November 29, 2023

SADC and EU reaffirm their commitment towards safeguarding peace and security in the SADC Region

The Support to Peace and Security Programme in the SADC Region (SPSS) held its 5th  Programme Steering Committee (PSC) meeting on the 24th of November 2023, in Johannesburg, South Africa to monitor and evaluate progress on set targets of strengthening the Southern African Development Community (SADC) peace and security architecture in the areas of conflict prevention and resolution, and public and human security, in line with the Regional Indicative Strategic Development Plan (RISDP) 2020-2030.

The SPSS Programme is funded by the European Union (EU) with the aim to enhance the Region’s Infrastructure for Peace (I4Ps), through building capacity of SADC Member States in strengthening and implementing policies, strategic plans and instruments, human capacity, strategic partnerships and physical infrastructure which are relevant to the sustenance of peace and security. 

The PSC which is a governance structure of the SPSS Programme with the mandate to provide strategic guidance towards the attainment of Programme objectives noted that the Programme registered significant progress towards strengthening peace architecture and this motivated the EU to reaffirm their commitments to support peace and security initiatives as part of SADC-EU Cooperation.

Zambia High Commissioner to South Africa, Ms. Mazuba Monze, in her capacity as the Chairperson of the 5th PSC, cited several achievements of the SPSS Programme in strengthening capacity for electoral assistance in SADC; enhancing capacity in conflict prevention, management and resolution; building capacity of SADC Member States to uphold and enhance cross-border safety and security; and strengthening capacity of SADC Member States to address the prevalence of sexual and gender-based violence.

High Commissioner Monze highlighted that the Programme was in its close-out phase and the European Union (EU), and SADC were in the process of discussing a potential successor programme to SPSS. She further expressed the Region’s appreciation to the EU, for their support of SADC’s on-going efforts towards the consolidation of peace and security in the SADC Region.

The EU reinforced the need for deeper understanding of key drivers of conflict in the Region in order to develop sustainable solutions for Regional peace and security. 

The Head of Cooperation at the European Union Delegation to Botswana and SADC, Mr. Clement Boutillier said peace and security remain one of the key priorities of the SADC-EU Cooperation, taking cognisance of the complex and transnational nature of conflicts around the world which call for concerted global responses.

Mr.Boutillier added that building on the successes and the lessons learnt from the implementation of the SPSS Programme, the future SADC-EU Cooperation on peace and security in the Region, will focus on addressing the root causes of conflict, including social inequalities, exclusion and poverty which are potential drivers of conflicts in the region.

Mr. Wazha Omphile, Project Management Officer, representing the Director of Policy, Planning and Resource Mobilisation (PPRM) at the SADC Secretariat stressed the importance of strengthening peace, security and governance. “These are enablers and foundational pillars for regional integration and sustainable development which are needed to realise priorities encapsulated in the SADC Vision 2050 and the Regional Indicative Strategic Development Plan (RISDP) 2020-2030, he said.

The Coordinator of the SPSS Programme, Dr Kondwani Chirambo, presented some of the key achievements that have been realised by the SPSS Programme during the life of the Programme. These achievements were obtained through the four Key Result Areas of SPSS Programme summarised below:

Result 1: Strengthened the capacity for electoral assistance in SADC

The Programme achieved its objectives in enhancing electoral assistance in the Region, through:

  • Training Short and Long-term election observers on ICT election observation and reporting in all Member States 

  • Assisting Electoral Management Bodies (EMBs) in Member States by SADC Electoral Advisory Council (SEAC) working in collaboration with the Electoral Commissions Forum of SADC countries (ECF) 

  • Training on the domestication of the Revised Principles and Guidelines Governing Democratic Elections 

  • Acquisition of SADC Election Fund at the Secretariat to support the SEAC pre and post-election missions 

Result 2: Enhanced capacity in SADC for (gender sensitive) conflict prevention, management and resolution

The Programmes achieved its objective by supporting the following activities:

  • Development of a regional gender-sensitive conflict tracking tool 

  • Facilitating Member States with Gender-sensitive National Social Cohesion Strategy 

  • Development of data-bank at the Regional Counter Terrorism Centre (RCTC) to assist in monitoring trends and developments in Counter Terrorism (CT) and Prevention of Violent Extremism (PVE) in the region and beyond.

  • Trained Member State officials in Counter- Terrorism

  • Regional Peace Keeping Training Centre (RCTC) trained members of Standby Force for deployment to conflict countries

Result 3: Strengthened capacity of SADC Member States to uphold and enhance cross-border safety and security

The Programme achieved its objective through the development of strategic tools to enhance the Region’s capacity to address cross border crime. The SPSS Programme carried out the following key activities:

  • Reviewed and strengthened Transnational Organised Crime (TOC) protocols that include SADC Protocol on the control of Firearms, Ammunition and Other Related Materials and developed the SADC Protocol Against Trafficking in Persons as well as the Regional TOC Strategy,

  • Developed the Regional Integrated Strategy to Prevent and Combat Transnational Organised Crime and its Action Plan 

  • Reviewed the Southern African Regional Police Chiefs Co-operation Organisation (SARPCCO) Cybercrime training modules to effectively address the current cyber trends and harmonized the Small Arms and Light Weapons (SALW) training modules and International Criminal Police Organisation (INTERPOL) iARMS.

  • Supported the development of the SADC-INTERPOL Cooperation Agreement 

Result 4: Strengthened SADC capacity to address the prevalence of sexual and gender-based violence

The Result Area fully met all and in some cases exceeded the target.  The following outputs were achieved: 

  • Developed a Regional Inventory Report on SGBV Legislation 

  • Sensitised National parliaments and stakeholders on SGBV prevalence and related legislative requirements 

  • Developed the Regional training guideline on SGBV to strengthen capacity of law enforcement, health service providers, judiciary, civil society organisations and community members 

  • Developed the Regional Guidelines for developing Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) and Referral Mechanisms for SGBV 

  • Capacitated Member States to develop national SOP and Referral Mechanisms for SGBV 

  • Produced and distributed awareness-creation materials on Regional SGBV tools and guidelines 

The 5th PSC meeting was attended by representatives of the SADC Organ Troika Member States namely, Republic of Zambia (Chair of the Organ), United Republic of Tanzania (Incoming Chair of the Organ) and Republic of Namibia (Outgoing Chair of the Organ), EU Delegation to Botswana and SADC, GIZ and representatives from Directorates and Units in the SADC Secretariat.