New security plan launched
Southern Africa has a new strategic plan for regional peace and security covering five sectors – political, defence, state security, public security and police.
The plan, developed by SADC, was launched on November 20 in Arusha by Tanzania’s President Jakaya Kikwete.
President Kikwete, who is the Chairperson of the SADC Organ on Politics, Defence and Security Co-operation (Organ Troika), urged members to make resources available for implementation of the Revised Strategic Indicative Plan of the Organ.
“Peace is an important aspect in regional prosperity, hence there is a need for member countries to chip in with enough resources to make the bloc calm and stable,” President Kikwete said.
“Efforts towards making our region calm are in our hands … It is time for member countries to start allocating enough resources to address the emerging challenges … We shouldn’t wait for other people to act on our behalf.”
SADC Executive Secretary, Dr Tomáz Salomão, emphasised the need to preserve “peace, security, stability and democracy, as a prerequisite for regional integration and sustainable development” in order to address the challenges posed by the new political, economic and social context in the region.
Dr Salomão traced the history of the Organ Troika established by SADC Heads of State and Government in 1996, and its achievements and challenges, saying that it constitutes a “solid platform for deepening the political cooperation and cohesion in the region”.
The legal instruments already adopted for implementation include various SADC protocols, notably that on Politics, Defence and Security Co-operation signed in 2001.
Other protocols are against Corruption; Combating Illicit Drugs; Control of Firearms and Ammunition; Facilitation of the Movement of Persons; Extradition; Legal Affairs and Mutual Assistance in Criminal Matters; and a Mutual Defence Pact.
The first Strategic Indicative Plan for the Organ identifying strategies and activities was adopted in 2003 for implementation over five years.
Discussions on revision of the plan began in 2007.
Dr Salomão also cited establishment of civilian structures such as the SADC Electoral Advisory Council, and the SADC Mediation, Conflict Prevention and Preventive Diplomacy structures.
However, he added that, in addition to these achievements, there are challenges resulting from geopolitics and global dynamics, but also from inadequate co-ordination mechanisms and a shortage of human and financial resources for appropriate implementation.
In launching the new policy document, the Tanzanian President said it is intended to address some of the new challenges facing the region, Africa and the world, noting that SADC plays a “leading role in the unity and cohesion of the region and the continent, while significantly contributing to peace, security, humanitarian assistance and development activities at regional and continental levels”.
Among the new challenges he cited are piracy, climate change, human trafficking, illegal immigration and economic recession.
Specific challenges, in addition to poverty, are the deteriorating situation in the Great Lakes Region, notably the worsening conflict in eastern DRC.
He appealed again to the parties for a ceasefire, “taking into account that innocent civilians are the ones who are most highly affected”. – sardc.net