SADC Secretariat and UNICEF meet to discuss the joint result-based action plan
The Southern African Development Community (SADC) Executive Secretary, Her Excellency Dr. Stergomena Lawrence Tax and the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) Regional Director for East and Southern Africa (ESARO), Mr. Mohamed Malick Fall held a virtual meeting on 29th June 2020. The meeting was a follow – up to the meeting held on 6 May 2020, where the two Parties agreed to consider signing a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU), with clearly stipulated areas of cooperation and ways of cooperating, accompanied by a short to long-term result-based action plan.
Mr Fall informed H.E Dr. Tax that he was pleased with the ongoing work in finalising the MoU and the joint action plan, and was looking forward to have the MoU signed and operationalised. He stated that UNICEF was willing to work closely with respective SADC Member States in providing necessary support in the fight against COVID-19 pandemic, through procurement and supply of medical equipment and other supplies. Mr Fall said UNICEF was in good position to supply the region with oxygen and other necessities needed for the treatment and management of COVID-19 cases. He further indicated that, over and above the fight against COVID-19, UNICEF continues to work with SADC Member States to lend support on vaccines, nutrition commodities for the treatment of malnutrition, and access to antiretroviral drugs (ARVs) for treatment of HIV and AIDS. He underscored that UNCEF has pushed for distance learning through digital platforms to help children to continue learning during these difficult times through implementation of global guidelines and has continued to advocate for reopening of schools under strict safety measures.
H.E Dr. Tax applauded the progress achieved through the SADC-UNICEF partnership and underscored the need to finalise the joint action plan, as part of the MoU. She further highlighted that it is important to note that SADC is working with a number of other partners on same interventions and support areas, and emphasised the need to create synergies, and coordinated approach, with clearly defined responsibilities and beneficiaries that will deliver tangible and visible results. In this regard, H.E. Dr, Tax called upon the technical teams constituted by the two Parties to enhance the joint action plan, to amongst others, include the localisation aspect of enhancing regional capacities such as, the enhancement of regional manufacturers, and the use of the SADC pooled procurement facility. She pointed that there were other interventions, which were not specifically, COVID-19-related, such as Disaster Risk Management, which are necessary, as the region enhances its capacity to deal with pandemics.
Having considered the draft joint action plan, encompassing COVID-19 response, Education, Health and Nutrition, Water and Sanitation, Social Protection and HIV and AIDS with the inclusion of Child Protection and Strengthening of local capacities, the two Parties agreed to finalise the action plan and MoU, with a view to have them signed jointly in due course.
29 June 2020