SADC states yet to endorse 2014 regional environment protocol

22Oct 2019
Marc Nkwame
The Guardian
SADC states yet to endorse 2014 regional environment protocol

SOUTHERN African Development Community (SADC) member states’ joint environment and natural resources protection initiatives are still in limbo as most countries are dragging their feet in endorsing the relevant protocol.

Joseph Malongo, the Permanent Secretary in the Vice President’s Office (Environment Division) stated here yesterday that out of the 16 SADC member states only three have ratified the protocol on joint environmental protection since the document was adopted back in 2014.

“Just Zambia, Mozambique and South-Africa have ratified the joint protection of environment and natural resources for the SADC region,” he said, noting that the countries share a number of important features such as lakes, rivers and forests.

Resources shared between SADC member states include Lake Tanganyika whose shores straddle Zambia, Tanzania and the Democratic Republic of Congo and the Zambezi River whose tributaries meander across Zambia, Angola, Namibia, Botswana, Zimbabwe and Mozambique.

“These are sensitive parts of the natural eco-system in our region and need more efforts than a single country can possibly provide to protect and sustainably maintain their natural forms,” he elaborated.

Asked why Tanzania has not yet ratified the SADC environment protection protocol, the top ministerial official stated that the legislature has to be consulted among other stages, but before the end of this year the government will have endorsed the protocol.

Malongo was here for the Joint Meeting of SADC senior officials responsible for environment, natural resources and tourism held at the Arusha International Conference Center (AICC). The event was part of ongoing sessions to prepare for the meeting of the ministerial council for the sectors.

Prof Adolf Mkenda, the permanent secretary in the Ministry of Natural Resources and Tourism said among agenda items to be discussed when the ministers converge here is the issue of protecting endangered species in line with the Convention on International Trade for Endangered Species (CITES).