Post-Council Media Briefing by Hon Ms LN Sisulu, MP, Minister of International Relations and Cooperation of the Republic of South Africa and Chairperson of the SADC Council of Ministers, Tuesday, 27th March 2018, OR Tambo Building, Pretoria

1. Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen from the various Media Houses, I thank you for coming to this afternoon’s Post-Council Media briefing where I would like to share with you the Outcomes from the Southern African Development Community (SADC) Council of Ministers Meeting which I hosted during the past two days here at the Department of International Relations and Cooperation (DIRCO), O R Tambo Building, in Pretoria, South Africa, on Monday 26th and Tuesday 27th March 2018.

2. During the two days, the SADC Council of Ministers successfully deliberated on several issues of importance to the region in relation to our priority programmes contained in the Regional Indicative Strategic Development Plan 2015-2020 (RISDP); the Strategic Indicative Plan for the Organ (SIPO II); and the SADC Industrialization Strategy and Roadmap 2015-2063.

3. Council received progress reports on the implementation of decisions it had taken in August 2017; as well as progress on the implementation of the 2017/18 Corporate Plan of the SADC Secretariat, and approved the operational Plan and Budget for 2018/19.

4. Council noted the achievements recorded across the SADC priority areas of Industrial Development and Market Integration; Infrastructure Support for Regional Integration; Peace and Security; Special Programmes of Regional Dimension; Cross-Cutting Issues as well as Corporate Services and Institutional Reforms and commended the SADC Secretariat for the significant improvement in both output implementation rate and budget utilization rates.

5. Council noted progress made on the implementation of the SADC Industrialization Strategy and Roadmap for 2017/18, which include; the identification, profiling and commencement of the development of value chains in the pharmaceutical, minerals and agro-processing sectors; and directed Secretariat to  convene meetings  to assist Member States with negotiating and developing value chains in leather, soya, aquaculture, iron and steel, copper, cement and manufacturing of ARVs, malaria medicines and mosquito bed nets.

6. Council noted the progress on the development of the SADC Regional Resource Mobilisation Framework and directed the Secretariat to finalise the framework and other viable and alternative options of financing regional projects.

7. Council noted the progress made towards the operationalisation of the SADC University of Transformation which will contribute towards capacity building in the region, as well as deliver educational training using the vocational education training model.

8. Council approved the establishment of Regional Financing Facility for SADC Transfrontier Conservation Areas to be supported by International Cooperating Partners resources and directed SADC Secretariat to finalise modalities to operationalise the Facility.

9. Council noted the process that has unfolded from the time a decision to reform the African Union was made by the AU Assembly. While acknowledging that the reform is an absolute necessity, SADC contends that the decisions on the reform should have followed the appropriate procedure, and their implementation should not violate the AU Constitutive Act, Rules of Procedure, national frameworks and other international treaties.

10. Council approved that SADC should be represented by the Chairperson of SADC, Incoming Chairperson of SADC and Chairperson of the Organ on Politics, Defence and Security Cooperation in the Committee of 15 Ministers of Foreign Affairs; and that the SADC representatives in the Committees of 15 Ministers of Foreign Affairs and 15 Ministers of Finance should regularly report to the SADC Council of Ministers on the specific issues relating to the AU Reform Process.

11. Council mandated the SADC Ambassadors accredited to the AU to constantly engage with the African Union Commission Chairperson and the Head of the Reform Implementation Unit; and directed Secretariat in consultation with SADC Ambassadors accredited to the AU, to submit regular reports highlighting areas that require further engagements and follow-up to SADC Council of Ministers.

12. In response to the outbreak of Listeriosis in the SADC Region, Council urged Member States to harmonize Prevention, Detection and Response procedures; strengthen the control of food industries in terms of compliance to food safety standards; and to enforce policies that are aligned to international codes.

13. Council further, urged Member States to strengthen cross border collaboration in the importation of processed foods; and to establish mechanisms for inter-sectoral and multi-sectoral coordination and effective communication to facilitate implementation of core public health capacities, all hazards risk assessment approach including addressing risk management for Listeriosis outbreak.

14. Ladies and Gentlemen, from the Press, your efforts in disseminating information on the programmes of our regional organisation, SADC, is greatly appreciated. We encourage you to continue with the good work that you are doing in informing the region about SADC programmes, policies and activities even after this meeting.

15. There is a lot happening in our region and what I have given you are just highlights of issues discussed during the Council of Ministers. I thank you for your attention, and we are here to take any questions on the issues raised in this brief.

I thank you.

ISSUED BY THE DEPARTMENT OF INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS AND COOPERATION

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