South Africa started off the New Year by officially assuming its seat as a non-permanent member of the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) for the period 2019-2020.
South Africa's tenure in the Security Council will be dedicated to the legacy of former president Nelson Mandela, whose values and commitment to peace were commemorated last year during the centenary of his birth, according to the Department of International Relations and Cooperation.
South Africa's term will also be an opportunity for the country to work towards the African Union's goal of "Silencing the Guns" on the continent by 2020.
Minister of International Relations and Cooperation Lindiwe Sisulu said on Tuesday: "The world is facing huge challenges, including rising unilateralism and widening geo-political divisions. These challenges threaten our collective resolve to address global challenges of peace, security and development.
"South Africa will thus utilise its tenure on the Security Council to promote the maintenance of international peace and security through advocating for the peaceful settlement of disputes and inclusive dialogue," Sisulu said.
A focus on women in conflict resolution
She said South Africa will encourage closer cooperation between the UN Security Council and other regional and sub-regional organisations, particularly the African Union.
"We would further wish to emphasise the role of women in the resolution of conflict. Thus, during our time on the Council, South Africa will ensure that a gender perspective is mainstreamed into all Security Council resolutions in line with UNSC Resolution 1325 (2000) on Women, Peace and Security."
She said South Africa looks forward to collaborating with all other 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.
South Africa was elected to serve on the Council by the United Nations General Assembly on June 8, 2018.
President Cyril Ramaphosa said at the time: "This will be the third time that South Africa will be serving in the Security Council since the dawn of democracy in 1994. We are humbled and honoured by the confidence the international community has demonstrated in our capability to contribute to the resolution of global challenges."
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