The Secretariat of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) and the European Union (EU) Delegation to Botswana and SADC on 5th April, 2019 jointly launched the Support to Peace and Security in the SADC Region (SPSS) Programme at an event held at Avani Hotel in Gaborone, Botswana.
The SPSS Programme is funded under the 11th European Development Fund (EDF) for a duration 3.5 years to the tune of €15 million and it is designed to strengthen the capacity of the SADC Organ on Politics, Defence and Security Cooperation’s to promote peace, security and democracy across the SADC Region in line with the SADC Treaty and the Politics Defence and Security Cooperation of 2001.
The Programme builds on the gains made by the Regional Political Cooperation (RPC) programme launched in 2012 under the 10th EDF which has contributed significantly to strengthening SADC's capacities to enhance democratic institutions, conflict prevention and management mechanisms.
The Programme builds on the gains made by the Regional Political Cooperation (RPC) programme launched in 2012 under the 10th EDF which has contributed significantly to strengthening SADC's capacities to enhance democratic institutions, conflict prevention and management mechanisms. The launch was presided over by Head of Delegation of the European Union to Botswana and SADC, His Excellency Ambassador Jan Sadek and the Director of the Organ on Politics, Defence and Security Affairs at the SADC Secretariat, Mr Jorge Cardoso, representing the SADC Executive Secretary, Her Excellency Dr Stergomena Lawrence Tax.
Mr Cardoso expressed gratitude to the European Union for the long standing cooperation with SADC in the area of peace and security. He noted that the support from the EU through the RPC Programme enabled SADC to develop a specialised pool of mediators to the tune of 395 across the region and more than 1000 election observers, of whom more than 120 have been exposed to modern information, communication and technology ( ICT) tools of assessing the electoral cycle.
The ‘Support to Peace and Security in the SADC region’ Programme builds upon the lessons learnt, challenges encountered, and indeed, opportunities identified under its predecessor, the RPC Programme, in aiming to strengthen SADC’s capacity to meet the benchmarks in our Strategic Indicative Plan for the Organ (SIPO) as revised,” said Mr Jorge Cardoso.
H.E. Ambassador Jan Sadek underscored the importance of peace and security in advancing development. “Development and security go hand-in-hand. There can not be sustainable development without security, stability and peace. And there will be no real and lasting peace without truly sustainable development and poverty reduction. The links between security and development are clear, and addressing them is a political imperative for the European Union,” H.E. Ambassador Sadek noted.
The EU Head of Delegation added; “If a region is not peaceful and stable, and its citizens do not feel secure, it will not be able to sustain its development and reap the benefits of integration”.
The launch was attended a cross section of people which included, Ambassador of the United State of America to Botswana, H.E. Craig Cloud, Ambassador of France to Botswana, H.E. Mr Pierre Voillery, the United Nations Resident Coordinator for Botswana, Ms Jacinta Barrins, Officer in Charge of UN Women Botswana, Ms. Lydia Mafhoko-Ditsa, representatives from the Government of Botswana, representatives of SADC High Commissioners and Ambassadors, representatives of various UN agencies, election bodies, SADC Secretariat staff, Non-Governmental Organisations and the media.