Dar-es-Salaam, 21 October 2016: SADC and the European Union (EU) are to apply concerted efforts to address common threats to peace and security in the two regions. This was agreed by the two sides during a thematic meeting on Peace and Security held under the aegis of the SADC-EU Political Dialogue, at the New Africa Hotel in Dar-es-Salaam, United Republic of Tanzania.
The Minister of Foreign Affairs, East Africa, Regional and International Cooperation – Honourable Dr. Augustine P. Mahiga for the United Republic of Tanzania urged the meeting to put poverty reduction at the centre of the dialogue on peace and security as poverty is a root cause of many of the conflicts on the African continent. As Chair of the SADC Organ on Politics, Defence and Security Cooperation, the United Republic of Tanzania is poised to advance the course of peace and security in the SADC Region, as these are prerequisites for prosperous and faster growth, as well as resilience of the region’s citizens. He urged the two sides to also approach Conflict Prevention and Early Warning, emphasizing that:
“Africa is not out of the woods. We need to strengthen prevention capacity. Early Warning should not just be cliché as conflict is brewing in some countries and is likely to be triggered in others. Give substance to what Conflict Prevention and Early Warning are all about. Identify critical institutions to be strengthened to deal with conflict prevention and emerging threats” he said.
The discussions centred around a commonly held notion that there is no development without peace, security and regional stability and that there can be no peace, security and regional stability without development. Buttressing this point, the European External Service Action’s Director for the Horn of Africa, East and Southern Africa and the Indian Ocean – Mr. Koen Vervaeke outlined the main elements of the EU Global Strategy. He added that the Strategy was working towards strengthening resilience in the EU and in the countries around the EU. It seeks to promote governance access to resources, human rights, women’s empowerment and the youth. He informed the meeting that the Strategy also focuses on building capacity in the areas of peace and security and peace keeping in Africa at continental and national levels.
In her remarks, the Executive Secretary of SADC – Her Excellency Dr. Stergomena Lawrence Tax noted that whilst the rest of the world is currently focused on current migration challenges into the EU it is important to reiterate that even though the SADC region is not a contributor to the EU migration challenges we, in Southern Africa have our own internal challenges related to irregular migration, trafficking in persons and illicit goods such as arms, drugs and wildlife products originating from poaching, as well as organised and cross-border crime.
Both sides also pledged to continue dialogue and implement specific programmes aimed at addressing the issues threatening peace, security and stability, which were cited as challenges to: Migration, Energy Security, Social Cohesion.
The meeting was attended by SADC Member States, representatives from EU External Action Service, and representatives of EU delegations in Swaziland; Tanzania and Botswana; facilitated by ACCORD. The outcome of the Dar-es-Salaam dialogue will be presented to the Senior Officials’ Political Dialogue scheduled to be held in Brussels, Belgium on 08th November 2016.