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News                                                                               
 

Towards a Prosperous and Sustainable World - UNGA 75

By Cyril Ramaphosa, President of South Africa

21 September 2020

The United Nations will this week begin the 75th session of its General Assembly, where the nations of the world gather to seek collective solutions to global challenges.

In any other year, heads of state and government would travel to the UN headquarters in New York to address the General Assembly. But this year, because of the coronavirus pandemic, this gathering is taking place virtually, using technology to bridge the distance between the capitals of the world.

As South Africa, we will be addressing the General Assembly by videoconference from the Union Buildings and will be participating in several other meetings.

This is an important moment for the United Nations. It is 75 years since its formation following the destruction of the Second World War. The countries of the world were determined that never again should such a human tragedy be allowed to happen. They believed that through an organisation like the UN, the world’s problems could be peacefully resolved through cooperation.

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Tribute to Mpondo Culture and Heritage 2020

By Dr Nomvuyo N. Nokwe, Secretary General of IORA

21 September 2020

COVID-19 has negatively impacted global travel and brought the world to an abrupt standstill. For the first time in history, close to 90% of the world’s population is now in countries with travel restrictions. Airlines, travel companies and the tourism sector as a whole are among the most affected businesses.

Photo: Ms Verena Gauthier, CEO of Impulse NGO from Basseland, Switzerland and Dr Nomvuyo Nokwe, Secretary General of IORA, during the Mpondo Culture and Heritage Festival 2018 at Lwandlolubomvu Great Place, Ntabankulu, Mpondo Kingdom

The UN Secretary-General stressed, “It is imperative that we rebuild the tourism sector.” He went on to say in order for it to “regain its position as a provider of decent jobs, stable incomes and the protection of our cultural and natural heritage.” tourism’s role is one of the most important economic sectors, providing livelihoods to hundreds of millions of people while “boosting economies and enabling countries to thrive.

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Shaping Peace Together

21 September 2020

Each year the International Day of Peace is observed around the world on 21 September. The UN General Assembly has declared this as a day devoted to strengthening the ideals of peace, through observing 24 hours of non-violence and cease-fire.

The International Day of Peace was established in 1981 by the United Nations General Assembly. Two decades later, in 2001, the General Assembly unanimously voted to designate the Day as a period of non-violence and cease-fire.

Image: pixabay.com

"Shaping Peace Together" is the theme for world peace day this year. The United Nations encourages people to "celebrate the day by spreading compassion, kindness and hope in the face of the (COVID-19) pandemic."  This year, the UN said, has been clearer than ever that we are not each other’s enemies. “Rather, our common enemy is a tireless virus that threatens our health, security and very way of life. COVID-19 has thrown our world into turmoil and forcibly reminded us that what happens in one part of the planet can impact people everywhere.”

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Reshaping a new Regional Integration: The SAARC and SADC Nations

By Srimal Fernando and Vedangshi Roy Choudhuri

21 September 2020

Southern African and South Asian nations have resorted to the fact that one of the most significant methods for accomplishing a more prominent economic autonomy is through regional integration of economies. Cultivating economic discretion between the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) and Southern African Development Community (SADC) is one of the key foreign policy objectives that both regional alliances can cooperate on within the following decade.

South Africa and India would thus be able to exercise a significant and persuasive foreign policy focus in connecting these two regions.  From the governments' side, the essential enquiries rotate around the viability of its current strategies.

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DWI Launches Wholistic World Innovation Trophy, WIT

Brussels, September 15, 2020: Diplomatic World Institute proudly announces the launch of the first ever Wholistic World Innovation Trophy.


The rapid technology-driven change has a huge impact on our societies, now fuelled by the pandemic crisis, by making people feel uneasy and longing for the stable structures of the past that had made them feel secure. However, post Corona innovation is no longer purely technology driven. Globalisation and business itself need to be thought of in a different, wholistic way.

The TIME industries (Technology, Internet Media & Entertainment) are playing a significant role for our societies. Media is content, and content is data. Thus, it takes a key role in both innovation cycles and how to monitor and comprehend it.

Therefore, once a year, we identify one exclusive innovation with the potential of global impact. Our independent board of senior experts from the TIME industries selects the most influential innovation of the year. DWI is the facilitator, providing the framework to reach an independent decision, free from any industry or social groups’ interest.

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Israel - UAE - Bahrain Normalization Ceremony

by Hanan Jarrar, Ambassador of Palestine to South Africa

As Palestinians, on this eve of September 15, 2020, we feel betrayed by the step taken by the United Arab Emirates, and the Kingdom of Bahrain to normalise relations with the Israeli settler-colonial regime.  The signature by the foreign ministers of the two Arab Gulf states today in Washington D.C  of the agreement, does not only go against the 2002 Arab Peace Initiative -which offers Israel  normal relations in the region in exchange for ending  occupation- and against tens of  other Arab League resolutions that go in the same sense, but it is also a betrayal to the simple principles of Justice, emboldening Israel to continue oppressing the Palestinian people.
 
At a time where Israeli bulldozers are intensifying their work of tearing down Palestinian lands and homes to grow the illegal settlement enterprise, and Israeli strikes and blockade are suffocating the Gaza Strip, in addition to the daily threats and desacralizations of Muslim and Christian holy places, this move cannot be seen as a step towards peace. This agreement which comforts the Israel international stand is rewarding the crime perpetrators and an encouragement to the current rampant culture of impunity. As such, it will only draw nearer a movement of unrest in the region to oppose the growing injustices. Most notably, when the Israeli government is unapologetically stating that it will not allow a sovereign and viable Palestinian state to exist, and that annexation of Palestinian land shall persist.

