The objective of the 21st meeting was also to receive progress reports on the implementation of the decisions made at the 20th meeting.
Joseph Malanji, Zambia Minister for Foreign Affairs and chairperson of the SADC ministerial committee on politics, defence and security cooperation said the region has remained relatively stable and peaceful, while promoting the shared values of peace, security, democracy and good governance among all member states.
He added that the region remained alive to the emerging threats of terrorism, transnational organised crimes and climate change.
Malanji called on SADC member states to redouble their efforts in implementing the necessary measures to mitigate and adapt to the reality of climate change in view of the continuing changing weather patterns that brought severe flooding and drought in most parts of the region.
SADC Executive Secretary, Dr Stergomena Tax, expressed gratitude to the chairperson of the ministerial committee of the organ, for his leadership in steering SADC activities in peace and security during the year.
She highlighted that in response to the devastating impacts of Cyclones, measures to operationalize the SADC Disaster Preparedness and Response Mechanism are on ongoing, and that the secretariat is also mapping the entire disaster management value chain, with a view to putting in place a comprehensive and well-coordinated response mechanism.
Tax called upon SADC member states and partners to support the operationalization of the SADC Disaster Preparedness and Response Mechanism.
SADC Executive Secretary, highlighted that, “Gender-Based Violence (GBV) continues to negatively impact on socio-economic development of the SADC regionwith prevalence rates vary across member states.
Physical violence ranges between 6 percent and 34 percent, sexual violence ranges between 4 percent and 26 percent, and emotional violence ranges between 15 percent and 37 percent.
“She said there is an urgent need to strengthen access to justice for victims and survivors of GBV by creating innovative, and providing alternative solutions including, GBV specialized courts”.
The meeting deliberated on the alarming threats posed by terrorism and transnational cross border crime, and approved the SADC Regional Counter Terrorism Strategy and its Action Plan, urging member states to implement the Terrorism Strategy and Plan, and to continue devising preventive interventions against, radicalisation, terrorism and transnational organised crime.
The meeting commended the quick response and efforts made by the member states affected by Cyclones Idai and Kenneth, to save lives and properties of their people and the solidarity rendered by the SADC community following the effects of the floods and Cyclones.
Ministers also applauded the SADC member states and international partners for availing resources towards the relief efforts for tropical Cyclones.
The meeting approved the immediate activation of the SADC Standby Force Component for humanitarian assistance.
On peace and security, the Ministers noted progress made in the implementation of reforms and national dialogue in the Kingdom of Lesotho.
They urged the government of the Kingdom of Lesotho to expedite the enactment of the legislation to establish the National Reforms Authority and called upon all stakeholders to remain committed to the reforms process.
The ministers commended member states who have abolished visa requirements from citizens of all other SADC member states, urging member states to expedite negotiations and conclude bilateral Visa exemption agreements to facilitate free movement of persons within the region.
Noting that Gender-Based Violence (GBV) continues to negatively impact on the socio-economic development of the region, the meeting endorsed the Indicator Framework and Manual to facilitate the implementation of the SADC guidelines for crime and violence prevention.
The Ministers noted the upcoming elections in Botswana, Mozambique, Namibia, Mauritius, Seychelles and Tanzania, and urged member states to continue deploying SADC Electoral Observation Missions (SEOMs) with a view to ensuring that SADC remains on its democracy consolidations trajectory.