|Zim celebrates Sadc Day|
|Friday, 17 August 2012 00:00|
Ambassadors of Sadc member states accredited to Zimbabwe in collaboration with Government, the National Arts Council of Zimbabwe and other players will for the first time in the country celebrate Sadc Day in the capital today.
The celebrations are in honour of the founding fathers of the organisation and a tribute to the achievements and progress that the organisation has scored in various aspects of regional integration and solidarity.
The event will begin with a symposium in the afternoon followed by a cultural evening with music, dance and regional cuisine from the various Sadc states.
In Harare the celebrations are being held under the theme: “Cultural Integration As A Vehicle For Art And A Vector For Regional Integration In The Southern African Development Community.”
Guests at the occasion will include Tourism and Hospitality Industry Minister Walter Mzembi and some players in the arts and culture industry. Several ambassadors have hailed the role played by Sadc so far in the attainment of independence of member states and in moving towards economic integration.
Namibian ambassador to Zimbabwe, Dr Panduleni Kaino-Shingenge, has stressed the importance of preserving and compiling an accurate history of the struggles of the region and the role played by the founding fathers such as Agostinho Neto, Kenneth Kaunda and Mwalimu Julius Nyerere and others who helped in the founding of the regional grouping then known as the frontline states.
The Southern African Development Co-ordination Conference, (Sadcc), the forerunner of Sadc, was established in April 1980 by governments of the nine Southern African countries — Angola, Botswana, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Swaziland, Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe.
The formation of Sadc was the culmination of a long process of consultations by the leaders of Southern Africa. Towards the end of the 1970s, it became clear to the leaders of the region that just having a national flag and a national anthem would not meet the needs of the people for improved living standards.
Secondly, the positive experiences gained in working together in the group of Frontline States to advance the political struggle had to be translated into broader co-operation in pursuit of economic and social development. From 1977, active consultations were undertaken by representatives of the Frontline States, culminating in a meeting of Foreign Ministries of the Frontline States in Gaborone, in May 1979, which called for a meeting of ministers responsible for economic development.
That meeting was subsequently convened in Arusha, Tanzania, in July 1979. The Arusha meeting led to the birth of Sadcc.
The Sadcc or the conference was formed with four principal objectives, namely:
l to reduce Member States dependence, particularly, but not only, on apartheid South Africa
l to implement programmes and projects with national and regional impact;
l to mobilise Member States’ resources in the quest for collective self-reliance; and
l to secure international understanding and support.
These objectives were pursued with determination and vigour. Through Sadcc, the founding fathers sought first to demonstrate the tangible benefits of working together, and to cultivate a climate of confidence and trust among member states.
Sadc has developed since then to become a organisation that has a Programme of Action, covering several broad economic and social sectors, namely, Energy, Tourism, Environment and Land Management, Water, Mining, Employment and Labour, Culture, Information and Sport and Transport and Communications.
Other sectors are Finance and Investment, Human Resources Development, Food, Agriculture and Natural Resources, Legal Affairs and Health. Sectors are each co-ordinated by a Member State with some member states co-ordinating more than one sector.
Over the past two years Sadc has undertaken an exercise to restructure its institutions and a report on this was adopted by an Extra-Ordinary Summit on March 9, 2001 in Windhoek, Namibia. This restructuring was necessitated by the number of difficulties and constraints encountered in the process of moving the organisation from a co-ordinating conference into a community.
This transformation occurred in August 1992, when the Heads of State and Government of the Southern African Development Co-ordination Conference met in Windhoek, Namibia, to sign a Declaration and Treaty establishing the new Sadc — the Southern African Development Community.
The Sadcc leaders had come to realise that although the co-ordination conference had served them well and had demonstrated the crucial need to co-operate in their development efforts, time had come to give the organisation a legal and more formal status.
There was also a need to shift the focus of the organisation from co-ordination of development projects to a more complex task of integrating the economies of member states. Hence the treaty, which is the blueprint for building a Community of Southern African states.
Sadc and its member states are expected to act according to the following principles:
l Sovereign equality of all member States;
l Solidarity, peace and security;
l Human rights, democracy, and the rule of law;
l Equity, balance and mutual benefit;
l Peaceful settlement of disputes
The objectives of Sadc are to:
l Achieve development and economic growth, alleviate poverty, enhance the standard and quality of life of the people of Southern Africa and support the socially disadvantaged through regional integration;
l Evolve common political values, systems and institutions;
l Promote and defend peace and security;
l Promote self-sustaining development on the basis of collective self-reliance and the interdependence of Member States;
l Achieve complementarity between national and regional strategies and programmes;
l Promote and maximise productive employment and utilisation of resources of the Region;
l Achieve sustainable utilisation of natural resources and effective protection of the environment;
l Strengthen and consolidate the long-standing historical, social and cultural affinities and links among the people of the Region.
The ultimate objective of Sadc, the community, is therefore to build a region in which there will be a high degree of harmonisation and rationalisation to enable the pooling of resources to achieve collective self-reliance in order to improve the living standards of the people of the region. — Herald Reporter/ZBC/Sadc website.