Windhoek - The Southern African Development Community (SADC) and the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) have called on the region to act swiftly in order to guarantee food security.
About 10 million people living in SADC are food insecure as the region’s unpredictable weather patterns continue to affect farming.
SADC Executive Secretary, Dr Stergomena Tax, underlined that natural disasters such as floods and droughts threaten the ability of the SADC region to end food insecurity and malnutrition in line with the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals.
Dr Tax was speaking during a meeting with the regional director of the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) for Southern Africa, Lola Castro, at the SADC headquarters last week.
The two parties discussed the need for a regional, multi-stakeholder action to improve food and nutrition security and build resilience in the SADC region. They also committed to the implementation of the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed in 2019 between SADC and WFP, which seeks to promote and strengthen bi-lateral cooperation for improved food and nutrition security in the region.
They further agreed to set up a joint technical team to develop an action plan to operationalise the MoU, and to develop an immediate multi-sectoral regional anticipatory action plan for preparedness and effective response to climate related disasters.
“The recent cyclones in the region led to the destruction of infrastructure and disruption of communication and transport systems, thereby affecting production and timely movement of supplies to the affected communities,” said Dr Tax.
She expressed appreciation to the WFP for the continued technical support and cooperation with SADC in various areas, including food and nutrition security, food fortification, vulnerability assessments and analysis, disaster risk reduction, climate change adaptation and resilience.
Castro expressed gratitude to the SADC Executive Secretary for her leadership in overseeing the technical cooperation between SADC and WFP, which is built on mutual interest to enhance food security, build resilience and reduce malnutrition in the SADC region.
“There is a need for SADC to ensure efficient regional cross border road transport and transit networks, transport and logistics services, systems and procedures that would facilitate movement of food and other relief supplies to reach those in need in a timely manner,” she said.