Media Briefing by Hon. Ms Maite Nkoana-Mashabane, Minister of International Relations and Cooperation of the Republic of South Africa and incoming Chairperson of the SADC Council of Ministers, Monday, 14 August 2017, OR Tambo Building, Pretoria

Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen of the Media, thank you for coming to this morning’s Pre-Council information sharing session.

As it has become customary to SADC, we invited you with the view to share information on the upcoming meeting of the SADC Council of Ministers scheduled to take place here in Pretoria from Tuesday to Wednesday August 15-16, 2017, in preparation of the 37th Ordinary Summit of SADC Heads of States and Government.

To date, the following meetings have already taken place:

On Thursday and Friday, the 10th and 11th of August, the Standing Committee of Senior Officials met.

On Saturday the 12th of August, the Finance Committee met to receive the report of the Finance Sub Committee, the Human Resources Committee and the Audit Committee and finalized the preparation of the issues to be discussed at the meeting of the Council of Ministers.

Other activities leading to the 37th Summit are as follows:

From Wednesday, 16th to Thursday 17th August, the Council of Ministers Meeting will take place. The Council of Ministers oversees the functioning and development of our Community, SADC, and ensures that policies are properly implemented.

The Council consists of Ministers from each of the fifteen Member States, usually from the Ministries of Foreign Affairs, Economic Planning, or Finance, and it meets twice a year in February or March and immediately prior to the Summit in August or September.

As you may know, the 17th August is an important day on the SADC calendar as this is the day when our regional organisation was established in 1992. To commemorate this day, the current Chairperson of SADC, His Majesty King Mswati III of the Kingdom of Swaziland, will deliver the SADC Day Message for 2017 which will be shared with the Media.

On Friday the 18th of August, the Ministerial Committee of the ORGAN (MCO) on Politics, Defence and Security Cooperation and the ORGAN Troika Meeting will be held at Army Foundation, Pretoria.

On Saturday, the 19th the Official Opening of the 37th Ordinary Summit of the SADC Heads of State and Government will take place in this building.

During its meeting in the coming two days, the SADC Council of Ministers will endorse the theme for the 37th Summit of Heads of State and Government, titled: Partnering with the Private Sector in Developing Industry and Regional Value Chains, which has been proposed by the Government of the Republic of South Africa, in its capacity as the Incoming Chair of SADC, and will be presented to the Summit for its approval and subsequent operationalization.

Issues on the agenda:

The Council will receive progress on actions undertaken by the Secretariat in implementing the SADC Industrialization Strategy and Roadmap 2015-2063.  Council will also receive and review the proposed Milestones for Monitoring Implementation of the SADC Industrialization Strategy and Roadmap for approval by Summit.

The Council will also receive reports on the findings of the exercise on profiling of the mineral and pharmaceutical sectors and identification of potential areas for the development of value chains.

The Council will further receive progress on the operationalisation of the SADC University of Transformation, following the meeting of the Committee on Higher Education, Training and Research that met 20 March 2017. The Committee observed that the concept of the SADC University of Transformation has the potential to address the provision of appropriate skills required for value addition, in the three agreed Value Chains of the SADC Industrialisation Strategy and Roadmap.  The Committee improved the terms of reference for the skills assessment and scoping study to take into account the issues from Summit to cover transformative initiatives from Member States.

The Council will also receive the report on the outcomes of the Ministerial Retreat on “the SADC we want”, which was held in Ezulwini, Swaziland, in March 2017 and the progress on the development of the Implementation Plan and Roadmap.

The Council will receive some Legal Instruments such as the draft Agreement amending the Protocol on Extradition, and the Draft Agreement Amending the Protocol on Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal matters, with a view to recommend to Summit for approval and adoption and subsequent submission to the State Parties for signatures.

The Council will receive and consider the Report of the SADC Executive Secretary for the period 2016-2017 which includes the overview of the political and economic developments in the Region, the Implementation of Programmes of Regional Cooperation and Integration, the implementation of Corporate Activities, the Continental Cooperation and Integration, the Development Cooperation and Resource Mobilisation, the Good Governance and Financial Management, and the Summary of Implementation Challenges and Recommendations. The report will cover progress on the Secretariat activities, challenges confronted and proposals aimed at addressing such challenges and subsequently, Council will provide guidance where necessary, on the implementation of SADC programmes and projects for regional cooperation and integration.

On Continental Integration, the Council will receive progress on the implementation of the Tripartite Free Trade Area (TFTA), the COMESA-EAC-SADC Agreement; and Continental Free Trade Area negotiations.

The Council will consider the Draft SADC Common Position on the negotiations of the Draft Protocol to the Treaty Establishing the African Economic Community relating to the Free Movement of Persons, Right of Residence and Right of Establishment.

The Council will also recommend for approval by Summit, the convening of the SADC Solidarity Conference with Saharawi Arab Democratic Republic (SADR)/Western Sahara.

Council will receive progress on the second year of the implementation of the Regional Indicative Strategic Development Plan (RISDP), as well as the progress report on the implementation of the Regional Indicative Strategic Plan and the proposed Milestones for Monitoring Implementation of SADC Industrialization Strategy and Roadmap for approval by Summit.

In Politics, Defense and Security, Council will receive the progress made in the development of the draft Concept Paper on the SADC Peace Fund to be submitted to the next Ministerial Committee of the ORGAN (MCO) for consideration.

On the application by the Union of Comoros, and the Republic of Burundi for membership to SADC, Council will receive the report from the meeting of the Ministerial Committee of the ORGAN (MCO) on Politics, Defence and Security Cooperation held on 21 July 2017 in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania.

The Council will receive the report on the improvement of the Food Security situation in the region following the climate change factors that affected the region with some of the Member States experiencing drought while others experienced floods.

Council will receive the report and decisions from the Committee of Ministers of Finance and Investment on the operationalisation of the SADC Regional Development Fund, the Regional Resource Mobilisation Framework and the Disaster preparedness and response fund as well as the request to approve the regional Disaster Preparedness and Response Fund as part of the Social Window in the SADC Regional Development.

Ladies and Gentlemen, I have just given you highlights of issues to be discussed during the Council of Ministers.

ISSUED BY THE DEPARTMENT OF INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS AND COOPERATION

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