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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Statements and Speeches

Statement by Dr. Wouter H. Zaayman, Counsellor (Political) of the Permanent Mission of the Republic of South Africa to the United Nations at the United Nations Security Council Open Debate in Connection with the Agenda Item “Non-Proliferation of Weapons of Mass Destruction”

New York, 28 June 2017

Mr President,

South Africa welcomes the convening of this open debate and associates itself with the Non-Aligned Movement statement as delivered by the esteemed representative of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela.

Mr President,

Since the dawn of our democracy in 1994, South Africa has been steadfast in its commitment to multilateralism in addressing peace and security challenges facing the global community, including the horizontal and vertical proliferation of WMDs and their means of delivery.  South Africa reaffirms that no cause could ever justify the use or threat of use of weapons of mass destruction anywhere, by anyone or under any circumstances.

While significant progress has been achieved in the elimination of biological and chemical weapons through the universalization and implementation of the Conventions prohibiting biological and chemical weapons, progress towards a world free of nuclear weapons continues to lag behind.  Significantly, nuclear weapons remain the only WMDs yet to be subject to a global prohibition. 

Mr President,

Nuclear weapons remain the most indiscriminate and inhumane weapons ever to have been developed. Together with the vast majority of the international community, we believe that all efforts should consequently be made to ensure that these weapons are never ever used again, under any circumstances. The pursuit of nuclear disarmament is therefore not only a legal obligation, but also a moral and ethical imperative.

It is in this context, Mr President that my delegation welcomes, as a bold and positive step, the convening of the United Nations Conference to negotiate a legally-binding instrument to prohibit nuclear weapons. My delegation would like to stress that the instrument that is being negotiated is not a proverbial silver bullet that can cure all ills. Its main purpose is to encourage progress towards the total elimination of all nuclear weapons by stigmatising and delegitimizing such weapons on a global scale.

Mr President,

With regard to biological and chemical weapons, South Africa remains committed to the universalization of the relevant instruments and the full implementation of all legally-binding obligations. In terms of the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC), South Africa welcomes the progress made towards the destruction of chemical weapons across the globe. My delegation also shares its regret that the 2016 Review Conference of the Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention (BWC) did not achieve an outcome that could have strengthened the Convention.

Mr President,

We share the concern of the international community about the threat posed by non-State actors acquiring weapons of mass destruction and in this regard remain committed to the strengthening of transfer controls as called for in UNSC Resolution 1540 (2004).  We recognize the need for international assistance and co-operation especially for States that may not have the requisite resources in giving effect to their obligations.  In our view, accomplishing the full implementation of resolution 1540 requires continuous and sustained efforts at national, regional and international levels.

At national level South Africa has over the years strengthened its implementation capability through comprehensive national legislation focusing on WMDs and their means of delivery.

Our domestic legislation is subject to continuous review taking into account new technological developments and experiences in national implementation.

Mr President,

While dealing with the above challenges, it is imperative that unwarranted restrictions are not imposed on the inalienable right of Member States, particularly developing countries, to use any related materials, equipment and technologies for peaceful purposes. In this regard, the opportunities provided by nuclear technologies in the implementation of the SDGs, particularly in areas such as food security, public health technologies and clean energy cannot be overlooked. Furthermore, the exchange of scientific information, equipment and materials for peaceful purposes is greatly needed in Africa to deal with the spread of infectious diseases, which could derail socio-economic growth and development if not adequately addressed.

Mr President,

South Africa’s experience with the implementation of control regimes has demonstrated that the challenges of WMDs and their delivery systems can be addressed by:

  1. Strengthening national legislation and implementation capabilities;
  2. Accelerating the provision of capacity-building and technical expertise, especially to developing countries, including in Africa;
  3. Strengthening international cooperation with other related international organisations;
  4. Ensuring adequate and predictable funding for the relevant international organisations and implementation support structures to enable them to implement their mandates;
  5. Strengthening cooperation between regional organisations and the relevant multilateral organisations; and
  6. Enhancing co-operation with civil society and the private sector.

Mr President,

In conclusion, the threat of WMD proliferation can only be dealt with effectively through increased international co-operation and assistance, and the strengthening of the relevant multilateral instruments and institutions.  What is required is a faithful and balanced implementation of the various international legally-binding instruments.

I thank you.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Rev. Thursday, 29-Jun-2017 1:30 PM