Joint Communique: South Africa – Ireland Second Joint Cooperation Commission, Pretoria, 22 February 2022
South Africa successfully hosted the second South Africa-Ireland Joint Commission for Cooperation (JCC) on 22 February 2022. The meeting was co-chaired by the Deputy Minister for International Relations and Cooperation of the Republic of South Africa, Mr. Alvin Botes, and the Minister of State for Overseas Development and the Diaspora of Ireland, Mr. Colm Brophy. Minister Brophy was accompanied by senior officials from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (FDFA).
The second meeting of the JCC follows the successful inaugural meeting held in Dublin in 2019. The JCC was established in 2017 through the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding at the sixth meeting of the South Africa Partnership Forum. Southern Ireland (SAIPF) in Pretoria, South Africa, and represents a deepening of the two countries’ commitment to strong bilateral cooperation.
During the meeting, the two ministers highlighted the close bonds of friendship between the peoples of South Africa and Ireland and the common interests and values shared by the two countries. Taking note of the current Covid-19 pandemic, the Co-Chairs expressed their deep concern over the ongoing health crisis, its impact on social and economic development and the tragic loss of life. They reiterated their commitment to strengthen collective efforts to address the challenges posed by the pandemic and agreed that “‘no one is safe until everyone is safe”.
The two sides discussed a series of bilateral and multilateral issues and exchanged views on major developments in Europe and Africa. Representatives of relevant government departments of the two countries reported significant progress in bilateral cooperation on political, economic and social development issues. Both sides also identified several areas where cooperation can be further strengthened and pledged to build on this work, including by prioritizing further high-level visits.
Both sides welcomed the extensive cooperation in the field of higher and higher education, which has developed rapidly in recent years. Through the implementation of a Memorandum of Understanding between the Higher Education Technology Association (THEA) and the South African Technology Network (SATN), learning exchanges and research relationships have been established , which will bring mutual benefits to the technological higher education systems of both countries. The Irish Embassy’s Kader Asmal Bursary Scheme, which has also received support from the Department of Higher Education and Training, continues to contribute to the development of the skills of future leaders in South Africa and further enhances the focus on women and students from historically disadvantaged communities.
The healthy bilateral trade and investment relationship has been recognized by both parties, who have also identified that there are great opportunities for further economic cooperation between Ireland and South Africa. Despite difficult global economic conditions, trade and investment have held steady.
On immigration, both parties expressed satisfaction with the significant success achieved in managing the communication channel established between the Home Office (DHA) and the Irish Naturalization and Immigration Services (INIS), which has improved the ease and accuracy of decision making at ports of entry. Both sides welcomed the continued visa-free regimes for travel between the two countries. Ongoing developments and cooperation in various other sectors, including tourism, arts and culture, and agriculture, were also discussed. The depth and breadth of relations between Ireland and South Africa were noted with satisfaction.
The Co-Chairs exchanged views on international and regional issues, including Mozambique, Aimbabwe, Palestine and the situation regarding Western Sahara. Furthermore, they discussed the collaboration between the European Union (EU) and the African Union (AU) and reaffirmed the need for greater cooperation.
Both parties reaffirmed their shared commitment to multilateralism, the international rule of law and the promotion and protection of human rights, and expressed their appreciation for the good cooperation between South Africa and Ireland. on the international scene. The two countries have worked together on a range of important issues, including nuclear disarmament, the women’s agenda, peace and security, and peace and security, and recently on the COVID-19 outbreak.
South Africa and Ireland have recognized the crucial importance of the CCM, which serves to broaden and deepen dialogue and cooperation between the two countries.
The parties reaffirmed the bonds of friendship and solidarity between the countries and look forward to the next meeting of the JCC, which will be hosted by Ireland.
Distributed by APO Group on behalf of the Republic of South Africa: Department of International Relations and Cooperation.
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