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Research Report

SOUTH AFRICA’S SECOND UN SECURITY COUNCIL TENURE: The Emerging Powers Dimension

Francis Kornegay
Fritz Nganje
Uyo Salifu
Copyright Date: Aug. 26, 2011
Pages: 22
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https://www.jstor.org/stable/resrep07770

Table of Contents

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  1. (pp. [ii]-[iv])
  2. (pp. [v]-[vi])
  3. (pp. 1-1)

    The half-day roundtable was part of a research and dialogue initiative jointly undertaken by the Institute for Global Dialogue (IGD) and the Open Society Foundation for South Africa (OSF-SA). The project seeks to understand and stimulate dialogue around South Africa’s dilemma in balancing multiple relationships and agendas during its second term on the UN Security Council (UNSC). The project is designed to focus on South Africa’s relationship with different blocs represented in the UNSC, as well as its determination to advance the African agenda.

    South Africa’s Second UN Security Council Tenure: The Emerging Powers Dimension was the first of two...

  4. (pp. 1-2)

    In the opening remarks, Francis Kornegay of the IGD underscored the topicality of the issue, given developments that were unfolding within the structure of the United Nations Security Council (UNSC). He pointed out that the emerging powers structure of the Security Council in 2011, with India, Brazil and South Africa represented as non-permanent members along with Russia and China, made this a compelling focus for this first roundtable. Kornegay also used the opportunity to draw attention to a related international workshop convened by the IGD on 5 November 2010, which examined South Africa’s emerging power alliances on the eve of...

  5. (pp. 2-3)

    The roundtable got underway with the observation that South Africa’s role among emerging powers tended to always be examined from an economic perspective. The geo-political dimension also needs to be examined. The UN Security Council was seen as conveniently providing this context with both the India-Brazil-South Africa (IBSA) trilateral forum as well as BRICS reflected in the 2011 UNSC line-up.

    There needed to be an interrogation of how critics and scholars were reviewing South Africa’s role during its second tenure on the Council. Is there continuity or is there a departure? Previous reviews of South Africa’s first stint on the...

  6. (pp. 3-8)

    In response to these observations, reference was made to the riots in London, and a cartoon suggesting that the looters were not the first but that bankers and MPs had beaten them to it. The point was to convey the selectivity in how people analyse events.

    South Africa’s moral foundation of its foreign policy has been criticised, ignoring the reality of the absence of morality in international politics. As such, the truth about the Libyan resolution, 1973, is much more complex than many admit. That said, as the Libyan situation within the UNSC unfolds, is there anything like an African...

  7. (pp. 8-9)

    Leading into the discussion was a question about multilateral negotiations. This evoked a response about their complexity. Such negotiations defy theorising and prediction. Foreign policy is essentially an extension of domestic policy. It is difficult, from an African continental perspective, to accommodate different domestic interests in common positions, say within the AU. There is also the influence of external considerations on common positions. For example, this may apply to countries relying on AGOA (the US African Growth and Opportunity Act) which impacts on their propensity to stick to common positions against the US.

    Another challenge is the inadequacy of capacity...

  8. (pp. 9-10)

    In sum, the foreign policy dialogue brought to the fore a number of critical considerations that should inform any assessment of South Africa’s current Security Council tenure. In addition to underscoring the structural and technical constraints that temporary members like South Africa are faced with in the Council, the roundtable was very successful in highlighting the limitations onthe ability and willingness of emerging powers to act as a collective in the interest of reforming the global system of governance. Even as the forum raised concerns about the way in which the South African government arrives at decisions on the UN...

  9. (pp. 16-16)