Gaborone - The SADC Secretariat convened the first meeting of the Programme Steering Committee of the 11th European Development Fund (EDF) on "support to peace and security in the SADC Region", in Gaborone, Botswana, on 29 July 2019.
The meeting was attended by Director for Political Affairs, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Zambia, Isabelle Lemba, representing the Chair of the Organ on Politics, Defence and Security Cooperation, Director of the Organ on Politics, Defence and Security Affairs, Jorge Cardoso; the representative of the European Union Delegation to Botswana and SADC, Frederico Berna, the representative of the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ), Sophia Gallina, members of the SADC Troika and other SADC staff.
Lemba said the support to peace and security in the SADC Region (SPSS) is a joint programme of the European Union (EU) and the SADC Secretariat, under the 11th European Development Fund (EDF).
Lemba indicated that the aim of the programme was to strengthen SADC's peace and security infrastructure at national and regional levels, which include mechanisms dealing with dispute resolution, conflict prevention and management, detection, monitoring and prosecution of transnational organised crime and offences related to gender based violence.
She explained that the SPSS programme was designed to address inter-linked peace and security concerns, especially, the need to strengthen capacity to sustain democratic institutions and prevent, manage and resolve conflict; and the need to enhance institutional capacity to address human security challenges in particular trans-national organised crime.
Lemba informed the meeting that the EDF programmes remain a good example of cooperation between SADC and the EU. She said that effective implementation for programmes bore mutual benefits to both SADC and EU, because a peaceful and stable region was a pre-requisite for sustained economic growth and foreign investment.
Cardoso highlighted that the programme steering committee (PSC) was established to ensure adequate coordination and management of the programme's activities by the key stakeholders. Specifically, the PSC has the mandate to provide strategic guidance and advice to ensure attainment of the objectives formulated, monitoring and evaluation frameworks; to monitor implementation; and to develop synergies and complementarities with other actions.
Cardoso further noted that the programme steering committee is expected to contribute to policy dialogue in the thematic area of peace and security in the region.
Commenting during the meeting, representative of the European Union Delegation to Botswana and SADC, Frederico Berna said the EU was a concrete example of how peace and security were the basis for regional integration. Owing to that experience, it is expected that the results of the EU-SADC cooperation on peace and security are owned by SADC member states and the region as a whole. He added that even more importantly, SADC citizens could benefit from the sharing of tangible results and achievements from the programme.
The SPSS programme is funded to the tune of 15 million Euros over a four-year period. – www.sadc.int.