Posted by: africanpressorganization | 8 May 2012

JOINT COMMUNIQUÉ OF THE 7th SESSION OF THE GERMANY-SOUTH AFRICA BINATIONAL COMMISSION BERLIN 7./8. MAY 2012


 

JOINT COMMUNIQUÉ OF THE 7th SESSION OF THE GERMANY-SOUTH AFRICA BINATIONAL COMMISSION BERLIN 7./8. MAY 2012

 

BERLIN, May 8, 2012/African Press Organization (APO)/ — The Seventh Session of the Germany-South Africa Binational Commission (BNC), co-chaired by the Foreign Minister of the Federal Republic of Germany, Dr. Guido Westerwelle, and the Deputy President of the Republic of South Africa, Mr. Kgalema Motlanthe, took place in Berlin on 8th May, 2012.

This meeting further strengthened the excellent bilateral relations between Germany and

South Africa and reaffirmed the BNC as the principal framework in which this strategic

partnership is managed.

Premised on shared values, the BNC constructively engaged on critical issues of global

concern as equal partners. Against the background of the five national priorities of the South

African government; peace and security, post-conflict reconstruction and development of the

African Continent with a particular focus on infrastructure development and regional

integration initiatives which converge with the Africa Strategy of the Government of the

Federal Republic of Germany, the Committees of the BNC reviewed their work over the last

two years and agreed on concrete focal areas and projects for future cooperation.

Accordingly, the BNC received and endorsed the following reports from the Joint

Committees:

Foreign and Security Policy

Building on the agreement between the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Federal Republic of

Germany and the Minister of International Relations and Cooperation of the Republic of

South Africa to intensify cooperation at senior officials level, the Committee reviewed the

functioning of the BNC and the structure of its Committees, agreeing to pay specific attention

in the future to accommodate cross cutting issues such as Vocational Education and Training.

The Committee was briefed about the establishment of the South African Development

Partnership Agency (SADPA) which will be operationalised in the near future with the

objective of establishing coherent and effective development cooperation between South

Africa and its development partners. In this regard the Committee expressed its strong support

for expanded trilateral cooperation between South Africa and Germany on the African

continent within the framework of SADPA once it has been established.

The Committee further exchanged views on peace and security issues on the African

continent relating to Sudan and South Sudan, Somalia, Mali, the Democratic Republic of

Congo, Madagascar and Zimbabwe. Other topics discussed were the Middle East, Iran as well

as cooperation within the UN Security Council.

With regard to Sudan and South Sudan in particular, the Committee expressed its concern on

the recent developments and stated its full support for the AU/UN initiatives, including the

role of the AU High Level Panel in resolving their differences.

On Syria, the Committee expressed concern at the continued loss of life and supported a

negotiated political solution based on the Kofi Annan Six Point Plan.

With reference to Iran, the Committee took note of the constructive engagement between the

E3 +3 and the Iranian government in Istanbul and expressed its hope that the forthcoming

meeting in Baghdad would take the negotiation process forward.

Regarding the reform of the UN Security Council the Committee reaffirmed the need for

comprehensive reform and discussed options for bringing added impetus to the process.

Defence

The close defense relationship between the Republic of South Africa and the Federal Republic

of Germany over the last decades has been highlighted by successful training exchanges

benefiting their landward, air, naval and medical services. Over time, a solid military training

assistance and a bilateral annual cooperation programme have been established with

numerous visits and exchanges of members of both defence forces to South Africa and

Germany respectively.

Moreover, the German Navy and Air Force members deployed to South Africa have jointly

operated with their South African counterparts within the framework of the Exercise Series

GOOD HOPE. Since the inaugural exercise in 2000, the scope of this exercise has widened

and gained more operational depth. The fifth exercise within the series has successfully been

completed in March 2012 in South African territorial waters with a focus on contemporary

operational requirements, namely anti-piracy and asymmetric operations with the South

African Navy assuming the lead for the first time.

The dynamic military cooperation between the two countries, based on mutual and common

understanding, has established a high degree of procedural and operational interoperability.

Furthermore the military diplomatic cooperation between South Africa and Germany also

serves as a basis to strengthen SADC’s regional standby capabilities for peacekeeping

operations. The shift of the exercise focus GOOD HOPE V, the embarkation of SADC seariders

during the exercise and the preparedness of the German Armed Forces to possibly stage

a future exercise (in support of the SADC Maritime Strategy), are indicative thereof.

