The 17th Conference of the Parties (COP17) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and the 7th Session of the Conference of the Parties serving as the meeting of the parties (CMP7) to the Kyoto Protocol was held in the sunny city of Durban, South Africa.


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Press Releases

President Zuma to lead the South African delegation to the 70th Session of the United Nations General Assembly

22 September 2015

His Excellency President Jacob Zuma will lead a South African delegation to the 70th session of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA70) under the theme: “The United Nations at 70 – the road ahead for peace, security and human rights.”

The General Assembly is the main deliberative, policymaking and representative organ of the UN. Comprising all 193 Members of the UN, it provides a unique forum for multilateral discussion of the full spectrum of international issues covered by the Charter of the United Nations (UN).

The General Debate will take place from 28 September to 3 October 2015 and will be preceded by the Sustainable Development Summit for the adoption of the Post-2015 Development Agenda outcome document titled: “Transforming Our World: The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.”

The General Debate takes place in the context of a number of landmark anniversaries, which include the:

(i) 70th anniversary of the establishment of the United Nations;
(ii) 70th anniversary of the end of the Second World War;
(iii) 70th anniversary of the use of the atomic bombs;
(iv) 20th anniversary of the Beijing Platform for Action;
(v) 15th anniversary of resolution 1325 on women, peace and security; and
(vi) target date for the attainment of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).

The new development agenda builds on the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and will serve as the guiding global development framework for the next fifteen years. South Africa participated actively throughout the drafting process, primarily in our capacity as Chair of the Group of 77 and China.

At the heart of Agenda 2030 is the set of 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and 169 associated targets. The goals cover all three dimensions of sustainable development ranging from: ending poverty, ensuring healthy lives; ensuring inclusive and equitable quality education, achieving gender equality and empowering all women and girls, conserving and sustainably using the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development and addressing climate change.

The SDGs contained in Agenda 2030 are aligned to South Africa’s National Development Plan (NDP), as well as to the African Union’s Agenda 2063, and also seek to address the triple challenges of poverty, unemployment and inequality.

South Africa will use her participation in the 70th Session to continue the work to achieve reform of the UN, specifically the Security Council, as well as to ensure that the selection and appointment process of the UN Secretary-General is brought in line with democratic practice.

In addition to the Sustainable Development Summit and the General Debate, South Africa will participate in the following High-Level United Nations Events on the margins of UNGA70:

  • Summit of the African Union Peace and Security Council (AUPSC) chaired by the President Museveni of Uganda as President of the AUPSC for September (26 September 2015),
  • Global Leaders’ Meeting on Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment – A Common Commitment, chaired by President Xi Jinping of the People’s Republic of China (27 September 2015),
  • Meeting of Selected Heads of State and Government on COP21 co-hosted by the UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, President Hollande of France, and President Tasso of Peru (27 September 2015),
  • Informal Working Lunch of Heads of State and Government on Climate Change (29 September 2015),
  • 9th Regional Oversight Mechanism Meeting of the Peace, Security and Cooperation Framework ( 29 September 2015), and
  • Leaders’ Summit on countering ISIL and Violent Extremism hosted by President Obama of the United States (29 September 2015).

South Africa will also be commemorating and celebrating the support of the United Nations for the struggle for liberation. Key in this regard is the effective international campaign for the isolation of the apartheid state that was led by liberation hero and icon, ANC President Oliver Reginald Tambo. Mr Tambo and eminent South Africans such as musician Miriam Makeba addressed the United Nations on different occasions on the evils of apartheid, campaigning for isolation to bring the state to its knees. The declaration of apartheid as a crime against humanity was one of the most important milestones in the struggle for freedom. A most recent critical recognition of South Africa by the UN was the declaration of the 18th of July as International Mandela Day.

President Zuma will be accompanied by the Minister of International Relations and Cooperation, Ms Maite Nkoana-Mashabane; Minister of Women in the Presidency, Ms Susan Shabangu; Minister in the Presidency for Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation, Mr Jeff Radebe; Minister of Defence and Military Veterans, Ms Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula; Minister of Environmental Affairs, Ms Edna Molewa; Minister of Social Development, Ms Bathabile Dlamini; Minister of Communications, Ms Faith Muthambi; Minister of State Security, Mr David Mahlobo; Minister of Telecommunications and Postal Services, Dr Siyabonga Cwele and the Deputy Minister of Public Service and Administration, Ms Ayanda Dlodlo.

Enquiries: Mr Clayson Monyela, Spokesperson for DIRCO on 082 884 5974 or Bongani Majola on 082 339 1993 or

Issued by The Presidency