By Kizito Sikuka and Clarkson Mambo.
This is the second in a series of two articles on the year 2022 in the SADC region.
Towards a regional parliament
On the governance and policy-making front, the transformation of the SADC Parliamentary Forum into a regional parliament is expected to dominate the integration agenda this year.
This follows the endorsement of the long-awaited transformation by the 41st SADC Summit which convened in August 2021 in Lilongwe, Malawi.
A SADC regional parliament will ensure wider citizen participation in regional affairs by facilitating deeper debate on regional issues. This should expedite the implementation of SADC protocols which need to be ratified and incorporated into national legislation.
According to the decision of the 41st SADC Summit, the SADC Parliament will begin as an “advisory and deliberative body” without legislative or other binding authority.
The regional parliament is expected to observe and respect the sovereignty of SADC Member States, while in operational terms it would consult and liaise with other SADC institutions and structures such as the Council of Ministers through which its recommendations would be forwarded for consideration by the Summit.
As regards relations with national parliaments, the new regional parliament should
to facilitate the drafting of model laws, while the former will continue their legislative role in the domestication of regional laws as well as their role in monitoring the effective implementation of executive programs and projects at the national level.
The legislature has long been seen as SADC’s missing arm.
Strengthen peace and security
With regard to peace and stability, SADC will remain seized this year of the political and security situation prevailing in the region since stability is a key factor for sustainable development.
The SADC region has generally enjoyed stability despite some pockets of volatility, as currently seen in northern Mozambique.
Gathered for its extraordinary summit in January, the region has already shown its commitment to fully address instability in Mozambique by extending the regional military mission in that country for another three months.
This is the second time that the mandate of the SADC Mission in Mozambique (SAMIM) has been extended since its deployment in July 2021, with notable progress being made in curbing the conflict.
SADC should also encourage more Member States to implement an action plan for the implementation of the security threats report that was adopted last year.
The action plan contributes to forging a holistic approach to maintaining security at the national and regional levels, which includes the operationalization of the Regional Counter-Terrorism Center within the framework of the Regional Counter-Terrorism Strategy of the SADC.
SADC will also remain seized of the conflict in the eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo, as well as the political situation in the Kingdom of Eswatini and the Kingdom of Lesotho, in line with the region’s democratic agenda.
Review of Vision 2050 and the revised RISDP
The SADC Vision 2050 which provides strategic direction for the region, and its anchor, the Revised Regional Indicative Strategic Development Plan (RISDP) 2020-2030 are now in their second year of implementation.
The year 2022 provides the region with an opportunity to take stock of implementation progress to ensure that goals are achieved for a unified, integrated and prosperous region.
Adopted in August 2020 by the 40th SADC Summit held in Maputo, Mozambique, the SADC Vision 2050 is aligned with the African Union’s Agenda 2063 – The Africa We Want, and builds on the existing vision of SADC which seeks “a common future in a community that will ensure economic well-being, improved living standards and quality of life, freedom and social justice, and peace and security for the people of southern Africa.
The revised RISDP 2020-2030 is a regional roadmap that prioritizes integration issues of infrastructure development, industrial development and market integration, social and human capital development and other cross-cutting issues , including environment, climate change, disaster risk management, gender equality and youth empowerment.
Unlike previous Regional Strategic Plans, the Revised RISDP 2020-30 combines interventions previously presented under the Revised RISDP and the Indicative Strategic Plan for the Organ on Politics, Defense and Security Cooperation.
42nd SADC Summit
SADC will hold its 42nd Summit in the Democratic Republic of Congo in August to monitor and advance the implementation of the integration agenda.
At the summit, President Felix Tshisekedi of the DRC will assume the rotating chairmanship of SADC from his Malawian counterpart, Lazarus Chakwera.
President Hage Geingob of Namibia will become the chairperson of the Organ on Politics, Defense and Security Cooperation, succeeding President Cyril Ramaphosa of South Africa.
The SADC organ is responsible for promoting peace and security in the SADC region. Its mandate is to guide and provide guidance to Member States on issues that enhance peace, security and stability in the region. (sardc.net)