Proposed SADC regional parliament a great initiative

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Sinikiwe Marodza

Harare – The proposed transformation of the SADC Parliamentary Forum into a regional parliament is a great initiative that will not only act as an integral institution to drive forward the regional integration agenda, but will also create a platform for regional leaders to enact robust legislation to combat climate change in the wake of recurring natural disasters such as Cyclone Idai that hit the SADC region in March, the Pan African Parliament vice president, Chief Fortune Charumbira, has said.

 

 Speaking during the official opening ceremony of the 45th Plenary Assembly of the SADC Parliamentary Forum in Maputo last week, the PAP vice president said the proposed SADC Regional Parliament would bring Southern Africa into the league of other regional blocs such as the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), which have such institutions.

 This year’s edition of the Plenary Assembly of the SADC Parliamentary Forum ran under the theme, “Climate Change, Mitigation and Adaptation: The Role of Parliaments Towards Implementing the Paris Declaration and the Katowice Roadmap”, and the PAP vice president indicated that there was a serious need for the SADC region to enact legislation that would help in combating the negative impacts of climate change.

 

 “It would be remiss if I were to take my seat without tackling the issue of the transformation of the SADC Parliamentary Forum into a regional parliament,

“The Bureau of the PAP is well aware of the efforts of the SADC PF towards transformation. The exuberance exuded by your able leadership in the Executive Committee and the lively debates on the transformation agenda have not gone unnoticed, ’’ he said.

Chief Charumbira added that PAP was in full support of the SADC regional parliament initiative.

 “Recent benchmarking visits, including one to the PAP, have keenly been followed by the PAP and be assured that the PAP is in support of a SADC Regional Parliament,” he said. “If the EAC and ECOWAS have parliaments, why not SADC?

“The Bureau of the PAP is privileged to interact with Heads of State and Government at various forums. I assure you that we will push your agenda until we realise the dream of a SADC Parliament. It will not, and never die a pipedream. Be assured. A transformed SADC PF will work better towards addressing climate change through legislation for the region.’’

Transformation of the SADC Parliamentary Forum into a regional parliament has been on the table since 2004 and plans where not clearly defined until regional leaders expressed high level of support to the idea during the 38th SADC summit in Windhoek, Namibia, in August last year.

The SADC Parliament initiative is, however, expected to be one of the issues for discussion at the coming 39th SADC Summit scheduled for Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, this month.

If comes to life, the SADC Parliament will, among other things, provide a representative institution for the SADC citizenry, thereby serving as a valid interlocutor for the needs and desires of the general public.

 

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