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    6 Apr, 2022

    SPSS records fundamental achievements in its four Key Result Areas

    The Support to Peace and Security in the Southern African Development Community (SADC) Programme (SPSS) has recorded fundamental achievements in its four result areas and in getting the principal strategic policy documents and tools approved by the SADC policy making structures, Ms. Linda Vuyolwethu Shongwe, the representative of South Africa, which is the Chairperson of the Organ on Politics, Defence and Security Cooperation, has said.  

    Since November 2018, the SADC Secretariat, through the SPSS Programme, has been implementing interventions to achieve its four Key Result Areas, namely Result 1 on  strengthened capacity for electoral assistance in SADC; Result 2 on enhanced capacity in SADC for gender-sensitive conflict prevention, management and resolution; Result 3, strengthened capacity of SADC Member States to uphold and enhance cross-border safety and security; and Result 4, strengthened SADC capacity to address the prevalence of sexual and gender-based violence.

    Ms. Shongwe was speaking at the Fourth Meeting of the Programme Steering Committee of the SPSS on 22 February 2022.

    The SPSS is a strategic intervention of SADC, supported by the European Union (EU), to the tune of €15 millionunder the 11th European Development Fund to contribute to the sustenance of peace and security in SADC.

     With funding by the EU and complementary support from the Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ), SPSS enhances SADC Member States’ efforts and initiatives in implementing activities which are relevant to the sustenance of peace and security in the Region as stipulated in Article 2 of the SADC Protocol on Politics, Defence and Security Cooperation (2001), in furtherance of SADC Vision 2050, and the Regional Indicative Strategic Development Plan (RISDP) 2020-2030.

    Ms Shongwe said SPSS was to be implemented from November 2018 up to 2022 but due to major disruptions caused by COVID-19, the programme was refocused and extended by mutual consent up to November 2023 in order to enable comprehensive support to key interventions to bear on anticipated results.

    Innovative methods were implemented in order to mitigate against the challenges posed by COVID-19, and the Secretariat continued to implement activities across all the KRAs of SPSS using remote tools, albeit with a drastic reduction in resource absorption.

    Ms. Shongwe said in response to emerging threats in SADC, the re-calibration of SPSS resulted in significant resources being funneled to the defence and state security sectors. These include supporting the technical assessment mission to the United Republic of Tanzania for establishment of the Regional Counter-Terrorism Centre’s (RCTC), and the purchase of ICT equipment to constitute the RCTC databank to help address the emerging threat of terrorism in the Region.

    Resources were also channeled to the defence sector’s technical missions to Mozambique to complement efforts by Member States which had financed the four deployments of the SADC Standby Force, operating as the SADC Mission in Mozambique (SAMIM); as well as technical missions to the Democratic Republic of Congo; and  training for the Standby Force in specialised pre-deployment courses offered by the Regional Peace Keeping Training Centre (RPTC).

    The Ministerial Committee of the Organ (MCO) held in July 2021 approved a number of key instruments covering electoral assistance, Transnational Organised Crime (TOC), and Gender Based Violence (GBV).  The MCO adopted the Guidelines for Election Observation Under Public Health Emergencies which enables the Organ to deploy missions during national disasters under controlled conditions; the Regional Strategy to Prevent and Combat Transnational Organised Crime, which will also inform the development of national action plans; as well as the agreement amending the SADC Protocol on the control of Firearms, Ammunition and Other Related Materials.

    The Ministers of Gender/Women’s Affairs in August 2021, adopted and approved Sexual and Gender Based Violence (SGBV) tools and strategies namely the Regional SGBV Training Guidelines; Guidelines for developing Standard Operating Procedures on SGBV; and Review and Inventory Report on SGBV Legislation.

    Ms Shongwe expressed gratitude to the EU for its unwavering support to the Region in addressing threats and its commitment to ensuring that SADC’s infrastructure for peace is strengthened and fully operational.

    Speaking at the same occasion, Mr Jan Sadek, the head of the EU Delegation to Botswana and SADC, said regional programmes in SADC worth more than €150 million are being implemented with support from the EU to address economic integration, citizen security and democratic governance, climate change and natural resources management.

    Mr Sadek said the future of peace is in sustainable development, and this is why the EU has contributed more than €415 million in the last two decades to advance the SADC regional integration agenda, as it believes deeper integration will benefit SADC Member States and their people.

    The links between security and development, he said, are clear and SADC is the African region's principal organisation for security cooperation.

    Mr Sadek said in the area of electoral assistance, the suspension of travelling due to COVID-19 restrictions continued to have an impact on SPSS since it has not been possible to deploy any physical electoral observation mission to Member States.

    The EU continues to encourage the exchange of information between different electoral observation missions in upcoming elections, as well as the systematic follow-up to recommendations steamed from electoral missions.

    Mr Sadek reiterated the EU’s position towards long-term observation as the preferred methodology when it comes to electoral assistance, and was therefore pleased to see that a first batch of long-term observers was trained in November 2021.

    He noted progress on conflict prevention, management and resolution in continuing to map Infrastructure for Peace in several Member States, as well as in providing training to community and national leaders in conflict prevention. He was pleased to have experienced very concrete and tangible results in the support to Mozambique to combat violent extremism and the setting up of RCTC in Tanzania.

    Mr Sadek said the EU has agreed to a contribution of close to €2 million to support the civilian and police components of SAMIM, which should be seen as a first step in joint efforts to build long lasting peace and prosperity in Northern Mozambique.

    He said he was happy to note that SPSS was able to support the establishment of a RCTC in Tanzania. The SPSS has made available over US$1.5 million to help set-up the RCTC.

    Mr Sadek noted the importance of engaging with non-state actors at national and regional levels with the firm belief that civil society is a key contributor to ensuring peace, stability and democracy.  

    He emphasised the need to strengthen communication and visibility and the need to reach out to SADC citizens and communicate the role that SADC plays in promoting peace, security, stability and democracy in the Region.



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