South Africa set out its priorities as president of UN Security Council


SOUTH Africa has assumed the presidency of the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) and has set, at the core of its programme, enhancing peace and security efforts around the world and strengthening the UN and Africa.

South Africa now occupies the unique position of simultaneously holding the presidency of the UN Security Council and the leadership of the African Union (AU). SA month-long presidency of the UNSC also marks the end of the country’s term as an elected member of the UNSC.

These priorities were set out by Jerry Matjila, South Africa’s permanent representative to the United Nations, when he outlined the programme of the SA’s presidency.

Matjila said there would be several high level signature events which will focus on strengthening the cooperation between the UN and the AU as well as the implementation of security sector governance, reform and its impact on peacebuilding and sustaining peace.

“South Africa will continue to strive to promote unity in the Security Council and will work collectively with other Council members to enhance the effectiveness of the Council’s initiatives in discharging its mandate to maintain international peace and security,” Matjila said.

 He said SA will chair a debate, chaired by Dr Naledi Pandor, the country’s Minister of International Relations and Cooperation, on the UN security sector governance and reform. “This meeting will be key to advancing discussions on the role of security sectors in support of peacebuilding efforts and to sustain peace and stability. Furthermore, the meeting will look at gaps and challenges hindering effective and efficient implementation of security, which are undermining efforts to sustain peace. The meeting is also intended to stimulate discussions on how to overcome the identified challenges and the Council’s role in this regard,” Matjila explained.

A special meeting to discuss UN-AU relations is scheduled for December 4. The meeting will be chaired by Cyril Ramaphosa, who is chairperson of the AU and president of the UNSC.

“This will highlight the strategic partnership between the UN Security Council and the AU Peace and Security Council and assess this partnership in its commitment to prevent and resolve conflicts on the African Continent and how to effectively overcome challenges that may arise in this regard,” Matjila said.

In pursuit of the UNSC to promote global justice, a special event will be hosted by SA, designed to strengthen the cooperation with the International Court of Justice.

Matjila explained: “In recognition of the complementarity of both organs in carrying out the mandate to preserve international peace and security,  there will be a public briefing by the President of the International Court of Justice and it will focus on strengthening the cooperation between the Security Council and the ICJ. The year 2020 marks the centenary of the ICJ, as well as the 75th anniversary of the United Nations. This public briefing is intended to explore ways to enhance the use of the ICJ by the Security Council in pursuit of sustainable peace and security.” 

He said other important matters to be discussed at the UNSC this month include:

  • The mandate to combat piracy off the coast of Somalia.
  • Peacekeeping in the Democratic Republic of Congo
  • Peacekeeping in Sudan.
  • Developments in Central Africa.
  • A report from the UN Investigative Team to Promote Accountability for Crimes Committed by Daesh/ISIL.
  • The use of chemical weapons in Syria.
  • South Sudan Sanctions 
  • The situation in Yemen. i
  • Peace efforts in Afghanistan (
  • The situation in Middle East, including implementation of UN resolution 2334 on settlement activity in the Occupied Palestinian Territory.
  • The Iran nuclear deal. 
  • The situation in Burundi, based on a report by UN Under-Secretary-General for Africa, Bintou Keita , who visited that country recently. 
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