The international environment in 2017 is likely to continue to be characterised by change and uncertainty, as evidenced by contemporary political and economic events. These will undoubtedly impact South Africa’s foreign policy.
This topic is borne out of, and seeks to be a continuation of the discussion generated in the Southern African Liaison Office (SALO) successful 2015 workshop on SA-Zimbabwe relations, in partnership with the Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung.
China was mentioned by panelists and participants alike several times, in the context of analysing SA-Zimbabwe relations. It is clear that one cannot gain a comprehensive analysis of these regional relations, without including an analysis of both Zimbabwe’s, and South Africa’s, strong bilateral relationships with China, including the three-way dynamics and the regional and international dimensions.
Civil society played an active role in the formulation of the Sustainable Development Goals. It is now important to consider the role of CSOs going forward, in ensuring effective implementation. This workshop aims to explore how civil society can leverage on the complementarity between the Open Government Partnership (OGP), the AU’s Agenda 2063 and the UN’s 2030 Agenda. As SDGs implementation is taking place at national level, and in-country conversations on the role of CSOs are at different levels from country to country, the dialogue will include regional voices to draw lessons and strengthen implementation in South Africa.
The phrase “punching above its weight”, has been invoked by some to denote South Africa’s role in international affairs. Whether one agrees with this assertion or not, it is hard to dispute the fact that South Africa, since 1994, has taken on a huge international responsibility, be it in peace and security or multilateral fora.
Understanding South Africa’s foreign policy priorities and strategic direction is thus an important subject for those with an interest in international political and economic affairs and foreign policy issues in particular.
The Southern African Liaison Office (SALO) is a South African-based not-for-profit civil society organisation which, through advocacy, dialogue, policy consensus and in-depth research and analysis, influences the current thinking and debates on foreign policy especially regarding African crises and conflicts. More details on this event to follow soon.
This workshop takes place in the context of National Disability Rights Awareness Month in South Africa, and following the adoption of the new Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) which seek to be more inclusive than the former Millennium Developkent Goals (MDGs), “leaving no one behind”.
The dialogue will explore the possible impact of the new SDGs on people with disabilities in Africa, especially migrants, with regards to advocating for greater access to health, education, and economic empowerment.
Within the context of the new SDGs’ vision to ‘leave no one behind’, the dialogue will explore the myriad challenges facing LGBTI migrants who have left their home countries seeking asylum in Sout Africa. It will provide a space for dialogue between LGBTI migrants from across the continent, South African government representatives and members of civil society, within a rights framework.
Multilateral interventions for sustainable peace and security are faced with enormous challenges. The deterioration of the political situations in Burundi and Lesotho in mid-2015 raised questions around the capacity and effectiveness of AU and SADC respectively, as does the continued uncertainty and slow pace of reforms in Zimbabwe and Madagascar.
SALO’s Building International, Regional and National Consensus policy dialogue sessions bring together national, regional and international stakeholders, including civil society, policymakers and diplomats, to encourage greater North/ South policy dialogue and to discuss ways they can engage moving forward on issues of importance in Southern Africa in particular.
The relations between South Africa and Zimbabwe are a key priority and concern for both nations. This is evidenced by the shared borders, close state relations, the significant Zimbabwean Diaspora within South Africa, and the crucial economic ties that buttress the weakened Zimbabwean economy. The Southern African Liaison Office (SALO) actively contributes to effective interventions focused on promoting peace and human security in Zimbabwe, including constructively influencing the South African government policy approach to Zimbabwe.
This dialogue aims to discuss the role of multilateral institutions such as UN, AU and SADC, as well as Africa’s leading economies such as South Africa and Nigeria, in strengthening peace and security interventions. The unravelling political situation in Lesotho has raised questions about the efficacy of multilateral interventions to resolve domestic conflicts. Zimbabwe and Madagascar, like Lesotho, have come out of SADC-brokered mediation and certain cross-cutting challenges and limitations have been observed thus raising fears about the sustainability of the political settlements upon which current political dispensations in those countries are based.