REMARKS BY THE CONVENOR: JOINED EFFORTS - Sasha Müller
September was another busy month and as December approaches, the pace of things intensify exponentially.This past month saw the celebration of Heritage Day – a day on which South Africans strive to celebrate their diverse cultures and traditions and giving a sense of belonging to each other. There is a deeply humbling sense in caring for each other, described perhaps best by the poet and scholar, John Donne in his devotional poem – No man is an island – He writes ….every man is a piece of the continent……….. any man's death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind”.
During the month of September, the PBF held two highly successful webinars, one on the importance of the role of Women in Economic Recovery and the second on Resilience and Recycling. Both of these webinars stressed the importance working together on issues that have a fundamental impact on our daily lives – the powerful role of women in our society and our economy and the importance of the preservation of our environment.
Continuing in the same vein of belonging, and working together, the meeting of the United Nations which met for its 75th session from 15-30 September, bears remembering. The UN marked its 75th anniversary at a special event on 21 September, themed – “'The Future We Want, the UN We Need: Reaffirming our Collective Commitment to Multilateralism'. A declaration in fact of the vital role of harnessing global efforts and actions for our countries and of the globe.
President Ramaphosa made several important speeches to the UN General Assembly, including an address; to the United Nations General Assembly High-Level meeting on the 25th anniversary of the Fourth World Conference on Women; and to the Summit on Biodiversity.
His remarks on these occasions bear witness to the challenges and opportunities we face in South Africa and equally, point to these issues as being global matters which require everyone’s attention and action. It is fitting therefore to be reminded of the importance of our collective efforts.
In his remarks to the United Nations General Assembly High-Level meeting on the 25th anniversary of the Fourth World Conference on Women the President said - : “The material conditions of the world’s women have vastly improved, as has access to education for women, their role in public life, their representation in the political sphere and participation in the economy. Despite this progress, billions of women and girls around the world still face discrimination, vulnerability and marginalisation in the workplace, at home and in broader society.
Gender-based violence continues unabated and is an indictment on our societies.” He added – “Equal representation of women in all structures is not a favour to women; it is a fundamental matter of justice and redress. Through the UN’s Generation Equality campaign we are once again putting the empowerment of women firmly on the global agenda. The world’s women and girls deserve action, not just promises”
In his remarks on the occasion of a virtual UNGA75 Summit on Biodiversity, the President said IA:
“The coronavirus pandemic has had badly affected the ability of national economies to respond to challenges like environmental degradation and climate change.
South Africa is the third most mega biodiverse country in the world, with unique species and ecosystems found nowhere else on earth. As a signatory to the Convention on Biological Diversity, we are working to conserve our biodiversity, promote its sustainable use and ensure the benefits of the commercial use of genetic resources are fairly distributed.
We have a Biodiversity Economy strategy that integrates the sustainable management of biodiversity with job and business creation opportunities. As we emerge from the coronavirus pandemic, not only must we raise the ambition of our biodiversity targets, we must also ensure that the recovery effort fosters greater and not less harmony with nature. Through improved awareness, collaboration and collective determination, we can ensure that we build back both better and greener”
We look forward to the month of October as being equally busy and productive and invite you to be involved in the programme of action of the PBF and the PCF, confident that participation is the key to progress.