The 13th South African-German Defence Committee will convene in the first half of 2013 in

Pretoria.

Economy

At the 7th session of the Economic Committee, both sides acknowledged that there existed

signs of economic recovery in their respective countries following the deterioration in the

global economic situation during 2009. Both sides stressed the need to increase efforts

towards further sustainable growth.

With a volume of trade of €14.8bn in 2011, South Africa remains Germany’s most important

economic partner on the African continent. The South African side was encouraged by the

relatively significant share of value added items in its exports to Germany. These positive

developments need to be further strengthened in the interest of both countries.

South Africa welcomed the fact that German firms are operating successfully and with an

awareness of their responsibility in the country, and that they were also expanding their

activities into the rest of Africa.

The German side welcomed the report received from the South Africa side on the country’s

infrastructure development programme and acknowledged the potential commercial

opportunities this entailed. To this end, the sides undertook to work together in encouraging

joint commercial activities in the area of infrastructure development both in South Africa and

on the African continent.

South Africa noted that contribution by German companies in terms of the technology

transfer, technical expertise and direct investment would be vital towards the development of

its renewable energy, and in initiatives to enhance energy efficiency.

The sides noted the agreement currently under negotiation on a “Memorandum of

Understanding on Energy Cooperation between the Government of the Republic of South

Africa and the Government of the Federal Republic of Germany”.

Both sides agreed that the intensification of co-operation between the countries in the context

of the BNC can be fostered even further, and that full use must be made of all possibilities to

increase investment in the respective countries.

The German side welcomed ongoing developments in the Automotive Production

Development Programme (APDP), and expressed the hope that the manufacturers of

components for medium and heavy duty vehicles would be included in the programme.

The German side expressed its supports for South Africa’s policy of “Broad-Based Black

Economic Empowerment” (B-BBEE). The South African side declared its willingness to offer

individualised advice and support for German SMEs, particularly in areas such as enterprise

development support, procurement, and critical skills development in matters involving BBBEE

policy. Furthermore, the countries agreed to enhance entrepreneurial initiatives that are

targeted at increasing export opportunities for South African SMEs.

The South African side explained that German companies who need special expert support in

SA from abroad should contact the relevant authorities in the DTI.

Both sides highlighted the important contribution that tourism makes to the economic

performance of countries. In this regard the positive role of tourist from Germany was duly

acknowledged.

The German side indicated their interest in increasing their participation in the South Africa’s

mineral beneficiation initiatives in the area of mineral resources. The South African side

underlined the continuing need for initial and further vocational training, not least in order to

intensify the bilateral economic relations and thus to become more attractive for foreign

investment thanks to the availability of skilled labour. The South African side noted with

satisfaction the willingness from the German side to cooperate in this area.

Development Cooperation

Negotiations on development cooperation between the Government of the Republic of South

Africa and the Government of the Federal Republic of Germany were held in Berlin on 7th

and 8th May 2012. The agreed minutes of the negotiations were signed by the South African

Minister of Finance and the German Federal Minister for Economic Cooperation and

Development.

The total volume of bilateral Technical and Financial Cooperation since cooperation began in

1992 amounts to €758.3 million. The Government of the Federal Republic of Germany

undertakes to provide the Government of the Republic of South Africa with a new amount of

up to €286.9 million for bilateral Technical and Financial Cooperation for 2012 and 2013.

This comprises €251.4 million for Financial Cooperation programmes and €35.5 million for

Technical Cooperation programmes.

Both sides underlined the successful and meaningful development cooperation since 1994,

which is fully aligned with South African policies and priorities. Both sides noted the special

nature of development cooperation due to South Africa’s status as an emerging economy

(Global Development Partner) and its important role for the stability of the entire region. This

entails, next to an intensive political dialogue on concepts and strategies, among others the

predominance of loans for investment measures, an innovative/pilot character for technical

cooperation programmes and financial cooperation grant funding on social infrastructure as

well as a catalytic role of German development funds for leveraging South African funds.

Both sides confirmed the continuation of the three focal areas of cooperation “Energy and

Climate”, “Governance and Administration” (including Violence Prevention) and “HIV

Prevention”. Both sides reaffirmed the common overarching goals for these focal areas:

Energy and Climate as stated in the “Joint Declaration of Intent on Energy and Climate”,

agreed on in November 2010: To make an effective and visible contribution towards

achieving South Africa’s ambitious targets in the fields of energy efficiency, renewable energy

and thus climate protection. The German contribution aims to help improve energy security in

South Africa and to stimulate climate-friendly economic growth.

