South Africa on Thursday announced that it would use its United Nations security council seat to benefit Africa, especially in the areas of peace and security as well as in emphasizing the role and importance of women in conflict resolutions.

The UN security council is composed of 15 Members: five permanent members: China, France, Russian Federation, the United Kingdom, and the United States, and ten non-permanent members elected for two-year terms by the General Assembly.

On Thursday,Germany, Indonesia, South Africa, the Dominican Republic and Belgium who were elected by the General Assembly in June last year filled the seats vacated by Bolivia, Ethiopia, Kazakhstan, and Sweden, having served two-year terms each on the 15-member Security Council, as well as the seat occupied by the Netherlands last year.

In an unusual arrangement, the Dutch had shared the seat with Italy, which occupied it in 2017.

The other five non-permanent members who will remain on the Council are Côte d’Ivoire, Equatorial Guinea, Kuwait, Peru and Poland.

It is the third time, since democracy returned to South Africa with the election of legendary politician Nelson Mandela in 1994, that the African country would be a non-permanent member of the UN security council. The duration would be for one year between 2019 and 2020.

While the World Bank and the IMF often focus on the economy, jobs and employment, the UN is often focusing on security and democracy.

That’s why South Africa’s term will be an opportunity for the country to work towards the African Union’s goal of “Silencing the Guns” on the Continent by 2020.

The Minister of International Relations and Cooperation, Lindiwe Sisulu, explained how South Africa would use its seat to benefit Africa.

“South Africa will utilize 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,” he said, adding that South Africa would also encourage closer cooperation between the UN Security Council and other regional and sub-regional organizations particularly the African Union.

“We would further wish to emphasize the role of women in the resolution of conflict. This, 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.

“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,” Minister Sisulu added.

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