Netumbo Nandi-Ndaitwah, Namibia’s Minister of International Relations and Cooperation and chairperson of the SADC Ministerial Committee of the Organ on Politics, Defence and Security Cooperation, has called on member states to fast-track the ratification of vital regional protocols.
Officially opening the 25th meeting of the MCO on politics, defence and security cooperation in Windhoek yesterday, Nandi-Ndaitwah placed special emphasis on the protocol on the facilitation of the movement of persons in the SADC region, which some countries have not yet ratified.
The protocol was tabled in 2005, and has remained pending due to the foot-dragging of some SADC states.
The SADC protocol on the facilitation of movement of persons is founded on the SADC Treaty, which advocates for the promotion of interdependence and integration of national economies for the harmonious, balanced and equitable development of the region.
“Member states that have not yet signed and ratified this protocol are encouraged to do so in order to fully realise our regional integrated agenda. The entering into force of the protocol will further boost intra-regional tourism, and enable people-to-people exchanges, business interactions and investments across the region. Our meeting is thus expected to push for the approval of this instrument, which will further strengthen our regional integration,” she said.
Nandi-Ndaitwah urged member states to hasten the formulation of policies and awareness programmes on the implementation of the protocol, and to improve mechanisms for enhancing cooperation in safeguarding national and regional security by exchanging information among relevant authorities, especially on crime, security and intelligence.
The MCO is the main body for the promotion and protection of peace, security and stability in the SADC region.
“It is almost one year since Namibia took over the chairpersonship of the organ. Since then, we have held one extraordinary meeting of the MCO and convened six extraordinary meetings of the MCO Troika Plus since September 2022, in particular to consider the security situations in the eastern DRC and in northern Mozambique, respectively.
Collectively, we have made great strides towards strengthening the peace, security and stability of the Region, which are critical ingredients for sustainable development. In this regard, our region has decided to deploy, by 30 September 2023, a SADC Standby Force Brigade Plus in support of the DRC, to address the insecurity in the eastern part of that country. Details of the SADC Mission in DRC (SAMIDRC) will be finalised over the next few months,” she shared.
The veteran diplomat added that terrorist activities in Mozambique have been partly defused but remain a huge challenge in some parts, and more will have to be done by the regional bloc to ensure that stability is restored.
“The terrorists who had plagued the northern province of Mozambique have been largely neutralised, and the livelihoods of internally displaced persons are being revived with the support of friendly forces and humanitarian partners. But more still needs to be done in that space. In order to consolidate the gains made in the fight against terrorism in Cabo Delgado, the SADC Organ Troika Plus virtual meeting of 11 July 2023 recommended to the upcoming SADC Summit in August for the SADC Mission in Mozambique to be extended for one year.”
On his part, SADC executive secretary Elias Mpedi Magosi said: “I am pleased to inform the meeting that through the deliberate design of infrastructure for peace and a robust early warning system, the security situation in the SADC region continues to be relatively stable, notwithstanding the overt threats in the eastern DRC and the Cabo Delgado province of Mozambique. The SADC structures have been agile in addressing these security challenges, and remain seized with them.” - email@example.com