UN, SADC exchange views on regional conflict prevention

SWAKOPMUND; Senior staff from the United Nations (UN) and senior Government officials from the Southern African Development Community (SADC) convened here on Friday to exchange views and share best practices on conflict prevention and mediation efforts around the region.

This is the first-of-its-kind dialogue, and is part of an initiative by the UN to strengthen its cooperation with regional and sub-regional organisations in the area of conflict prevention, elections and mediation.

Namibia’s Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, Peya Mushelenga officially welcomed the delegates, saying it is incumbent upon the international community to continue supporting efforts for peace and stability in the region.

He said the dialogue accords an opportunity to take stock of the achievements and the challenges encountered in the maintenance of international peace and security, particularly in the region.

“During the past year, the SADC region saw positive developments in the consolidation of democracy, peace and security. Elections were successfully held in the region, namely in the Kingdom of Swaziland, the Republic of Madagascar, the Republic of South Africa and recently in the Republic of Malawi. These elections, while facing a variety of challenges, were observed by SADC as well as the African Union and other international observers,” said Mushelenga.

This two-day dialogue sought to also identify future opportunities for the UN Department of Political Affairs (DPA), SADC and its Member States to share technical expertise and regional best practices.

In attendance are senior government officials from SADC Member States, SADC Secretariat staff, UN Resident Coordinators based in southern Africa, senior UN staff from New York and the region, as well as senior representatives of the African Union (AU), and respected regional think-tanks.

The speakers and panellists include the Assistant Secretary-General of the UN Department of Political Affairs Tayé-Brook Zerihoun, and the Director of the SADC Organ on Politics, Defense and Security Cooperation, Tanki Mothae.

The dialogue ends on Saturday.

Meanwhile, on Monday, Namibia will again host the 16th meeting of the Ministerial Committee of the Organ (MCO) on Politics, Defence and Security Cooperation of SADC here.

The MCO meeting will be attended by Ministers and senior Government officials of Foreign Affairs, Defence and Security from all 15 SADC Member States, and will predominantly discuss issues related to the political and security situation in the region.