The Deputy Executive Secretary responsible for Regional Integration Dr. Thembinkosi Mhlongo, met the Deputy Head of Mission at the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, in Pretoria South Africa, Mr. Jan Huesken on 25th April 2019, at the SADC Secretariat in Gaborone, Botswana.
Mr. Huesken thanked the Deputy Executive Secretary for according him the opportunity for a meeting at such a short notice. He pointed out that the Netherlands Government is supporting a number of bilateral and trilateral programmes with some SADC Member States focusing on HIV/AIDS, Water and Sanitation, Climate Change, Agriculture and youth. While some of such programmes are at the bilateral and trilateral levels, there was need for a regional approach, and that SADC was very well placed to coordinate regional cooperation programmes. He therefore expressed the need for the Netherlands Government to work with SADC on such programmes. Mr. Huesken also indicated that the Netherlands government was also supporting initiatives on peace and security focusing on migration and terrorism as they relate to peace and security.
Dr. Mhlongo welcomed the Netherlands Deputy Head of Mission to SADC. He thanked the Dutch Government for the support provided towards the abolition of apartheid in South Africa, and for the continued support to SADC Member States through bilateral programmes. He echoed the need for a regional approach to the majority of socio-economic programmes, as it is only through integration that Member States would realize the benefits from such programmes. “Regional challenges such as climate change, migration, floods and drought highlight the urgent need for a regional approach to tackling them” he noted.
Dr. Mhlongo further highlighted that SADC was already coordinating a number of cross border programmes including Water, HIV/AIDS, Agriculture, and Environment and climate change supported by among others, the EU Member States bilaterally and through the EU, the Government of the United States of America. He welcomed the willingness by the Government of the Kingdom of the Netherlands to work with SADC, highlighting that areas that the Netherlands Government is supporting are aligned to SADC priorities.
The two Parties agreed to further engage and concretize areas of cooperation where the two can work together to further deepen the SADC Regional Integration Agenda.
The SADC Deputy Executive Secretary was joined in the Meeting by Mrs. Duduzile Simelane, Director of Social and Human Development and Special Programmes, Mr. Duncan Samikwa representing the Director Food, Agriculture and Natural Resources, Mrs. Jocelyne Lukundula, Communication and Public Relations Officer and Mr. Alex Banda, Assistant in the Office of the Executive Secretary.