Brand South Africa has welcomes the United Nations (UN) recognition and praise of South Africa’s role in peacekeeping missions on the African continent.
Speaking at the 2019 commemoration of the International Day of UN Peacekeepers held in Bloemfontein, the newly appointed UN Resident Coordinator of the United Nations in South Africa Nardos Bekele-Thomas said that the country’s brave men and women should be celebrated for they put their lives at risk daily in their efforts to bring peace and security in the countries from which they operate. “Many other South African men and women have paid the ultimate price in the service for global peace,” added Bekele-Thomas.
Since the advent of democracy in 1994, domestic and international expectations have steadily grown regarding South Africa’s role as a responsible and respected member of the internationally community, Brand South Africa said in a statement on Friday.
“South Africa has come a long way since the days when the sight of its armed forces used to instil fear among the peoples of neighbouring states. Since 1994, South Africa has transformed the South African National Defence Force (SANDF) into a symbol of hope and a defender of defenceless people. South Africa’s armed forces are celebrated today for their critical role in stabilising, reconstruction and development of infrastructure and the training of troops in war-torn countries,” said Brand South Africa Acting CEO Thulisile Manzini.
With a total of more than 1,190 troops stationed in UN Peacekeeping missions in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Sudan and South Sudan, South Africa is considered as the 11th biggest troop contributor to UN Peacekeeping in Africa and the 17th biggest in the world.
Testament to South Africa’s efforts is also recognised in the 2018 Good Country Index, which sees the country ranking 3rd out of 163 countries for its contribution to international peace and security. The Good Country Index measures how much each of the 163 countries on the list contribute to the planet, and to the human race, through their policies and behaviours. The Index is a composite statistic of 35 data points mostly generated by the United Nations. These data points are combined into a common measure which gives an overall ranking, and a ranking in seven categories: Science and Technology, Culture, International Peace and Security, World Order, Planet and Climate, Prosperity and Equality, as well as Health and Well-being.
“Brand South Africa would also like to express sincere congratulations to Ms Bekele-Thomas on her new appointment as a direct representative of the UN Secretariat. Ms Bekele-Thomas’ role includes, but not limited to, ensuring the coordination of all UN operational activities for its development programme in the country and to facilitate the alignment and coherence of UN operational activities for development in line with national priorities,” Brand South Africa said.