The Regional Director of the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) for Southern Africa, H.E. Lola Castro on 24th January, 2020 met the Executive Secretary of SADC, Her Excellency Dr Stergomena Lawrence Tax at the SADC Secretariat.
H.E. Lola Castro expressed gratitude to the SADC Executive Secretary for her leadership in overseeing the technical cooperation between SADC and WFP which is built on mutual interest to enhance food security, build resilience and reduce malnutrition in the SADC region. She also noted the need for SADC to ensure efficient regional cross border road transport and transit networks, transport and logistics services, systems and procedures that would facilitate movement of food and other relief supplies to reach those in need in a timely manner.
In welcoming the Regional Director to SADC, H.E. Dr. Tax expressed appreciation to the WFP for the continued technical support and cooperation with SADC in various areas, including food and nutrition security, food fortification, vulnerability assessments and analysis, disaster risk reduction, climate change adaptation and resilience.
H.E. Dr Tax underscored that natural disasters, such as floods and droughts threaten the ability of the SADC region to end food insecurity and malnutrition in line with the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals. The SADC Executive Secretary noted that the recent cyclones in the region led to the destruction of infrastructure and disruption of communication and transport systems, thereby affecting production and timely movement of supplies to the affected communities.
The two Parties discussed the need for a regional, multi-stakeholder action to improve food and nutrition security and build resilience in the SADC region. They also committed to the implementation of the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed in 2019, between SADC and WFP, which seeks to promote and strengthen bi-lateral cooperation for improved food and nutrition security in the region. The two Parties further agreed to set up a joint technical team to develop an Action Plan to operationalise the MoU, and to develop an immediate multi-sectoral regional Anticipatory Action Plan for preparedness and effective response to climate related disasters.
The SADC Executive Secretary was accompanied by the Senior Technical Advisor Nutrition, Ms. Pontsho Sepoloane, while the WFP Regional Director was accompanied by Senior Regional Supply Chain Advisor, Ms. Christine Mendes, Regional External Partnerships Officer, Ms. Jaspal Gill, and External Partnerships officer, Mr. Kwena Mokgalane.