Outcome of the SADC Council of Ministers Meeting, 14-15 August 2014, Victoria Falls
The SADC Council of Ministers meeting held on August 14 and 15, 2014 at Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe was attended by Ministers from all SADC Member States. The meeting was chaired by Hon. Simbarashe S. Mumbngegwi, the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Zimbabwe after receiving the Council chairpersonship from Hon. Dr. George Thapula Chaponda, the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Republic of Malawi. During this sitting, Council considered several issues as follows:
The Status of SADC Finances - Council noted that almost all SADC Member States have remitted their Member contributions to the SADC budget for the fiscal year April 2014/15 to the SADC Secretariat. Council commended the International Cooperating Partners (ICPs) for their support.
Medium Term Strategy and Expenditure Framework for 2014/15 to 2018/19 - Council adopted the conclusions of the annual Review of the MTS, which will inform 2015/16 annual plans; and adjustments of the MTS pending Council’s approval of the Draft Revised RISDP.
Mid-Term Review of the Regional Indicative Strategic Development Plan (RISDP) - Council directed the Secretariat to finalise draft RISDP by frontloading industrialisation and its implementation strategy for consideration in March 2013 and requested the Committee of Ministers of Trade to review the sequencing of targeted outputs on Industrial Development and Trade Liberalisation in order to accorded centre stage to industrialisation in the current stage of integration in SADC.
Council also directed the Secretariat to develop the Implementation Plan and Budget for the Revised RISDP 2015-2020 and present it for consideration and approval in March 2015.
Trade - Council endorsed the decisions taken by the Committee of Ministers of Trade to address some of the implementation challenges of the Free Trade Area; and directed the Secretariat to facilitate implementation of all pillars of the development integration agenda, in particular, fast- track the coordination of measures for effective implementation of the SADC Industrial Development Policy Framework and the Industrial Upgrading and Modernisation Programme, in order to boost the Region’s productive competitiveness and industrial capacity, and promote equity, fairness and balance in intra-regional trade.
Economic Performance in 2013 against the SADC Macroeconomic Convergence Targets - Council urged Member States to steadily converge on the macroeconomic targets by implementing sustainable economic policies and diversifying their economies through value addition and beneficiation of natural resources.
Status of Power Demand and Supply in the Region - Council urged Member States to implement planned power generation projects on schedule to effectively address power shortfalls in the Region in the short term; and provide the necessary policy support to implement the Demand Side Management programme, including banning of incandescent light bulbs.
Digital Terrestrial Television (DTT) - Council urged Member States to expedite the implementation of the SADC Roadmap on Digital Broadcasting Migration; and incorporate the SADC Resolution on Digital Terrestrial Television in their planning so as to ensure that the Region meets its international obligations and migrate before the deadline of 17 June 2015.
Food Agriculture and Natural Resources - Council considered reports of the Ministerial cluster for Agriculture and Food Security; and Natural Resources and Environment, and recommended it to Summit for consideration. Council also and reiterated its decision to urge Member States to continue implementing the Plan of Action of the Dar-es-Salaam Declaration on Agriculture and Food Security.
SADC Food and Nutrition Security Strategy - Council endorsed the SADC Food and Nutrition Security Strategy for implementation in the Region; and mandated the Joint Committee of Ministers responsible for Agriculture and Food Security and Ministers of Health established under this Strategy to oversee implementation and review of the Strategy and report to Council biennially. Council considered and endorsed the Regional Agricultural Policy
Social and Human Development and Special Programmes - Council considered a summary of policy issues and programmes in the Social and Human Development Cluster during the year under review that were approved by the Sectoral Ministers responsible for Education; Science and Technology and Innovation; and Health and HIV and AIDS approved that South Africa be confirmed to host the Pan African University on Space Science on behalf of Southern Africa.
On Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) Outbreak - Council commended South Africa for offering to share its technical capacity and experience on Ebola and encouraged Member States to take advantage of the offer; and directed the Finance Sub Committee to assess modalities for establishment of a regional fund to assist Member States in emergency situations of a medical nature including the possibility of utilising existing funds.
Gender and Development - Council urged Member States that have not yet achieved the set target for equal making positions to take appropriate measures to do so, including to consider the adoption of appropriate measures including legislation, policy and reform of the electoral systems to facilitate the achievement of the gender parity goal in political and decision making positions.
Council: commended Member States that have developed and are implementing trafficking in persons specific legislation and urged Member States that do not have such legislation to develop and implement them to criminalise the practice and to support the implementation of the programme activities to effectively combat trafficking in persons, especially women and children, in the Region.
Council directed the Secretariat to set up a task force to facilitate the development of the draft Regional Multi-Dimensional Women’s Economic Empowerment Programme urged Member States to advocate for women’s access to land as it is key to food security and poverty alleviation in the Region; and ownership and control over productive resources such as finance, credit, technology to improve women’s economic capabilities.
Progress Report on the SADC Tribunal - Council considered and approved the draft new Protocol on the SADC Tribunal and recommended it to Summit for further consideration, approval and signature.
Status of signing, ratification of and accession to SADC Protocols
Legal Instruments - Council considered, approved and recommended the following legal instruments to Summit for adoption:
Draft Protocol on Environment Management for Sustainable Development;
Draft SADC Declaration on Regional Infrastructure Development and recommended it to Summit for adoption.
Draft SADC Protocol on Employment and Labour.
Proposed Declaration on Small Island Developing States at the 34th Ordinary SADC Summit of Heads of State and Government - Council recommended to Summit to consider a Declaration on Small Island Developing States at the 34th Ordinary SADC Summit of Heads of State and Government and mandated the Secretariat to consult with a view to establishing a mechanism to better support Small Island Developing States.
Update on SADC-COMESA-EAC Tripartite Work Programme - Council directed the SADC Secretariat, in collaboration with the COMESA and EAC Secretariats to finalise the resource requirements of the Tripartite work programme and submit recommendations to its meeting in February 2015.
Update on Continental Integration Process - Council approved the recommendation of the Committee of Ministers of Trade that the target date for the establishment of the Continental Free Trade Area be sequenced with the completion of negotiations for the Tripartite Free Trade Area; and directed the Secretariat to communicate the same to the African Union Commission.
African Union and NEPAD - Council directed the SADC Secretariat to continue to ensure that the main strategic direction provided in the proposed strategy document on the Agenda 2063, is aligned with the Vision 2050 which will promote the SADC cooperation, integration and development agenda; and report regularly and accordingly on progress made on the development of the proposed strategy document on the Agenda 2063.
11th EDF Programming - Council approved the participation of SADC in the joint Regional Indicative Programme with COMESA, EAC, IGAD and IOC under the 11th EDF; and mandated the Secretariat to sign the 11th EDF Joint RIP with the relevant stakeholders by 30 September 2014.
Programming of the Euro 600 million funding for Regional Infrastructure - Council approved the SADC List of Potential Regional Infrastructure Investment Projects to be considered for financing under the 11th EDF 2015/16 Annual Action Plan.