Question by Sandi: which country is currently presiding over the destiny of SADC?
Answer by Elizabeth B
In April, 1980, the Southern African Development Coordination Conference (SADCC) was established by nine Southern African governments: Angola, Botswana, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Swaziland, Tanzania, Zambia, and Zimbabwe. The SADCC objectives were to:
a. reduce Member States’ dependence on apartheid South Africa;
b. implement programmes and projects with national and regional impact;
c. mobilise Member States’ resources in the quest for collective self-reliance; and,
d. secure international understanding and support.
In 1986, SADCC held a Policy Workshop on Women and Development in Brussels, Belgium, where it recommended:
a. affirmative action to equalise wages, employment conditions and on the job training schemes;
b. review of Employment Acts which work against women; and
c. determination of whether SADCC governments and NGOs had ratified the Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination Against Women, and if not, that it should be ratified through lobbying, mobilisation and conscientisation.
In August, 1992, the SADCC Heads of State and Government formed SADC by signing the SADC Declaration and Treaty. This established SADC and gave the organization a legal and more formal status. SADC was also expanded to include fourteen Member States: Angola, Botswana, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Lesotho, Malawi, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, Seychelles, South Africa, Swaziland, Tanzania, Zambia, and Zimbabwe. Its objective is to build a region where there will be a high degree of harmonization and rationalisation to enable the pooling of resources to achieve collective self-reliance in order to improve the living standards of the people of the region. Its goals are:
a. to achieve development and economic growth, alleviate poverty, enhance the standard and quality of life of people of Southern Africa and support the socially disadvantaged through regional integration;
b. to evolve common political values, systems, and institutions;
c. to promote and defend peace and security;
d. to promote self-sustaining development on the basis of collective self-reliance, and the interdependence of Member States;
e. to achieve complimentarity between national and regional strategies and programmes;
f. to promote and maximise productive employment and utilisation of resources of the region;
g. to achieve sustainable utilisation of natural resources and effective protection of the environment; and,
h. to strengthen and consolidate the long-standing historical, social and cultural affinities and links among the people of the region.
SADC functions under a decentralised institutional framework to ensure that its Member States are the principal actors in formulating and implementing policy decisions. The Heads of State and Government form the Summit, the chief policy-making institution of SADC.
The Troika consists of the Chair, Incoming Chair and Outgoing Chair, and performs coordination functions between the Council and Summit meetings, allowing SADC to execute tasks and implement decisions expeditiously and to provide policy direction to SADC Institutions in the periods between regular SADC meetings.
The Council of Ministers consists of Ministers from each Member State, usually from the Ministries of Foreign Affairs and Economic Planning or Finance. The Council oversees the functioning and development of SADC and ensures that policies are properly implemented.
To ensure coordination and harmonization of cross-sectional activities, an Integrated Committee of Ministers (ICM) oversees activities of the four core areas of integration (Trade, Industry, Finance and Investment; Infrastructure and Services; Food, Agriculture and Natural Resources; and Social and Human Development and Special Programmes). The ICM consists of two Ministers from each Member State, and reports to the Council of Ministers.
A tribunal is to be established pursuant to the SADC Treaty to ensure adherence to and proper interpretation of its provisions.
SADC National Committees are established by each Member State to enable them to provide input to further SADC’s common objectives. The National Committees are comprised of government, private sector and civil society members.
The Secretariat is the principal executive institution of SADC and is responsible for strategic planning, coordination and management of SADC programmes. It is comprised of a Deputy Executive Secretary, Department of Strategic Planning, Gender and Development and Policy Harmonization, Legal Affairs, Internal Audit, Information, Communication and Technology, Administration, and Finance. Its functions include:
a. gender mainstreaming in all SADC programmes and activities;
b. organisation and servicing of meetings of the Troika and any other committees established by the Summit, Council and Troika on an ad-hoc basis;
c. monitoring and evaluating the implementation of regional policies and programmes; and,
d. management of special programmes and projects.
The Department of Strategic Planning, Gender and Development and Policy Harmonization was established to strengthen the Secretariat in executing its functions, particularly strategic planning, gender mainstreaming, management and harmonization of policies.
A gender mainstreaming framework was created in 1998, and consists of a Committee of Ministers responsible for Gender and Women’s Affairs, a Regional Advisory Committee made up of government and NGO representatives, Gender Focal Points in the Sector Coordinating Units, and a Gender Unit at the SADC Secretariat. The Committee’s purpose is to strengthen lobbying and advocacy strategies on mainstreaming gender at both the national and regional levels.
The Directorate of Social and Human Development and Special Programmes focuses on gender issues in addition to a number of other objectives. Its gender-specific actions include:
a. the development, promotion and harmonization of policies and gender development strategies and programmes; and,
b. the promotion of employment creation and efficient human resources utilization; development; promotion and harmonization of employment policies and labour standards.
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