The SADC Executive Secretary, Dr. Stergomena Lawrence Tax met the Head of Regional Delegation of ICRC for Southern Africa, Mr. Vincent Cassard at the SADC Secretariat Headquarters in Gaborone, Botswana on 12th February 2018.
This follows the signature of a Memorandum of Agreement (MoU) between the SADC Secretariat and the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) in May 2015. The MoU aims to strengthen relations and improve coordination of activities between the two organizations. It was noted that since the signature of the framework of their agreement in 2015, several inroads had been made, including in maintenance of peace security, humanitarian assistance and international humanitarian law.
Mr. Vincent Cassard thanked Dr. Tax for according ICRC the opportunity to meet with her. He conveyed his gratitude for the support ICRC receives from the Secretariat and reiterated ICRC’s commitment to support SADC in its endeavour to foster peace, security and political stability, as well as in enhancing regional cooperation and integration based on solidarity, equity and mutual benefit. He highlighted that ICRC was keenly following the migration trends in the region and were working with those affected to ensure improvement of their conditions. He also shared ICRC’s contribution to the global discussion on migration or people on the move, and shared insights on adoption of a Global Compact on Migration and a global Compact on Refugees.
Dr. Tax thanked Mr. Cassard for the cooperation and keen interest in working with the region. She underscored the commendable work being undertaken by ICRC in supporting SADC Member States on issues relating to humanitarian assistance and promotion of peace and security through bilateral cooperation. Dr. Tax highlighted that migration in SADC is directly linked to people seeking economic opportunities, as such the region has agreed to address migration through poverty reduction initiatives. It is against this background that the region has prioritized industrialization, to create economic opportunities and jobs for the people of the region. She called upon ICRC to advocate these SADC priorities to its partners.
The two parties agreed to continue to explore areas to work together and hold regular dialogues to continue to strengthen their cooperation for the benefit of the two organizations and the people for the SADC region.