The SADC and EU Senior Officials met in Brussels on 16 June, 2014 under the auspices of the SADC-EU Political Dialogue. The objective of the meeting was to continue fostering cooperation in a spirit of partnership and to set a roadmap towards the SADC-EU Ministerial Political Dialogue scheduled for 2015. In this meeting, both SADC and EU updated each other on economic and political developments in the two regions, shared experiences on various issues of mutual interest and discussed possible areas of cooperation.
The meeting was co-chaired by H.E. Dr. Brave Ndisale, Ambassador of the Republic of Malawi to the Kingdom of Belgium and to the European Union, and by Mr. Koen Vervaeke, EEAS Director for Southern Africa, Eastern Africa, Indian Ocean and Horn of Africa and Senior Coordinator for the Great Lakes Region. The meeting was attended by the Senior Officials of the SADC Double Troika Member States, namely Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, United Republic of Tanzania and Zimbabwe, as well as by H.E. Dr. Stergomena Lawrence Tax, the Executive Secretary of SADC, SADC Secretariat Officials and Officials from the EU Headquarters and the EU Delegation to Botswana and to SADC and the EU Delegation to Malawi.
Speaking during the opening session of the meeting, H.E. Dr. Stergomena Lawrence Tax , the SADC Executive Secretary, expressed gratitude towards the EU for continued support to the SADC region at both national and regional level through the European Development Fund (EDF). The Executive Secretary recalled the fact that the programming of the 11th EDF regional envelope and the review of SADC Regional Indicative Strategic Development Programme (RISDP) were occurring concurrently and indicated that this presented an opportunity for proper planning and harmonisation of programme/priorities between these two processes. The EU expressed their commitment to ensuring that the Joint Regional Indicative Programme (RIP) under the 11th EDF programming would be a useful tool for achieving SADC's objectives.
The SADC-EU Senior Officials agreed to meet again twice in 2015 in order to adequately prepare for the SADC-EU Ministerial Political Dialogue to be held in Brussels in 2014.
The Partnership between the EU and SADC is firmly entrenched in the Cotonou Partnership Agreement, based on three pillars of (1) Political Dialogue (also known as the Berlin Initiative); (2) Trade for Development; and (3) Development Cooperation. The Political Dialogue between the EU and SADC was established 20 years ago under the ambit of the Berlin Initiative. This has made way for the creation of a structure for enhanced and comprehensive political dialogue between the two parties, whose ultimate goal is to contribute to peace, democracy and sustainable development.
As mandated by the SADC Council of Ministers in March 2014, and in preparing the SADC position on issues to be discussed in the SADC-EU Political Dialogue meeting of Senior Officials, the SADC Double Troika Senior Officials and the SADC Secretariat met in Brussels on Sunday, 14 June 2014. The meeting was chaired by H.E. Dr. Brave Ndisale, Ambassador of the Republic of Malawi to the Kingdom of Belgium and to the European Union. H.E. Dr. Stergomena Lawrence Tax, the SADC Executive Secretary briefed the Double Troika on all issues on the agenda for the SADC-EU political Dialogue.