South African Foreign Minister calls for unity to tackle global challenges

South African Minister for International Relations and Cooperation Naledi Pandor delivers a speech during a session of the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva, February 28, 2022. (Photo by Fabrice COFFRINI)
FILE PHOTO: South Africa’s Minister for International Relations and Cooperation Naledi Pandor delivers a speech during a session of the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva, February 28, 2022. /AFP Photo

South Africa’s Minister for International Relations and Cooperation, Naledi Pandor, said world leaders should come together to address the many challenges that have beset various regions.

Pandor made the call in a speech as she met with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken in Pretoria on Monday.

“The world is going through extraordinarily difficult times. Many countries face high costs of fuel, food and transportation, which are basic necessities,” she said.

“The current global economic environment, which is marked by growing inequality, conflict, uneven technological advancement and environmental degradation caused by climate change, has enormous implications for food security and agricultural systems, particularly in Africa where the pandemic has reversed the gains that had been made under the African Union’s socio-economic development plan, Agenda 2063, to create the Africa we want.

Pandor urged leaders to ensure that the commitments made at the United Nations, the G7 and the G20 to address food insecurity, global health, peace and security, sustainable and just energy transition, as well as the human security are taken into account in a meaningful way.

“Together, we must identify pathways to greater prosperity and human-centered development that enhance local community self-reliance, social justice and participatory decision-making,” the minister said.

Pandor also used the occasion to call for stronger ties between South Africa and the United States, noting that this should create the conditions for both democracies to thrive.

Blinken arrived in South Africa on Sunday to begin his three-country tour of the continent, the second since taking office in October 2021.

His arrival in Africa follows his trip to Asia, where he visited Cambodia and the Philippines on official business.

The US Secretary of State is due to stay in South Africa until Tuesday.

At the end of his South Africa tour, Blinken is expected to visit the Democratic Republic of Congo and Rwanda.