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210th Anniversary of the Independence of Mexico

by Ana Luisa Fajer, Ambassador of Mexico to South Africa

15 September 2020

It is with great pleasure that I address you today to celebrate the two hundred and tenth Anniversary of the Independence of Mexico.

Today, as on each fifteenth of September from the late nineteenth century, Mexicans around the world celebrate the beginning of our fight for freedom. With this ceremony, Mexicans renew their bond to freedom, to sovereignty, to Mexico.

In the early hours of the sixteenth of September 1810 Father Miguel Hidalgo congregated the people of his parish in the town of Dolores and encouraged them to join him in the struggle for the freedom of Mexico. Hidalgo’s call became “el Grito de Independencia”, the Cry for Mexican Independence from Spain.

The revolution for independence was due to last eleven years. During this period the insurgents -as we refer to them, the heroes of this revolution- were so ahead of their time that Hidalgo abolished slavery as early as December 1810, and José María Morelos -a brilliant Afro- Mexican- signed the first Constitution in 1814: The Constitutional Decree for the Liberation of Mexican America.

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Reaffirming Women as the Custodians of our Heritage, Humanity and Future

By Jaimal Anand

14 September 2020

“Women in the ANC … have a duty to liberate us men from antique concepts and attitudes about the place and role of women in society, and in the development and direction of our revolutionary struggle.”
OR Tambo ANC Women’s Section in Luanda, Angola, 14 September 1981

This article will attempt to draw a link between Women’s Month and Heritage Month. The role of women in defining and protecting our heritage is not often linked but is, in my view, critical. The narratives that have been selected for this piece build on a position that women are a powerful force, and that this force has been supressed by centuries of patriarchal conditioning.

Photo: A fierce all female military squad in the kingdom of Dahomey (hadithi.africa)

All women have an innate strength and a special sort of courage that most men are unable to understand, however, during times of crises we have all seen this explosive force in action. The lens through which we, as men, perceive woman must change. One way of ensuring this is to drive to the fore narratives of women who literally shook the world, yet somehow their stories are overshadowed or stifled for reasons we may well understand, but not admit to. It is therefore important that mind-sets are changed at a societal level.
Dulcie September Square in Paris, France, was officially inaugurated on 31 March 1998. The name plate reads: "Dulcie September Square: Representative of the African National Congress: Assassinated in Paris on 29 March 1988".

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Festive Launch of the Diplomatic World Magazine devoted to Uzbekistan held in Brussels

On 3 September 2020, a networking reception was held on the grounds of the Embassy of Uzbekistan in Brussels, in order to celebrate Uzbekistan’s 29th anniversary of independence and the launch of the Special Edition of Diplomatic World Magazine exclusively devoted to Uzbekistan. Approximately 70 high-level guests were in attendance, coming not only from Brussels but also neighbouring countries Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Germany and France. They included representatives of the diplomatic corps (ambassadors of other Central Asian countries, Russia, the Philippines and the Maldives), European External Action Service, the European Parliament, arts & culture, business, media and think tank representatives.

Pictured (l-r) are H.E. Dilyor Khakimov Ambassador of Uzbekistan, H.E. Tchary Atayev Ambassador of Turkmenistan and Barbara Dietrich CEO and President Diplomatic World

After months of restrictive measures related to the COVID-19 pandemic which had severely limited social contact, this festive occasion allowed guests to interact with one another in a relaxed atmosphere while enjoying Uzbek cuisine including its famous dish – plov – as well as a small exposition of traditional Uzbek dresses.

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Coronavirus Global Response: Access to COVID-19 Tools-Accelerator Facilitation Council holds inaugural meeting

10 September 2020

Today Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO Director-General, and Dr Ursula von der Leyen, President of the European Commission, co-hosted the inaugural meeting of the Access to COVID-19 Tools (ACT) Accelerator Facilitation Council. The meeting was co-chaired by H.E. Cyril Ramaphosa, President of South Africa and H.E. Erna Solberg, Prime Minister of Norway and included a keynote address from the UN Secretary-General António Guterres.

The ACT-Accelerator is the proven, up-and-running, global collaboration accelerating the development, production, and equitable access to COVID-19 tests, treatments, and vaccines.

It was launched on 24 April 2020 by WHO with the European Commission, France and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and supported by the UN Secretary-General and multiple Heads of Government, it is already delivering substantial returns; over 170 countries are engaged in the new COVID-19 Vaccine Facility and ten candidate vaccines are under evaluation, 9 of them in clinical trials, giving the largest and most diverse COVID-19 vaccine portfolio in the world.

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Achmat Dangor led an extraordinary life

A tibute by the Nelson Mandela Foundation

7 September 2020

The passing of Achmat Dangor has left us feeling bereft. He was far more to us than just a former Chief Executive of the Nelson Mandela Foundation. He led the organisation through a challenging time of transition as Madiba stepped away from public life and in the process mentored many of us and, for some, became a friend. And even when he had moved on and his plate was full with new challenges, he never stopped supporting us. It felt that he was always there. We mourn his loss together with his family and friends. At this difficult time, our thoughts are with his partner Audrey Elster, his children Yasmin, Zane and Zachary, his grandchildren and his brothers and sister.

Achmat gave many years of outstanding service to structures of civil society in South Africa – including the Foundation, the Nelson Mandela Children’s Fund, Kagiso Trust and the Ford Foundation. He received many accolades for his tenure with UNAids in Geneva. His passion for justice and his managerial experience made him an adroit leader.

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February/March 2020

 
 
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