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    11 Oct, 2021

    Peace, security and good governance is the foundation for SADC regional integration

    The Regional Indicative Strategic Development Plan (RISDP) 2020-2030 is anchored on a firm foundation of peace, security and good governance in the Southern African Development Community (SADC). The previous RISDP made notable gains in various areas upon which RISDP 2020–2030 seeks to build on and those achievements, highlighted in the new strategy, are worth celebrating as they demonstrate the unwavering commitment of SADC Member States to their pursuit of the regional integration agenda. 

    Under the Peace, Security, and Good Governance foundational pillar, RISDP 2020–2030 aims to enhance conflict prevention, management, and resolution mechanisms with an effective early warning system capable of tracking and monitoring political, security, and socio-economic threats. 

    SADC aspires to promote political and economic independence, durable peace and security, and poverty eradication. Peace and security are considered as the necessary preconditions for regional development because instability in one Member State could have negative impact on neighbouring countries and become a stumbling block in regional integration. 

    The intended outcomes of peace and security include strengthened early warning systems; enhanced conflict mediation, prevention, and preventative diplomacy capacity to support Member States; structured engagement with civil society, especially youth and women, in conflict prevention, management, and resolution of disputes in the Region; and regional measures and strategies to address transnational organised crime. 

    Focus is also on strengthening political cooperation and enhancing democracy, good governance, the rule of law, human rights, and human security. In this regard, anticipated improvements include strengthened political cooperation among Member States, inclusive of citizen participation, and compliance monitoring of Member States’ commitments to human rights, peace, security, and good governance in the Region.

    To realise an enhanced collective defence and security system that is capable of safeguarding the territorial integrity of the Region, efforts are being made to, among other things, strengthen the capacity of the SADC Standby Force (SSF) to safeguard the territorial integrity of the Region and conduct complex and multidimensional peace support operations.

    This will be complemented by effective implementation of the overarching common defence policy and of regional strategies on maritime security, cyber security, and anti-terrorism, together with increased engagement of young people in defence and peace processes. 

    The SADC Region remains stable and peaceful, notwithstanding isolated challenges. This is attributed to solid systems and measures in place, such as the regional early warning, preventive and mediation mechanisms which facilitate timely detection and redress of threats and challenges, and effective deployment of SADC electoral observation missions. 

    Examples of peace efforts by the Region include the SADC preventive mission to the Kingdom of Lesotho, SADC peace and political support to the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), SADC mediation in Madagascar, SADC facilitation in Lesotho and the deployment of the Standby Force in Mozambique in July 2021. These measures address emerging challenges and enable the respective Member States and the Region to restore stability, peace and security.   

    Democracy is consolidated through effective deployment of electoral observation missions to SADC Member States. To mitigate and address threats posed by cybercrime and terrorism, a cybercrime and anti-terrorism strategy was adopted in 2016. The strategy is being implemented at regional and national levels. That is why the RISDP 2020-2030 acknowledges that peace, security, stability, democracy and good political governance are the foundation and key primary enablers of regional integration and development. 

    This pillar thus seeks to strengthen regional capacity for electoral assistance in SADC;

    enhance capacity for gender-sensitive conflict prevention, management and resolution; strengthen capacity at Member State level to uphold and enhance cross-border safety and security; and put in place stronger regional capacity in SADC to address the prevalence of sexual and gender-based violence.

    The commendable progress made thus far include the establishment of strategic institutions to prevent and manage conflict in the Region.  These include SADC Electoral Advisory Council (SEAC), SADC Mediation, Conflict Prevention and Preventive Diplomacy Structure, Southern African Regional Police Chiefs Cooperation Organisation (SARPCCO), SADC Peacekeeping Training Centre (RPTC), SADC Standby Force, Regional Early Warning Centre (REWC), and SADC National Committees (SNCs). 

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