Governance and Administration: To contribute to an effective, efficient and citizen-oriented

system of public service delivery, which is the basis of safe, sustainable and stable

development in South Africa and the region, based on strategic priorities and the outcomes 3,

9, and 12 that were adopted by the South African Cabinet in 2010.

HIV Prevention: To contribute to the reduction of new HIV infections and therefore to the

social stability of South Africa and the region. The objective at programme level is to increase

uptake by the most vulnerable population groups of adequate HIV&AIDS-related services

and support structures in all sectors of HIV prevention.

On skills development, both sides confirmed the joint decisions taken in 2008 and 2010 to

focus efforts in this field on the specific area of “green skills/jobs” within the focal areas of

“Energy and Climate”.

Both sides also agreed to continue the programme on “trilateral cooperation”.

Environment

South Africa and Germany have been cooperating on environmental issues for many years,

inter alia through projects supported by the International Climate Initiative of the German

Federal Ministry for the Environment and through their strategic environmental dialogue. The

Committee intends to strengthen and enhance environmental cooperation in the following

areas:

· Green growth and green jobs;

· Design and implementation of national actions for the transition to a green and low

carbon economy, including through the International Partnership on Mitigation and

MRV (Measurable Reportable Verifiable);

· Renewable energy and energy efficiency;

· Climate change mitigation and adaptation policies and demonstration programmes.

The German Federal Ministry for the Environment intends to continue its support for projects

in South Africa in particular concerning the above mentioned areas, inter alia through its

International Climate Initiative.

South Africa hosted the 17th Conference of States Parties (COP 17) and the 7th Session of the

Conference of Parties serving as Meeting of the Parties (CMP7) under the UN Framework

Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in Durban. This was preceded by the second

Petersberg Climate Change Dialogue Ministerial in Berlin in July 2011 co-chaired by

Germany and South Africa. The Dialogue contributed to the identification of a balanced

outcome of the COP 17/CMP 7 meeting.

Germany will continue to work with South Africa in the build-up to the next climate change

COP, taking place in Doha (Qatar) in November/December 2012. Both parties stressed that

they would work towards a balanced outcome of the Doha Conference including the adoption

of the amendment of Annex B of the Kyoto Protocol, conclusion of the work of the AWGLCA

on the Bali Action Plan and adoption of a work programme under the new Ad-hoc

Working Group on the Durban Platform for Enhanced Action tasked with the negotiation of

the new legal instrument for the period from 2020 and beyond as well as the work programme

on raising the level of ambition in the period between now and 2020.

The Committee underlined that the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development

(Rio+20), to be held in June 2012, provides a significant opportunity for the international

community to address emerging and long-standing sustainable development challenges and

move the sustainable development agenda forward.

The Committee further emphasised the need for Rio+20 to achieve concrete, ambitious results

based on the UNECA preparatory meeting in Addis Ababa in October 2011 and the European

Council Conclusions of March 2012. In particular, the Committee agreed that the Conference

should lay the groundwork for collaboration among countries leading to the adoption of

national green economy policies that are inclusive of low-carbon and climate resilient

initiatives.

The Committee agreed to deepen bilateral cooperation in the field of climate policy, in

particular through the Climate Support Program (a project aimed at elaborating and

implementing the South African National Climate Change Response Policy).

JOINT COMMUNIQUÉ OF THE 7TH SESSION OF THE GERMANY-SOUTH AFRICA BINATIONAL COMMISSION

Science and Technology

Since the signing of the bilateral agreement in 1996, there has been a deepening and

strengthening of the partnership in the field of science and technology. The mutual

commitment to address global challenges such as climate change and environmental issues

has always been of major significance in the joint cooperation of both countries.

The Committee reviewed progress and discussed the future advancement of science,

technology and innovation cooperation between the two countries. This Cooperation has

culminated in the successful launch of the German-South African Year of Science in

2012/2013 on 16th April 2012 in South Africa.

