The Executive Secretary of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) Her Excellency Dr Stergomena Lawrence Tax has called on the SADC defence and security forces to remain vigilant against emerging threats to peace and security in the region.
Speaking during the opening of the 28th SADC Defence Sub-Committee Virtual Meeting on 16th June, 2020, H.E. Dr Tax underscored that peace and security are the foundation for socio-economic development, and thus for regional integration.
H.E. Dr Tax noted that, whereas, the region has recorded significant progress in peace and security in support of regional integration, some SADC Member States have recently experienced terrorist insurgencies that threaten to destabilise the rest of the region. On this note, H.E. Dr Tax called for collective efforts in addressing these security threats and to confront terrorist insurgencies in order to sustain peace and security in the region.
On the COVID-19 pandemic, H.E. Dr Tax commended the defence and security forces for being instrumental in ensuring compliance to the lockdown and state of emergency measures which were put in place by Member States to curb the spread of COVID-19. She said, the role of defence and security forces in the COVID-19 response helped to limit the spread of the virus, thereby saving lives and livelihoods of SADC citizens.
The Executive Secretary urged the committee to prioritize the operationalization of the SADC Standby Force Component to enhance regional capacity in respect of disaster management and coordination of international humanitarian assistance, in line with the objectives outlined in the SADC Protocol on Politics, Defence and Security Cooperation.
On the security situation in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, H.E. Dr Tax urged Member States to remain steadfast in supporting the DRC. She reiterated SADC’s position on the need to ensure that the renewed mandate of MONUSCO, as per the UN Security Council Resolution 2502 of 19 December 2019, does not undermine operational effectiveness and unit of command of the Force Intervention Brigade.
The SADC Defence Sub-Committee is one of the structures of the Organ on Politics, Defence and Security Cooperation. It contributes to the development and implementation of regional policies on peace and security, in the sustenance of peace and security, and in ensuring that there are synergies between peace and security with socio-economic development of the region.