UNSC Meeting: On Friday, 02 February 2012, the Institute for Global Dialogue (IGD), along with the Department of International Relations and Cooperation (DIRCO), hosted a roundtable on South Africa’s second tenure in the United Nations Security Council (UNSC). The roundtable, which was chaired by Mr Francis Kornegay of the IGD, was a sequel to a similar meeting convened in August 2011 as part of a project funded by 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 in the UNSC. Panelists included Mr Aubrey Matshiqi from the Helen Suzman, Prof. Anthoni Van Nieuwkerk of the University of the Witwatersrand and Ms Ncumisa Notutela from DIRCO. The February 2012 roundtable, which was attended by government officials, members of the diplomatic corps and civil society, aimed to discuss South Africa’s unfolding membership of the UNSC, with specific reference to how this is being used to promote the African Agenda.

Both the presentations and discussion at the roundtable revealed the complexities and controversies that have come to define South Africa’s membership of the UNSC in general and the promotion of the African Agenda in particular. There seemed to be little divergence among participants on the values, principles and interests that should drive South Africa’s foreign policy decisions within and outside the UNSC. There was also near consensus on the observation that national interest-driven dynamics in both the chambers of the UNSC and the corridors of the African Union (AU) continue to undermine South Africa’s efforts to promote the African Agenda. However, there was plenty of debate over, among other things, the soundness of Pretoria’s diplomacy in Africa, South Africa’s capacity to assume a leadership role on the continent, and the nature of the foreign policy discourse in South Africa. In essence, the roundtable underscored the evolving nature of South Africa’s foreign policy and the need for constant and nuanced dialogue on its future, not only among South Africans but also between South Africa and other stakeholders in Africa and the world at large. A full proceedings report of the roundtable will be made available on the IGD’s website in due course.

Cop 17 Gallery

Investigating Africa and the South’s Interest on Climate Change: Africa and the Global South at large, have vested interests as far as climate change and the negotiations surrounding it, are concerned. Understanding these interests is key to gauging the dynamics that would come to shape COP17 in Durban. Investigating Africa and the South’s Interest on Climate Change was a full-day dialogue tasked with unpacking these interests ahead of the 2011 climate talks. The dialogue formed part of the IGD’s environmental diplomacy programme, which is generously funded by the Royal Norwegian Embassy. It was jointly hosted by the IGD, the Department of International Relations and Cooperation (DIRCO) and Ingabadi Group on the 25th of November 2011 at the Southern Sun North Beach in Durban. The dialogue, which was attended by members of the diplomatic corps, representatives from civil society and the academia, aimed to shed light on the diversity of interests represented by Africa and the Global South in the negotiations. It assessed the complexity of factors likely to be at play during the negotiations as a result of the plethora of interests involved. Perspectives from Africa as well as nations in the Global South such as Brazil, South Africa, India and China (BASIC), were brought to the fore during the dialogue.

A wealth of speakers contributed to the dialogue by giving presentations. Among them were; Mr Xinran Qi, Georgetown University, USA, Dr Marco Vieira, Lecturer in International Relations, University of Birmingham, UK, Ms Swati Ganeshan,  Associate Fellow at the Centre for Global Agreements, Legislation and Trade in Resources, Regulation and Global Security Division of The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI), India, Mr Francis Kornegay, Institute for Global Dialogue, Ms Masego Madzwamuse, Open Society Institute for Southern Africa, Ms Estherine Fotabong, NEPAD Agency of the African Union, Ms Nancy Kachingwe , Land Access Movement of South Africa (LAMOSA)  and Professor Mike Muller, University of the Witwatersrand.

Foreign Policy Symposium Gallery

South Africa’s International Relations: A 15 year Appraisal:  The University of South Africa (UNISA) and the Institute for Global Dialogue (IGD) hosted a Symposium on May, 09 2011 at Manhattan Hotel. The Symposium provided the opportunity to take stock of South Africa’s foreign policy and international relations in the region and beyond for the purpose of anticipating its future role, as well as consider the opportunities and challenges in responding appropriately to future needs and demands. South Africa’s foreign policy and international relations have evolved with changes in the global order and the African strategic environment. Indeed, its role and conduct, along with priorities, interests and values have changed (and continue to change) since the country’s democratic transition.  A proper prognosis of the future of SA’s international relations and foreign policy must begin with a diagnostic analysis of key features of the country’s foreign policy and international role in the past decade.

SADPA Conference Gallery

International development cooperation: Options for the creation of SADPA was a half-day roundtable hosted by the IGD which formed part of the Institute’s development policy research within the ongoing Foreign Policy Analysis programme. The roundtable was generously sponsored by Friedrich Ebert Stiftung (FES). Dr Sven Grimm of the Centre for Chinese Studies at the University of Stellenbosch discussed the emerging donor dynamic in development aid, specifically noting how south-south cooperation was impacting the field. Ms Elizabeth Sidiropoulos of the South African Institute for International Affairs noted and addressed the key trends in international development cooperation, while Ms Lyndsey Duff of the Institute for Global Dialogue looked specifically at options for the creation of the South African Development Partnership Agency.

Post-Durban Reflections workshop

November/December 2011 saw Durban play host to the high-level UNFCCC climate change negotiations. Following two weeks of intensive discussion, aimed at building on the Cancun outcomes, the early hours of Sunday morning saw an agreement reached - the Durban Platform. As delegates from around the world packed their bags, speculation continued on what this actually meant for the future of the climate change regime. On the one hand there were positive comments on the continuation of the multilateral process, and on the other, that not enough had been done to highlight the urgency of the global situation. Following COP17, The Institute for Global Dialogue saw a need to host a workshop that will reflect on the outcomes and implications of what was agreed at Durban and how it is perceived by key stakeholders within the South Africa context.


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