South Africa’s International Relations and Cooperation Minister Naledi Pandor has touted the importance of multilateralism, saying that no country could successfully deal with challenges like the Covid-19 pandemic without international cooperation.Pandor said this as the United Nations marked the 75th anniversary of its formation at a time of great economic disruption in the world compounded by an unprecedented global health crisis triggered by the coronavirus pandemic.
“The pandemic has awfully reminded us of the indispensable value of multilateralism. We have seen, as with other contemporary challenges, that no country, acting alone, can successfully deal with the pandemic,” the minister said.
With over one million people dead from the pandemic worldwide so far, the disease has deepened poverty, widened the inequality gap, increased insecurity and revealed cracks in the system of global governance, she said.
Out of the total global death toll, South Africa has lost over 19,000 people since the virus broke out in the country in March 2020.
Pandor said while commendable multilateral cooperation among states has been witnessed, the pandemic has also raised the question of how the world should be more organised in its aftermath.
“This means that the globe should be a world free of poverty, inequality and underdevelopment,” Pandor told a virtual UN Day meeting on Friday.
“It should be a world of inclusive economic growth and shared prosperity, and it should be a world where young people are able to grow and thrive, and where women have equal rights and opportunities as well.”
The UN officially came into existence with the ratification of the 1945 charter by the majority of its signatories — including the five permanent members of the Security Council namely Britain, China, France, United States and Russia.
The campaign to have more permanent members in order to make the exclusive body more representative, especially from African countries, has fallen on diplomatic deaf ears of the Big Five – making Africa the only big ethnic group not represented in the UN Security Council.