only when we have peace and a culture of peace, can we have sustainable development in Africa. Our energies now have to be directed at the betterment of the lives of our people.

South Africa holds the view that emphasis should be placed on the preventative approach in addressing conflicts and its root causes and also to assist countries emerging from conflict from relapsing. In this context, South Africa will work towards promoting political processes and addressing the pivotal nexus between security and development.

Sustainable peace consolidation also requires the strengthening of political approaches, including through preventative diplomacy, conflict prevention and management, mediation and peace building. Under-resourcing of conflict prevention remains an obstacle. South Africa will continue to highlight the fact that commitment to sustaining peace and conflict prevention requires adequate and predictable resources in support of these priorities, which will invariably lead to less spending on costly peacekeeping, humanitarian responses and in protecting developmental gains. South Africa will also reiterate its call for the UN-assessed contributions to secure predictable, sustainable and flexible financing for AU-led peace support operations authorised by the Security Council.

We believe that peace cannot be achieved without the participation of women in peace negotiations, peacekeeping operations, post-conflict peace-building and governance. South Africa will thus ensure that the spirit of Security Council resolution 1325 (2000) on Women, Peace and Security is reflected in the work of the Council.

During the first year of our tenure on the Security Council, South Africa will work closely with Equatorial Guinea and Cote’d Ivoire as part of the A-3. As the three non-permanent African Group members on the Council, we are expected to forge a united front, particularly on those issues concerning the African Continent.

South Africa will thus use its tenure on the Security Council to ensure that UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres keeps the African Continent at the centre of his agenda in the UN. The Secretary-General has been hailed by African leaders for taking action in strengthening relations between the African Union and the United Nations. In April 2017, the Secretary-General and the African Union Commissioner signed the UN-AU Framework for enhancing partnership on peace and security to further build on the initiative that South Africa previously spearheaded during its previous tenures on the Security Council.

In this regard, South Africa will continue to enhance cooperation between the UN Security Council and the AU Peace and Secuity Council, of which South Africa is currently a member.

As current chair of the Southern African Development ­­­Community (SADC), we remain ceased with regional cooperation, industrialization, as well as peace and security matters. We will use our two-year tenure in the Council to consolidate the gains we have achieved through the SADC Organ on Peace and Security and the AU Peace and Security architecture to help bring lasting peace and security in our region.

We will continue to work with the SADC region to ensure the peaceful resolution of conflicts. Furthermore, we will ensure the facilitation and implementation by the Security Council of the decisions made by the SADC Peace and Security Council in the region. We commit to be transparent and will continue to consult and engage with the Continent to ensure the implementation of African solutions to African problems on the various African issues on the agenda of the Security Council.

As we assume the non-permanent seat, we look forward to collaborating with the members of the Security Council in promoting the maintenance of international peace and security and the social well-being and advancement of all the peoples of the world.

Comrade Lindiwe Sisulu is a member of the ANC NEC and Minister for International Relations and Co-operation