Article in Journal
Steyn P (2017) Apartheid South Africa’s Participation in United Nations-Organized International Environmental Initiatives in the 1970s: A Reassessment (Forthcoming/Available Online), Journal of Contemporary History.
This article focuses on apartheid South Africa’s participation in United Nations-organised international environmental initiatives in the 1970s in order to reassess contemporary and historiographical views that the country was an extremely reluctant participant in UN-led environmental initiatives in the 1970s because it threatened the country’s policy of uncontrolled economic growth and promoted the environment as a political issue, and because the country was not allowed to participate in many of these UN initiatives owing to its isolation within this world body. Utilising archival evidence this article clearly demonstrates that the processes whereby the country decided whether or not to participate in specific UN-organised international environmental initiatives in the 1970s were very complex and conflicting, and in general did not result from a lack of governmental commitment to address the country’s multiple environmental challenges. The main argument of this article is that South Africa’s limited participation in UN-organised international environmental initiatives in the 1970s resulted from two reasons, namely the mutual distrust between the country and the UN which reached new lows as the 1970s progressed, and the prevailing South African foreign policy strategy of deliberately keeping a low profile in order to avoid confrontation on the international stage
South Africa; United Nations; UNEP; UNCHE; apartheid; 1970s
|Publication date online||12/01/2017|
|Date accepted by journal||13/12/2016|
Journal of Contemporary History