On 6th May 2020 the new United Nations (UN) Resident Coordinator to Botswana, His Excellency Mr. Zia Choudhury, paid a virtual courtesy call on the SADC Executive Secretary, Her Excellency Dr. Stergomena Lawrence Tax.
During the virtual meeting, the two parties discussed possible areas of cooperation, including on how to mitigate the socio-economic impact of COVID-19 pandemic in the SADC region, and effective ways of coordinating a regional approach to achieving Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
The SADC Executive Secretary welcomed His Excellency Choudhury to Botswana and the SADC region. She acknowledged the existing cordial relationship between SADC and the United Nations (UN), and the substantial support provided by the UN agencies in various areas. Her Excellency Dr. Tax emphasised the need for a systematic approach for the UN agencies to work jointly and in coordinated manner in as they seek to provide support to SADC, especially through the UN “Delivering As One” Initiative. She said that, through this Initiative, SADC seeks to find ways of working together to monitor the implementation of the UN Agenda 2030 for Sustainable Development at the regional level.
With regard to COVID-19, Her Excellency Dr. Tax said that Member States have put in place a number of response measures, and the Secretariat is supporting them, through a number of regional responses, and continuously issues weekly COVID-19 Reports. These Reports which presents measures taken, emerging issues, and recommendations. She also said that, as part of a Regional response, the Secretariat is working with various partners to mobilise regional support towards containment and mitigation of the COVID-19 pandemic in the SADC region. It was further pointed out the Secretariat is currently analysing the socio-economic impact of the pandemic on the SADC economies, and proposed that this an area where the two parties can collaborate on, benefiting from the UN’s technical capabilities.
His Excellency Choudhury thanked Her Excellency Dr. Tax for welcoming him to Botswana. He said that the UN Resident Coordinator Offices and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Offices in SADC Member States were individually and collectively supporting the SADC region in various development areas, including socio-economic analyses of the impact of COVID-19. This will ensure that, as the countries implement recovery plans, there are no vulnerable groups that are left behind. He expressed gratitude for the opportunity to discuss issues of mutual interest within the framework of the long-standing and solid partnership with the UN System, and pledged effective coordination for support to the SADC Member States in the fight against COVID-19 and in the implementation of programmes in various sectors, through collaboration with the Resident Coordinators and UNDP Resident Representatives.
His Excellency Choudhury said that the UN was already working in a multispectral approach to assist SADC Member States with critical needs to support the health care systems, and address capacities in the health sector, as a result of the COVID- 19 pandemic.
The two parties agreed to continue strengthening the cordial relations between the two institutions, by closely working together on the COVID-19 response initiatives and analyses of the socio-economic impacts, as well as ensuring an effective regional approach in the implementation of the Agenda 2030 for Sustainable Development.
Her Excellency Dr. Tax was accompanied by Dr. Willy Amisi, Senior Officer (Health); Mr. Mojakisane Mathaha, Planning and Budgeting Officer; Mr. Maxwell Mkumba, Senior Policy Advisor in the Office of the Executive Secretary, and Mr. Letso Mpho, Assistant Officer in the Public Relations Unit.
His Excellency Choudhury was accompanied by Ms. Helen Andreasson, RCO Team Leader (Strategic Planning and Development Coordination).
6 May 2020