South Africa supports multilateralism.

South Africa has reaffirmed its backing of the multilateral trading system while also expressing concern at global rising levels of poverty and inequality.

“The world today is characterised unfortunately by increasing levels of poverty and inequality in both the developed and developing world,” said International Relations and Cooperation Minister Naledi Pandor.

The Minister was addressing the BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India and South Africa) Ministers of Foreign Affairs/International Relations on the sidelines of the 74th United Nations General Assembly (UNGA).

South Africa has also thrown its weight behind the multilateral trading system.

“Our customary meeting on the margins of the United Nations General Assembly provides a unique opportunity to collectively evaluate the state of multilateralism and to strengthen our coordination on issues of international peace and security, as well take stock of our collaboration on socio-economic development,” said the Minister on Thursday.

Given the current global, political, economic and security landscape, South Africa noted that there is no single organisation or country that can address these challenges alone.

“Our annual BRICS meeting here acknowledges this fact, and our partnership remains critical to advancing a global order based on international law, mutual cooperation and respect for multilateralism,” said the Minister at the meeting in New York.

On peace and security matters, South Africa also expressed support for the peaceful resolution of conflict through mediation, peace –making, peace-building and reconstruction efforts.

In addition, South Africa, said the Minister, is using its tenure on the UN Security Council (UNSC) to promote the maintenance of international peace and security by championing the principles of multilateralism; respect for the centrality of the United Nations Charter and preventative diplomacy.

It will also use it to promote the peaceful settlement of disputes and inclusive dialogue.

“We will also continue to encourage closer cooperation between the United Nations Security Council and other regional, sub-regional and continental organisations. Our second year (2020) at the UNSC coincides with our Chairship of the African Union and we hope to bring more effective synergy between these organisations.”

The majority of the issues on the Security Council’s agenda are related to peace and security on the African Continent, and South Africa is committed to working with our partners towards the African Union’s goal of “Silencing the Guns” on the Continent by 2020.

Meanwhile, Pandor said the root causes of threats to international peace and security need to be addressed.

“We cannot deal decisively with threats to international peace and security without addressing the root causes of conflicts, strengthening political processes and respect for the rule of law, as well as the promotion of sustainable and inclusive development.”

Brazil is set to host the 11th BRICS Summit in Brasilia in November 2019.