In 1996, SADC created the Organ on Politics, Defence and Security – an institutional framework for coordinating policies and activities on politics, defence, and security. However, the Organ operated without a legal framework and clear objectives until SADC passed the Protocol on Politics, Defence and Security Co-operation on 14th August 2001.
This Protocol establishes the objectives of the Organ on Politics, Defence and Security – namely, promoting peace and security across Southern Africa, protecting the region’s people from instability due to the breakdown of law and order, developing a common foreign policy throughout the region, and cooperating on matters related to security and defence. The Protocol also specifies the operating structure of the Organ – the chairperson, Troika, and various committees – and these structures’ responsibilities, systems of appointment, and procedures for operation. As well, it provides guidelines for the Organ’s jurisdiction, methods and procedures, and relationship with international agreements and extra-SADC nations.
The Protocol was amended on 8th September 2009 to incorporate a structure accommodating regional policing cooperation activities – the Southern African Regional Police Chiefs Co-operation Organisation.