WINDHOEK - The Permanent Secretary of International Relations and Cooperation Selma Ashipala-Musavyi who yesterday took over as SADC chairperson of the Standing Committee of Senior Officials says the organ should find lasting solutions to ensure that peace and security prevails in the region. Ashipala-Musavyi took over the chairperson of the responsibility from South African outgoing chair Sandile Schalk.
The handover forms part of the preparation of council of ministers’ meeting for the 38th Ordinary Summit of Heads of State and Government of the SADC scheduled to take place in Windhoek on 17-18 August.
Namibia will also assume its chairmanship of SADC taking over from South Africa that held the position for a year since last August.
Ashipala-Musavyi stated the African Union (AU) Agenda 2063 contains issues to ensure that the region remains stable and peaceful.
“We should continue to find lasting solutions to ensure that peace and security prevails in our region, for without peace there would be no regional integration for development,” she told senior officials.
The security situation continues to deteriorate in these countries, with negative impact on civilians.
A week ago, Cabinet pronounced that Namibia remains seized with the political and security situation in the region, particularly in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Kingdom of Lesotho and Republic of Madagascar.
The United Nations Joint Human Rights Office has documented an increased number of violations: 2,858 from January to May this year, as compared to 2,332 during the same period in 2017 – and the real scale of violations is certainly even greater.
The theme for this year’s summit will be “Promoting Infrastructure Development and Youth Empowerment for Sustainable Development.”
She said in choosing the theme, Namibia has carefully aligned it to the preceding themes on industrialisation.
Further, she noted the theme illustrates that infrastructure development and youth empowerment go hand in hand, and are vital in driving SADC towards industrialisation.
“The theme also speaks to the socio-economic realities of our continent, in the spirit of “The Africa We Want”, as outlined in the AU Agenda 2063, and reflect the general concerns of the Global South as entailed in the UN Agenda 2030,” she highlighted.
Therefore, Ashipala-Musavyi said there is ample opportunity for the member states to critically look back to the progress made so far in implementing SADC programmes.
She noted that there has been notable progress in many sectors, especially infrastructural connectivity, economic development and trade, as well as in ensuring that peace and security prevails in the region.
However, she reminded delegates that more still need to be done in order to achieve SADC objectives, and therein lies their collective responsibilities.
Moreover, she pointed out that its critical that SADC implements programmes and strategies that member states have commonly adopted, for the benefit of all people and ensure they have a better life and a brighter future.
Outgoing chairperson, Schalk said as they engage and deliberate on the items on their agenda, they should be mindful of the collective responsibility that they have to substantially improve the quality of life, opportunities and prosperity of the people of Southern Africa through the realisation of sustainable economic development and regional integration.
He said the theme chosen specifically talks to the importance of the partnership between the public and private sector in advancing regional economic integration through increased industrialisation and infrastructure development.