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SADC and UN discuss potential areas of collaboration to strengthen cooperation

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The Southern African Development Community (SADC) Executive Secretary, Her Excellency Dr Stergomena Lawrence Tax, has hailed the existing collaboration and partnership with the United Nations (UN) through a number of UN agencies in a number of areas at both national and regional levels, as guided by SADC priorities.

H.E Dr Tax said this during a virtual courtesy call with Mr Nicholas Haysom, Under Secretary-General and Special Advisor to the United Nations Secretary-General, His Excellency António Manuel de Oliveira Guterres, on 30th November 2020.

SADC and UN have enjoyed cordial cooperation through a number of UN Agencies, including the Food and Agriculture Organisation, through the Sub-regional Office for Southern Africa, in the area of agriculture crops, livestock, fisheries, forests; and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), through the Africa Office, and Nairobi Convention Secretariat, on environmental aspects, including Blue Economy.

SADC and the UN also cooperate in the partnership with the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD), through its Secretariat, in the area of combating desertification; and the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) through its Secretariat in the area of climate change adaptation and mitigation.

There is also an ongoing agreement with World Food Programme (WFP), through its Southern Africa regional office, in the area of Regional Vulnerability Assessment Analysis (RVAA) with support from the UK Department for International Development (DFID) and Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC).

Mr. Haysom thanked the Executive Secretary for the warm welcome and underscored that the UN remains committed to enhancing cooperation with SADC at both regional and national levels. He explained that the UN is both engaging the SADC Secretariat and Member States to discuss ways of offering more support and further expand existing collaboration. He averred that the UN is alive to the potential threats in the areas of cross-border crime, human trafficking and cross-border terrorism within the region.

H.E. Dr. Tax thanked Mr Haysom for the engagement and assured him of SADC's commitment to the partnership where the two parties have worked together well over the years. She called for a more robust and coordinated programme that brings together all UN agencies together to address both economic and social issues in the region in a coordinated and collaborative manner. H.E Dr Tax reiterated Africa's long call to have representation in the United Nations Security Council. She also called for a more coordinated approach and focus on strategic areas in the cooperation with the UN.

The two parties reiterated their commitment to the existing cooperation while exploring other potential areas of cooperation for the mutual benefit of the parties, particularly in mitigating the negative impacts of COVID-19.

The Executive Secretary was accompanied by Deputy Executive Secretary for Regional Integration, Dr. Thembinkosi Mhlongo, Deputy Executive Secretary for Corporate Affairs, Ambassador Joseph Nourrice, Executive Director for the Organ on Politics, Defence and Security Affairs, Mr Jorge Cardoso, Director for Food, Agriculture and Natural Resources, Mr Domingos Gove, while Mr Nicholas Haysom was accompanied by Mr Martinho Chachiua, Head of the Liaison Team of the UN Department of Political and Peacebuilding Affairs to the SADC Secretariat (UNDPPA), Mr. Amit Singhal, UNDPPA Desk officer for Southern Africa and Mr. Elijah Rubvuta, International UN Volunteer (Associate Political Affairs Officer).