The broad objectives of the Year of Science are to highlight the excellence and diversity of the

joint initiatives, projects in science, technology and innovation under the overall theme of

“enhancing science partnerships for innovation and sustainable development”. In addition, the

year of science is aimed at strengthening the partnership and to build a new level of strategic

cooperation between the two countries. The thematic focus areas include astronomy,

bioeconomy, social sciences and humanities, human capital development, health innovation,

climate change, urbanisation and megacities. A joint call for initiatives was released at the

beginning of this year and 41 applications were approved for funding. Both sides were

impressed by the high number and quality of applications received from the German and

South African researchers and institutions.

The Committee elaborated on the future strategic direction of the cooperation. In this regard,

both sides agreed to set aside funding for mutually identified cooperation projects. The

discussions further addressed the large research projects such as CLIENT (International

Partnerships for Sustainable Technologies and Service for Climate Protection and the

Environment), SPACES (Science Partnerships for the Assessment of Complex Earth System

Processes) and SASSCAL (Southern African Science Service Centre for Climate Change and

Adaptive Land Use). The Committee noted the signing of the Joint Declaration on SASSCAL

in Namibia by political principals of the respective partner countries, namely Angola,

Botswana, Germany, Namibia, South Africa and Zambia, as a positive step in strengthening

regional cooperation. SASSCAL is a joint initiative that seeks to respond to the challenges of

global climate change.

In the area of human capital development, both sides took note of the ongoing German

Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) and National Research Foundation (NRF) scholarship

program aimed at educational cooperation in areas such as staff development, higher

education, institution building and promotion of university cooperation that seeks to develop

the skills base of researchers and students.

Both sides are pleased with the strong relations under this collaboration and committed to

further advance the science, technology and innovation cooperation between the two

countries.

Culture

Following the Agreement concerning Cultural Cooperation between the Government of the

Federal Republic of Germany and the Government of the Republic of South Africa signed on

10th March 1998, intensive cooperation in culture, education and sports has developed over

the past years.

Future areas of collaboration with a particularly high potential for joint projects could be the

field of heritage preservation, the digitisation and exchange of archive information as well as

capacity building initiatives in that field. The German side will inform the South African side

in more detail about the existence of the Federal Foreign Office’s Heritage Preservation

programme, which supports such projects abroad.

South Africa envisages cooperation with Germany on the subject of blank tape levies, where

the German system could serve as a model for potential South African legislation.

The German side is grateful for the good cooperation between South African bodies and the

Goethe-Institute, the official German cultural institute. The Goethe-Institute is involved with,

inter alia, cultural education projects and the promotion of South Africa’s local cultural scene.

Its focal subjects for the period 2012-2013 are Culture & Climate, Culture & Conflict, as well

as Culture & Public Space.

Labour and Social Affairs

The last two years saw the exchange on high level visits from both sides. In the framework of

the Joint Memorandum of Understanding signed between the two countries there has been an

intense exchange of ideas and best practises. In this regard a workshop was organized in

South Africa in April 2011, supported by the German Federal Public Employment Agency

(BA). The workshop developed a draft employment services implementation plan. Of

particular interest was the integration of systems for labour market policies, labour market

institutions (Unemployment Insurance and Compensation Fund), as well as social dialogue

entities.

The South African Department of Labour has integrated the results of this workshop into its

five-year strategic plan.

During this year’s session the Committee agreed on the following:

1. finalization of an overall Capacity Reinforcement Project Plan;

2. priorities for immediate implementation, based on available budget allocation on both

sides. These include:

2.1. conducting a workshop on registration of Private Employment Agencies/Temporary

Employment Agencies and their relations with Public Employment Services;

2.2. facilitating further exchanges in the alignment between the payment of

unemployment insurance and counselling/placement in employment;

2.3. arranging further exchanges in institutional structures of social dialogue,

occupational health, safety enforcement and social security;

3. cooperation in addressing youth unemployment (in accordance with multilateral

activities in the context of G20 and ILO).

New area of cooperation

Noting South Africa’s commitment to skills provision and increased access to vocational

education and training and Germany’s tested experience on dual system, the Federal Ministry

of Education and Research and the Federal Institute on Vocational Education and Training and the South African Department of Higher Education and Training have agreed to establish a Joint Committee on Vocational Education and Training.

The new Committee will meet as soon as possible to develop the programme of action.

Other

The South African delegation invited their German counterparts to South Africa for the next

meeting of the Germany-South Africa Binational Commission.

 

SOURCE 

Germany – Ministry of Foreign Affairs


 


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